You Must Visit Them! Top 5 Signature Sightseeing Spots in Hokuriku
Comprised of Toyama, Ishikawa and Fukui Prefectures, Hokuriku area is a region that is filled with sightseeing spots that you should visit even just once. Below are five places that are especially recommended!
1. World Heritage – Ainokura Gassho-zukuri Shuraku (Toyama)
The first spot on this list is a World Heritage Site – Ainokura Gassho-zukuri Shuraku, a beautiful village said to be the original landscape of Japan that make Japanese people feel nostalgic about their history. An edifice with thatched roof adopting “gassho-zukuri” is an extremely precious style of dwelling that is only found in this locality in Japan. There are still 23 gassho-zukuri houses in this village today where people dwell and lead their lives. The serene landscape throughout the day is definitely wonderful, but you shouldn’t miss the illumination at night that takes place every season too.
2. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (Toyama)
Next up is Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route – one of the leading mountain sightseeing routes made up of a series of mountains with elevation of around 3,000m. Stretching over a 37.2km distance and having a maximum height difference of 1,975m, virtually the entire route is found inside a national park. You can get to Tateyama Station on the Toyama side to Ogizawa Station on the Nagano side via bus, ropeway, cable car and various other vehicles. On the way, you will pass by a number of scenic spots, so you can enjoy the majestic nature spreading above the clouds.
Sample fares: (One-way fare from Dentetsu-Toyama Station to Shinano-Omachi Station) Adult: 10,850 JPY, Child (elementary school): 5,430 JPY, with the fares changing depending on the distance
3. Higashi Chaya District/Kenrokuen Garden (Ishikawa)
Next on this list are famous spots that represent Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. First is Higashi Chaya District that has rows of elegant Japanese traditional houses. It is filled with many shops, such as those that carry gold-leaf crafts and miscellaneous goods for souvenirs. Even just roaming through the quaint streets paved in cobblestone in this area is already a pleasant thing to do. Another must-see spot here is Kenrokuen Garden that can be reached in about 8 minutes by bus and walking from Higashi Chaya District. Listed as one of the three best gardens in Japan, this is a place where you can fully enjoy the beauty of the well-maintained greenery and flowers. It is enormous inside, so it would be better to allot about an hour if you want to leisurely explore the park. It is recommended that you leave time to spare when you come here.
Kenrokuen admission fee: Adult: 310 JPY, Child: 100 JPY, 65 years old or over: Free. Entrance is free early in the morning and when there is illumination
4. Chirihama Beach Driveway (Ishikawa)
Next up is Chirihama Beach Driveway – the only coast in Japan where cars are allowed to cruise on the water’s edge. Here, the sand is fine and the seawater that it takes on makes it firmly compressed. Hence cars can drive over the sand. This beach is about 8km long. Aside from enjoying a pleasant drive during the day, viewing the sunset is also recommended here. It is also a famous shallow swimming beach during the summer.
5. Tojinbo (Fukui)
The last spot on this list is Fukui Prefecture’s pride – Tojinbo, a site designated as a national site of scenic beauty and a natural monument of the state. A picturesque spot of an approximately 1km stretch of columnar joint of rough rocks, the steep cliffs here that are more than 20m high are definitely a thrilling sight! The view of the raging waves from the Sea of Japan crashing on the shore really packs a punch. You can also enjoy sightseeing from the top of the 55m-high Tojinbo Tower and while aboard the pleasure boat that goes around the strangely shaped rocks in the area.
Tojinbo Tower admission fee: Adult (junior high school or older): 500 JPY (incl. tax), Child: 300 JPY (incl. tax)
Sightseeing cruise fare: Adult (junior high school or older): 1,400 JPY (incl. tax), Child: 700 JPY (incl. tax)
Hokuriku is a place that boasts easy access from the major cities in Japan, so if you are coming from Tokyo, Osaka or Nagoya, for instance, you can get to Kanazawa in about 2.5 hours by Shinkansen (bullet train). It is also an area that is teeming with delicious dishes!
*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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