Ishikawa, is a prefecture on the Japanese island of Honshu. Sitting on the coast of the Sea of Japan, the capital city of Kanazawa is home to the perfect garden of Kenroku-en, designed to be beautiful during every season. Highlights of the region include traditional ryokan stays, learning calligraphy, forest farm stays, hot springs, salt farming experiences and more! A very scenic two and half hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, the prefecture offers the traveller a mixture of traditional character, authentic experiences, raw beauty and a taste of real Japan. So how should you best spend your time in this little slice of authentic Japan…?
Inspired by its scenic location being on the waters of Kujuku Bay, guests staying at Hyakurakusa Ryokan can enjoy the ultimate in relaxation. Scenery, food, hot spring water – everything you experience here is soaked into your senses. A focus on water transcends your experiences throughout, including the opportunity to fish in the property’s exclusive pond and cook your catch as part of a coastal Japanese degustation. Guests can enjoy three spa baths throughout the property, including a cave spa with Noto sea water pumped from 350 metres below ground. An open-view bath allows guests to bathe with a panoramic outlook of the bay, whilst a private bath can be booked for those who seek solace or romantic soaks.
Learn the art of authentic Shoko (calligraphy) in an artist’s studio. There is an ancient proverb that says “Words are the voices of your heart. Calligraphy is a picture of it.” The program run by Atelier Tokarin, will guide you on how to best express what is in your heart and mind to produce a work of art that is your own. The Atelier Tokarin sits on a hill overlooking the Goshikigahama beach (Five Colour Beach) and a part of the sea of Japan that the locals say, changes colour five times a day. Surrounded by nature and, on a clear day, with a stunning view of the Tateyama mountain range across the water, it is a perfect place to come and be inspired.
Get back to nature and learn about traditional Japanese culture while staying off-the-beaten track in a farming community on the Noto Peninsula. The rural guesthouse takes only one group of guests at a time, during this exclusive experience guests can try their hand at local farming, Zen and traditional local craft making with villagers as a guide. Meal times are a highlight as the Noto Peninsula has a rich culinary culture that extends centuries, with focus on the local, seasonal produce from the hills and the sea, as well as an onsite organic vegetable garden. Immerse yourself in Japan’s rural coastline by taking time to explore the local villages, including a waterfall, temples, shrines and the local fishing port.
Kaga Onsen is a collection of four traditional hot spring villages that is located south of Kanazawa. Our favourite is Yamanaka Onsen, which is a quaint resort located along the Kakusenkei Gorge. The village’s hot springs were discovered more than 1,300 years ago by a monk and are known for producing some of the best waters in the region that are enjoyed by both visitors and locals year-round. The famous haiku poet, Matsuo Basho, spent time in Yamanaka Onsen and applauded the hot springs as some of the best in Japan. He even wrote a haiku about it.
Learn traditional salt farming in Okunoto Shiota Village. Okunoto means “inner part of Noto” and is home to a unique tradition of salt production. In this area of Japan, the locals have been producing salt from sea water for centuries. A visit to Okunoto Shiota Village is not to be missed, it is the only salt field in Japan that has preserved the traditional salt making method of ‘Agehama’. As the name explains, a salt field is a field for making salt, and the field is created by spreading clay on top of a bedrock, then spread sand all over it after the clay has harden. People used the same method to produce natural salt with rich minerals about 500 years ago. Enrich yourself in the Noto region’s coastal landscape with a hands-on experience, making salt from seawater on a deep-sea beach and is available between May and September.
For further information on how to makes these experiences yours or to discuss a private touring option to best meet your interests, please contact our expert team. We look forward to helping you create a unique itinerary full of authentic experiences!
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.