Local Market Chaos
One would probably expect cities on the peninsula to be tranquil or isolated, yet Wajima (with its 30 thousands habitants) brings liveliness to her main streets to a great degree. In addition, their morning market (known as Wajima Asaichi to locals) is a kind of magnet for people who live in a big city such as Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya, thus many tourists come all year-round. One of the main reasons to visit and stay in Wajima is for good seafood. Local ladies sell fresh or semi-dried seafood, fresh vegetables, folk crafts, or lacquer wares within their stalls. It’s overwhelming to see the 360-meter-long street lined with over 200 stalls! And it’s fun to try samples of seafood, or buy some for breakfast. This morning market has had a long history since the Heisan period (794 - 1185), and is well known as one of the biggest morning markets in Japan.
After the market closes noon, tourists will realize the street is still active, filled with regular shops for locals and tourists alike. Stop by some lacquer shops to seriously look for Wajima crafts!
We can’t talk about Noto’s festivals without their giant lanterns known as Kiriko. Most of the cities in the peninsula hold similar festivals with Kiriko lanterns during the summer, and Wajima City is no exception. These kiriko festivals were started in fishermen’s villages. The festivals are dedicated to the god or goddess of the ocean for a good-catch or for avoiding plagues. It’s said the first kiriko lanterns were not so big, but gradually they got bigger and bigger. Now they are huge! It’s mind-boggling to think how they can drag around those huge lanterns at their festivals. Come visit Wajima in August for yourself to see how it works!
For those who miss the chance to attend one of those fabulous festivals, there is a substitute - an amazing museum of kiriko lanterns. The building has only recently opened (March 2015) at Marine Town near the sea. It is open everyday, so you can observe these giant lanterns anytime you want. Even when displayed inside of the building, these works of art are still quite impressive.
AUGUST 22: Okutsu Himejinja Taisai
AUGUST 23: Juzo Jinja Taisai
AUGUST 24: Sumiyoshi Jinja Taisai
AUGUST 25: Wahimasaki Jinja Taisai
Wajima’s Bowl Dishes
If you are confused as to which dish to pick for lunch or dinner in Wajima, we highly recommend you try a bowl dish served only in the peninsula called Noto-don. Bowl dishes are created by each local restaurant, following certain defined guidelines: it should utilize local ingredients such as Koshihikari brand rice or natural water from the peninsula; it should be served in a bowl from the peninsula such as Wajima lacquerware; it should be prepared so as to be as healthy as possible; guests should be allowed to take back their original chopsticks home after they finish their meal.
Many of Wajima’s restaurants also serve their own, original Noto-don bowls, such as a raw seafood bowl, a turban-shell bowl, a tempura bowl, a beefsteak bowl, a taco bowl, a curry bowl, etc. All the dishes are mouth watering and fun to eat. Find a restaurant to try some Noto-don when you are in the city! (See the map above!) Or simply ask local people which Noto-don bowls are their favorite!
Observing the process of Lacquer Works
(#8) Wajima Kobo-Nagaya Museum
4-66-1, Kawaimachi, Wajima City
• Phone: 0768-23-0011 • Admission free
• Open: 9:00-17:00 (Jan.-Apr. / Sep.-Dec.); 9:00-18:00
(May-Aug.); closed Wednesdays
Appreciate Masterpieces of Lacquerware
(#14) Wajima Shitsugei Bijutsukan
(Museum of Urushi Art)
11, Shijugari, Mitomorimachi, Wajima City
• Admission: adults ¥620; Students (16-22) ¥310
• Phone 0768-22-9788 • Open: 9:00-17:00
GOJINJO DAIKO performance
(#2) In front of Kiriko-Kaikan
(Giant Lantern Museum)
Evening Taiko performance in scary demon masks.
• Time: 20:30-20:50 • Admission free
Visiting Beautiful Rice Terraces by Bus
(#10) Shiroyone Senmaida / Senmaida Pocket Park
Ha-99-4, Shiroyonemachi, Wajima City
* 20-mins bus ride (adult ¥480) from Furatto Home.
• Phone: 0768-23-1146 • Admission free
• Open (rest house): 8:00-20:00; open everyday
Sojiji Soin Temple (Monzenmachi district)
(#15) Monzenmachi district
It used to be the father temple of the Soto Zen school.
1-18-1, Monzen,Monzenmachi, Wajima City
• Phone: 0768-42-0005 / Fax: 0768-42-1002
• Admission: adult (over 19) ¥400; stay over: ¥6,500~
• Open: 8:00-17:00; open everyday
WAJIMA KANKO KYOKAI [Visitor Center]
They will help you in English, Chinese, or Japanese. Ask them anything about Wajima tours!
• Location: Furatto Home (Wajima Ekimae)
• Phone: 0768-22-1503 / Fax: 0768-22-0136
• Open: 8:00-19:00 (open everyday)