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Natural Scenery From Seas to Peaks


Natural Scenery From Seas to Peaks

Rugged coastlines and calm shores

Much of Ishikawa's landscape is dominated by coastlines, particularly along the Noto Peninsula and the Kaga area. The terrain along the coast ranges from rocky and rugged to calm and sandy. Much of Noto's more rugged coastline has been eroded into otherworldly shapes, such as the Ganmon sea cave, the 28-meter-tall Mitsukejima rock island, and the window-like Madoiwa rock formation on the Sosogi Coast. Cape Rokko juts out of the tip of the peninsula and offers noteworthy sunrise and sunset views, while the Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces slope majestically toward the sea. Visitors to Tsukumo Bay can board a boat to view the 13 kilometers of rias (sawtooth) coastline, dotted with dozens of calm coves.

Cape Amagozen and Kasa Point are a set of cliffs and rocky coastline in Kaga with panoramic views over the Sea of Japan. A series of mellow walking trails weaves through the area, hugging the sea.

Soaring mountains and dramatic gorges

Ishikawa's inland mountains are as dramatic as its coastline. The most prominent mountain, Mt. Hakusan, is a volcano that looms over the southwestern part of the prefecture. Mt. Hakusan has gained a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation for its alpine plants and flowers, beech forests, and lakes. The mountain's three peaks top out at about 2,700 meters, meaning hikers may encounter snow at the summit well into summer. The most popular of the 10 routes to the summit takes around 8–10 hours, and hikers are rewarded with sweeping panoramas of the Japanese Alps.

Tedori Canyon, located near the foot of Mt. Hakusan, is an 8-kilometer-long stretch of the Tedori River flanked by cliffs of up to 30 meters. Visitors can look down into the gorge from two bridges, or descend a steep staircase to view the 32-meter-high Watagataki Falls from below. Kakusenkei Gorge cuts through a forest in the hot spring village of Yamanaka Onsen. A 1.3-kilometer walking trail runs along the bottom of the gorge, passing waterfalls and deep water pools along the route.

Nature experiences by car

Much of Ishikawa's natural beauty is relatively inconvenient to access by public transportation and is best visited on a road trip. Renting a car allows the freedom to explore the prefecture's countryside and coastlines at your own pace.

Driving opens up some of the area's best nature experiences. The Chirihama Nagisa Driveway is an 8-kilometer-long stretch of sandy beach along the Sea of Japan that is open to cars. Go for a spin in either direction along the beach, or park out of the way of traffic to wade in the water or sample food from the stalls that operate from spring to autumn. The Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road winds through Hakusan National Park, passing the three peaks of Mt. Hakusan and a series of waterfalls.