Ishikawa Region

Hidden Japan: Exploring Ishikawa

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Japan is a treasure trove for travellers seeking a unique cultural experience. It has a rare gift of being able to propel you into the future one day, whilst winding you back in time the next. 

While Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka often steal the limelight, there’s a secret region waiting to be discovered by those who are willing to get off the beaten track in search of a real, authentic slice of Japan – Introducing Ishikawa.

Nestled on the coast of the Sea of Japan, this lesser-visited region promises a journey through the heart of real Japan, that’ll get you away from the well-trodden path.  



Kanazawa: A Glimpse into Edo-era Japan

Your journey into Ishikawa begins in Kanazawa, a city that’s like a real-life time capsule back to the Edo period. With its immaculately preserved samurai and geisha districts, Kanazawa is a living testament to Japan’s rich cultural heritage. Stroll through the Kenrokuen Garden, often regarded as one of the most beautiful in the country, and soak up the traditional beauty of the traditional tea houses whilst sipping on a steaming cup of matcha.  


Kanazawa Ishikawa Japan



During your time in Kanazawa, why not head off on this Kanazawa After Dark tour, where you’ll meander through the labyrinth of streets, learning all about Kanazawa’s unique history and culture, before indulging in some of the city’s best (and most delicious) delicacies at a local izakaya restaurant. Or, particularly if you’re travelling with inquisitive teenagers, this ‘Art of the Samurai’ experience is a great hands-on way to soak up the spirit of the samurai and get a real taste of what life would have been like for the iconic warriors.


ishikawa Japan





Kaga City: Soaking in Tradition and Relaxation


No time spent exploring Ishikawa would be complete without a visit to Kaga City, renowned for its natural hot springs, or onsen. Unwind in the therapeutic waters of Yamanaka Onsen or Yamashiro Onsen, surrounded by serene landscapes and Japanese architecture.  


Ishikawa Region Kaga City Kaga Onsen


For the art aficionados, the Kutani-yaki Art Museum showcases the exquisite Kutani ware, a style of Japanese porcelain with a history dating back centuries. If you fancy uncovering a real natural wonder, head to Kakusenkei Gorge.

Carved by the Daishoji River, the Gorge is a world of lush greenery and cascading waterfalls.

Imagine strolling along the scenic walking paths, under the lush trees, with the sounds of nature as your backing track. People all too often think of the big, neon-packed cities when they think of Japan, a trick to Kakusenkei Gorge gives you a real opportunity to soak up a different side to Japan, and show you it’s so much more.  


Ishikawa region Japan


  When autumn rolls around, the gorge transforms into a kaleidoscope of colours, the ageing leaves painting the landscape in hues of burnt orange and vibrant reds. It’s a beautiful spot to visit and get away from it all during your time in Ishikawa.  


Ishikawa Region    


Venturing Beyond: The Hidden Charms of the Noto Peninsula

Venture beyond Kanazawa, and prepare for the real magic of the Ishikawa region to unfold as you reach the Noto Peninsula. This rugged stretch of coastline is a real haven for nature lovers and those seeking a break from the bustling city life. The Noto Peninsula offers a chance to experience the authentic, slower-paced rhythm of rural Japan.

This beautiful spot was badly hit by the New Year’s Day earthquake in 2024. We’re always in close contact with our team on the ground, and whilst most small businesses are still up and running, the locals in Noto are still working hard to repair damage to infrastructure. This is Japan though, and the rail network was back operating at normal levels just a few days post-earthquake, so we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to send guests back to this stunning spot by summer 2024. 

Experience the historic beauty of the Sojiji Temple, visit the small village of Shunran-no-Sato for a real taste of local life and take in the sweeping views from the Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces.


Sojiji Temple, Ishikawa Japan


Ishikawa region, Japan



You’ll discover picturesque fishing villages like Wajima, where you can witness the age-old craft of Wajima-nuri lacquerware. Explore the towering cliffs and panoramic views at Cape Echizen, and savor the freshest seafood at the local markets. And, after a horrible start to 2024, visitors will be even more welcomed and appreciated than usual 

Once everything is back up and running, if you have the time, (and the leg muscles) we can organise a cycling trip around the peninsula. You’ll stay in traditional accommodation and take in the beautiful rural landscapes and secret spots as you pedal.

This is such a wonderfully peaceful way to explore the beauty of the Noto Peninsula on your own two wheels. Get in touch for a chat with Fenton, to find out what might be possible on your Japan holiday.    



Visit Takayama and picturesque Shirakawa-Go

If you’re travelling through Japan by train, and why wouldn’t you be when it’s all part of the magic, beautiful Takayama makes a great stop-off between the Ishakawa region and Kyoto. Simply hop off the train in Takayama and you can easily travel by bus on to Shirakawa-Go (and then Kanazawa!) Spend a night here in the beautifully preserved old town, nestled in the picturesque foothills of the Japanese Alps.

Whatever the season, Takayama will charm your socks off. 

Experience the alpine waters through hot onsen baths and taste the renowned local sake rice wine. Takayama is a true culinary delight, think morning markets, tea rooms, quaint cafes, and of course – Hida beef. The town is a perfect blend of photogenic scenery and culinary experiences, making it a must-visit for those seeking the essence of rural Japan.

Don’t miss this ‘Good Morning, Takayama!‘ tour, or perhaps head off on another cycling adventure with this Hida Countryside Cycling adventure.


where to go in Japan - Takayama  


Nearby picturesque Shirakawa-go will also make a highlight-worthy stop on your Japan holiday. Like stepping straight into a postcard, the ancient city is made up of rows of traditional, historical buildings. It’s well worth the stop-off on the bus journey from Takayama to Kanazawa.


  Where to go in Japan Shirakawa-Go  


Crafting your authentic Japanese adventure

Time spent in Ishikawa will propel you right to the heart and soul of Japan. If you’re seeking a touch of luxury, and the chance to get away from the crowds and experience a quieter taste of the country, Ishikawa is a fantastic region to head to to escape the conventional tourist circuits. And Fenton, our aficionado on all things Japan (seriously, his knowledge is staggering), is ready to help.

Ishikawa offers a taste of Japan that goes beyond the ordinary, beyond the expected. Get in touch today.


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