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Suggested Itineraries

A Road Trip to the Coast

A route to the small port of Hashitate, driving the coastal roads, and exploring the hot spring town of Katayamazu Onsen, and its lake. The best time to go is from spring to autumn.

Time Required: 3h30m

The Sea of Japan, the shipping route of Kitamaebune.

Arriving at the main railway station of the Kaga City area (Kaga Onsen station), you will find several car rental agencies nearby. Once you have picked up your car, head coastward, and drive until you reach the small port of Hashitate.

During the Edo era (1603-1868) the fishing port was the residence of merchant ships, Kitamaebune owners who specialised in the trade of various commodities linking the port of Osaka and the northern island of Hokkaido. Nowadays, Hashitate has kept the remains of this glorious past with its district. Around 30 traditional and unique wooden houses in the architectural style of the Kitamaebune era remain today, including the Kitamaebune Ship Museum and Zorokuen built in 1870 (both former residences). From this historical centre you can drive or walk to Cape Kasa no Misaki. This rocky promontory offers a breathtaking view over the Sea of Japan. Here, nature is wild and rugged, the cliffs are steep and indented by the powerful waves and winds from the North.

Hashitate is the ideal place to sample fresh seafood. We highly recommend a restaurant called Kassen Shintoku, a local institution where you can choose your own fish from a fishmonger section of the restaurant. typical selections available include are Japanese snow crabs, red sea bream, sardines, black throat sea perch, yellowtail, shrimps to name a few.

Nearby, Katayamazu Onsen is another town that deserves to be explored. Start at the Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice, which celebrates the work of renowned scientist and writer, NAKAYA Ukichiro (1900-1962) - the first person to create artificial snowflakes - and mirrors the structure of a snowflake in its hexagonal, contemporary design. Inside, you can watch fascinating videos (with English subtitles) about snow, conduct experiments, and even create and even create your own snowflakes. Next, head to Katayamazu Onsen’s public bathhouse, the Soyu, a wonderfully modern building created by the famous architect TANIGUCHI Yoshio (1937-). Finish the day with a relaxing soak while taking in the breathtaking views of Lake Shibayama.

Recommended Places (3h30m)