Five Spectacular Scenic Spots in Hokuriku to Visit From Kanazawa
The Hokuriku region, which faces the Sea of Japan, has many spots with spectacular scenery. Here are five recommended spots to go to from Kanazawa, starting from the north.
1. The Terraced Rice Fields of Hoshitoge
The Matsudai region of Tokamachi in Niigata is filled with terraced rice fields of varying sizes. Among them, these Terraced Rice Fields of Hoshitoge is known to be the premier terraced rice fields of Japan. It is particularly beautiful during the "suikyo" (water mirror) time of year when the sky is reflected on the surface of the rice fields creating a mesmerizing scenery the viewer can lose oneself in. Suikyo can usually be seen from the time the snow melts till June, when the seedlings are planted, and also from October to November, after the rice is harvested. The region affords spectacular scenery at other times of the year too, with rich greenery in the summer and golden fields in the fall.
However, the terraced rice fields are agricultural fields that the area's forebears toiled to cultivate over the years. It is not a tourist site, but private property where rice is still carefully tended to. Please be considerate and refrain from entering the fields, littering, or taking photographs of the farmers without asking.
2. Lake Mikuriga
Lake Mikuriga is a lake in the Tateyama mountain range in the Japanese Alps, popular among hikers. It can be reached by taking a 10-minute walk along a flat trail from Murodo Station, the highest elevation station in Japan. It is usually covered in snow from around November to June, but between July and October, you can see a spectacular view of the clear deep blue lake and the Tateyama mountain range in the background. Covering 3ha with a depth of 15m and a circumference of 631m, this is the largest lake in Murodo and the area around it has a large variety of alpine flora. If you're lucky, you may be able to see a rock ptarmigan, an indigenous alpine bird and a Special Natural Treasure of Japan. This is a spectacular scenic spot that is highly recommended if you are in Tateyama.
3. Ubagataki Falls
These falls are about an hour on the toll road, Hakusan Shirakawago White Road, from Shirakawago, the World Heritage site famous as a village of farmhouses made in the traditional gassho-zukuri architectural style unique to heavy snow regions. This is a spectacular fall that is 76m high and 100m wide, with thousands of thin white ribbons of water that look as if they are slipping down the mountainside. It is said that it was given the name of "ubagataki" (old woman's waterfall) because it looks like an elderly woman flinging her white hair around. There is a trail to the bottom of the fall that is about a 15-minute walk from the nearby Hebitani Enchi parking lot, but it can be seen from the road as well. There are many other falls along the Hakusan Shirakawago White Road, such as Fukube Falls, so it may be worth taking a drive to visit them.
4. Noto Kongo
This is the coast from Fukura Minato to Sekinohana, and it is a scenic area representative of the Noto Peninsula with sharp cliffs and unusual rock formations. In particular, the 6m-wide, 15m-high, and 60m-deep Ganmon Sea Cave is a spectacular scenic spot representative of the Noto Kongo. There are tour boat rides, so one way of enjoying it is from the sea. The view of the Sea of Japan from the sheer, 35m-high Yase Cliff, which was the scene of "Zero Focus," a famous novel by Seicho Matsumoto (a leading Japanese modern crime novelist), is also recommended. It is an area where you can enjoy the rugged beauty that nature creates.
Yase Cliff seen from the trail
This is an area with 1km of sheer cliffs created by the rough waves of the Sea of Japan and is designated a Place of Scenic Beauty and a Natural Monument by the Japanese government. In particular, the rare and strange rock formations made of the columnar jointing of pyroxene andesite is said only to exist in three places around the world, including Tojinbo. The scenery seen from 25m above water, with no fences in the way, is fantastic, if a bit unnerving. In addition, there are tour boats that go around all the strange rock formations, such as the Lion Rock, that looks like a lion, a Tojinbo Tower nearby where you can see all the way to Noto Peninsula, and many traditional souvenir shops and restaurants so there is a variety of different ways to enjoy the area.
Around the ancient city of Kanazawa, there are many outstanding scenic spots that are unique to the Hokuriku region. Please take advantage of your trip to Kanazawa to visit these locations!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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