Add an extra 60 minutes to your travel time
and you will find beautiful seascapes and plentiful hospitality in Wakura Onsen.
Spend the night in a ryokan
to enjoy Japanese hospitality.
You might think that Japanese people are obsessed with onsen hot springs. Yes, it’s true. There are many onsen spas in Japan and the most well-known around Kanazawa is Wakura Onsen.
Located in the central part of Noto Peninsula facing Nanao Bay, Wakura Onsen has more than 1,200 years of history. It has been a popular onsen-trip destination for families, friends, and domestic tour groups since early times. Ms. Saeko Tada, the okami-san who operates Tadaya Ryokan, told us that along with their hospitality, Noto Peninsula was also home to a rich culture.
Saeko Tada / Tadaya Ryokan
Like at other onsen spas in Japan, ryokan inns have developed in the Noto area, adding to Japan’s unique onsen culture.
Most ryokan guest rooms maintain classic Japanese style, with tatami flooring, fusuma sliding doors, shoji screens, a tokonoma alcove, and futon bedding. Furnishings are rotated according to the season to ensure the guests of a comfortable stay. Ryokan are something of an attraction unto themselves, especially for foreigners.
Ryokans typically provide yukata for their guests. Many guests choose to stay at the ryokan most of the day enjoying the onsen and included meals, but you can go for a walk in the neighborhood wearing a yukata with a pair of traditional Japanese geta / setta sandals if you like.
Yukata and Japanease setta sandals Ryokan’s public onsen facilities may be indoors, outdoors, or both. Some have private onsen you can rent for an hour or two. Expensive rooms may be provided with a private outdoor bath so that you can feel soothing ocean breezes.
We are sure you have already mastered the rules and customs of taking a public bath. Let’s enjoy the Japanese onsen experience!
Great food and sake experience in a ryokan is something you will never forget.
Another attraction of onsen spas is a great food experience.
Noto Peninsula is bordered by a rough outer sea and calm inner sea, which means a wide variety of fish are caught and landed throughout the year. There is a fishing port in the immediate vicinity of Wakura Onsen. Moreover, the fertile soil of Noto makes it an important agricultural region.
Thanks to such rich natural bounty, each ryokan in Wakura Onsen will regale their guests with an outstanding gourmet experience. These establishments typically serve elaborate kaiseki cuisine. Known for its meticulous preparation and beautiful presentation, this kind of cuisine showcases the freshest and finest local ingredients.
For beverages, the local sakes of Noto are not to be missed. Ishikawa Prefecture, with its cold winters and heavy snowfall, is perfectly suited to sake brewing and is said to be one of the leading sake regions in Japan. Sake brewing is overseen by a chief brewer known as toji, and the toji from Noto are famous throughout the country for their highly developed skills.
There are many established sake breweries in Noto. Ryokan in Wakura Onsen serve local sake that perfectly accompanies their dishes.
Tips for Day Trips
Even if you aren’t able to manage spending the night at Wakura Onsen, a day trip from Kanazawa can easily be organized and is enjoyable enough. The following are some tips:
Take a Soyu Public bath [総湯]
You can experience onsen without booking a ryokan. The handsome soyu public bathhouse located in the center of the area offers a good opportunity to mingle with the locals in an onsen setting! Onsen hot springs found near the sea taste quite salty!
Enjoy a Free footbath [湯っ足りパーク]
For those who would rather not communicate completely in their birthday suit, take a free footbath. There are two footbaths in this area, and our recommendation is Yuttari Park, which affords users soothing views of the sea.
Making Onsen Tamago [温泉たまご]
Onsen tamago, a slow cooked egg in onsen water, is known to be a specialty of spa towns in Japan. It has a unique texture, and the whites are softer than the yolk.
You can try making onsen-tamago for yourself at the plaza in front of the soyu. Simply buy eggs at the neighboring grocery store, place them in the onsen tub using the attached colander, and leave them for 15 minutes. Onsen tamago are usually served in a small cup with dashi-based soy sauce.
Have a Sushi Lunch [鮨]
Sushi lunch is a real delight in this seaside town. There are quite a few people who feel that sushi restaurants are forbidding, but here in Noto, they are friendly, unpretentious, and reasonably priced.
The hearty hospitality and food culture
of Wakura Onsen are condensed
into a small bowl.
Noto’s rich food culture and proximity of fresh ingredients attracts not only tourists, but also professional chefs.
This autumn and winter, chefs from 15 ryokans in Wakura Onsen are offering special dishes for their guests as a part of a special breakfast / dinner menu.
Dubbed Wakura Musubi, these dishes feature omusubi, Japanese rice balls. Though omusubi, also called onigiri, is a most popular homemade food for Japanese, Wakura Musubi is somewhat different from mom’s cooking.
Each ryokan chef works various local fresh produce that has been appreciated by locals into an innovative omusubi meal. It features a delicate flavor, reflecting the region’s omotenashi mentality. Pour the hot dashi soup onto omusubi and other ingredients, and the dishes are ready to be enjoyed! There also are various types of dashi soups, including the flavors of miso, sake, and fish sauce. It’s an excellent way to experience one of Japan’s regional foods.
Tadaya’s executive chef Seiji Sakai told us that his own WaSeiji Sakai / Tadaya Ryokankura Musubi was designed to convey the hearty hospitality of Wakura Onsen to the tourists as well as introduce Japan’s omusubi food culture to the world.
The word of “musubi” literally means to put together two or more pieces, while it is reminiscent of establishing an emotional bond with someone or something. We hope these omusubi dishes make you feel an affinity for Wakura Onsen!
How to get to Wakura Onsen from Kanazawa
Use your “JR Rail Pass” to take a train from the JR Kanazawa station. It’s an hour ride. Get off the train at JR Wakura Onsen station! Then take a Hokutetsu bus to the spa area.
JR Limited Express train [from Kanazawa]
Hokutetsu bus [from JR Wakura Onsen station]
Hop on a train and discover the dazzling world of Japanese onsen!
There is a direct train connection (limited express: Noto Kagaribi) from Kanazawa station to Wakura Onsen station, which takes about 60 minutes. Trains depart every 2-3 hours and they are covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Direct buses from Kanazawa are also available.
The town center is located about 2 kilometers away from Wakura Onsen station. Ryokan buses shuttle between the station and ryokan. If you don’t have ryokan reservations, take a taxi or local bus, or enjoy walking for half an hour.