READY YOURSELF FOR AN EXCITING ACTIVITY IN SOUTHERN ISHIKAWA!

Speaking of a typical trip to Japan, one mostly thinks of serene visits to such locales as temples, shrines, well-maintained gardens, or museums, isn’t that just so zen? However, if you are craving for something a bit more active, or if you are traveling with little kids, why not stop by southern Ishikawa? It’s a simply amazing chance to spend some time in Japan’s vast natural environment!

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Kids are never bored with paddling in the Sea of Japan, or with scenic views from high up places!

kh_hashidate.jpgIshikawa prefecture is located just in front of the Sea of Japan as you can see on a map of Japan. It’s obvious that locals have been amused by the beautiful scenery, fishing and paddling in the ocean since olden times. You’ll love the Japanese beaches with their uniquely leaning pine kh_kid_swim.jpgtrees. Just so you know, the best beach season in Ishikawa is somewhat short, from July to August. Of course you can swim kh_blueberry.jpganytime you choose, but most jellyfish in the Sea of Japan have completed their growth around the mid-August and become an annoyance at this point in time. As a result, it gets pretty quiet after the obon holidays.

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Why not enjoy `fruit picking´ after lying on the beach, at “Kaga Fruit Land” near Katano Beach? They open their fruit farms to offer you a chance to pick fresh fruits by yourself, such as strawberries in spring, cherries or blueberries in summer, and grapes or apples in the autumn. That’s one way to “stock up” on some vitamin-C! Picking time is limited to 30-40 minutes, and reservations are required. Although fruit picking is closed in case of rain, their BBQ grills remain open everyday, rain or shine (*Reservations recommended).
kh_pottery.jpgSpeaking of rainy days, let’s make those miserable days a little more productive! There is an amazing place called “Yunokuni-no-Mori,” near Awazu-Onsen spa town, where you can experience decorating lacquerware, painting Kutaniyaki porcelain, cooking soba noodles, or crafting ceramic ware on a potter’s wheel.

Yunokuni literally means `the realm of hot springs,´ while mori indicates forest. As such, the facilities are all located within a beautiful forest. They have art galleries, restaurants, and shops as well.
Near Tsurugi station on the Hokutetsu-Ishikawa line, you will see colorful canopies floating around the mountain. Shishiku-Kogen Highland is well-known as a mecca for paragliding. There is a school for obtaining a license, and they offer you a trial period. It’s a tandem flight with a skilled instructor, so there is no need for anxiety. They allow even kids to try with an expert! Just prepare yourself by wearing gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and long trousers to cover your arms and legs in case of falling down when you land. Oh, and your instructor can take photos of you while in the air! Though it’s optional, we guarantee you that those pictures are super cool!
kh_chelsea.jpgThere is also an insect museum called “Ishikawa Fureai Konchukan” near the highland. Various specimens of insects, along with 20 kinds of live ones with their nests are displayed in the building. Compare Japanese insects with those in your country! Even adults can have a good time, especially in the butterfly room. Put on a funky straw hat and attract some butterflies!

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Mt.Hakusan - hiking, golfing,
or snow activities in winter,
are most recommended.

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Stretching over Ishikawa and Gifu prefectures, the sacred mountain Hakusan fosters countless forms of life, and has always been a well-loved fixture of the inhabitants. Hiking Mt. Hakusan is a must for locals at least once in their lives. DPP_4140.jpgFacilities and accommodations for hikers are open only from July to September. Of course you can carry your own equipment for camping in a tent. There are three routes which all originate from “Betto Deai”, the trailhead for hikes. It’s said the “Sabo-shindo Route: 12 km (4:40 hr)” to “Murodo” is recommended for beginners without too much difficulty.

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“Kanko-shindo Route: 12.2 km (6:30 hr)” is a bit rough with rocks. Incidentally, Shirayama Hime-jinja, which is the head shrine of 2000 Shirayama Jinja or Hakusan Jinja shrines in Japan, enshrines this sacred mountain. It’s located near Shishiku Highland.
Needless to say, it’s covered with snow in and around the mountain during the winter months. You can enjoy snowboarding or skiing at the foot of Mt. Hakusan. Ichirino-Onsen Ski Resort and Seymour Ski Resort have accommodations with hot springs as well. Following a long day on the chilly slopes, dip yourself in a thermal onsen!
hakusan-himejinja-2849.jpgIn Southern Ishikawa, some bikeways are equipped for your biking pleasure. “Kaga Kaihin Bikeway” and “Komatsu-Kaga Bikeway,” follow along the ocean, while “Tedori Canyon Road Bikeway” travels along the Tedori-gawa river. Rent a bicycle at the JR Daishoji station, Yamashiro-Onsen, at Hakusan City Hall Tsurugi Branch, or near the JR Komatsu station. Just don’t expect to find sport-bikes like the Tour de France! You can at least enjoy cruising freely though, and as such are likely to find something new, strange, and perhaps even wonderful!
As you might notice on the map to the below, there are eight golf courses listed. Most of them used to be opened privately, only for club members. Recently however many of these have opened to the public, offering their courses for anybody to play.

Just be sure to make a reservation in advance if you want to play a round. Rental equipment is available at some country clubs. Between the ocean and the mountain ranges, Hokuriku region is well-known for its many great golf courses. Take a tee shot while looking at the beautiful mountains or the Sea of Japan!

A staff member of the Visitor Center at the JR Kaga-Onsen Station will be happy to help you, and in English!

kh_tabimachi.jpgIn the terminal building of the JR Kaga-Onsen Station, there is a visitor center called “Kaga Tabi-Machi Net.” They have numerous brochures for tourists, and can assist you in getting to any destination. Just so you know, there are three famous spa towns in Kaga City: Yamashiro, Yamanaka and Katayamazu; one in Komatsu City: Awazu; as well as some small spa villages in Hakusan City: Ichirino-Onsen, etc. (check the list on the right!) They will book an accommodation for you at your request. The staff are all foreigner friendly - just be sure to tell them how much your budget is!


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Spa Town & Village Information


YAMASHIRO-ONSEN
c_kagaonsen-3247.jpgHead office: Yamashiro-Onsen, Kaga City
Tel. 0761-77-1144 (Jpn)
Fax: 0761-77-2109
www.yamashiro-spa.or.jp


YAMANAKA-ONSEN
c_山中座ライトアップ.jpgHead office: Yamanaka-Onsen, Kaga City
Tel. 0761-78-0330 (Jpn)
Fax: 0761-78-0332
www.yamanaka-spa.or.jp


KATAYAMAZU-ONSEN
c_003-浮御堂.jpg Head office: Katayamazu-machi, Kaga City
Tel. 0761-74-1123 (Jpn)
Fax: 0761-74-1083
www.katayamazu-spa.or.jp


AWAZU-ONSEN
c_800px-Hoshi_Ryokan.jpgHead office: Inokuchi-machi, Komatsu City
Tel. 0761-65-1834 (Jpn)
Fax: 0761-65-2235
www.awazuonsen.com


ICHIRINO-ONSEN
c_800px-Hoshi_Ryokan.jpgIchirino Kogen Hotel ROAN: Hakusan City
Tel. 076-256-7141 (Japanese)
Fax: 076-256-7441
http://ichirino.jp