The Gen XY Lifestyle

Seven Reasons To Visit Ishikawa, Japan

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For an up-close and personal experience of true Japanese culture, the Ishikawa Prefecture is where you’ll find it.

If you’ve been to Japan, you’ll know it’s good not just for its strong food culture, but also for its array of breath-taking sights and sounds. Popular tourist cities are of course the country’s capital – Tokyo, followed by the cities of Kyoto and Osaka.

However the thing with popular tourist destinations is that often times, most of the city’s attractions have been tailored to suit tourists’ expectations and even palates. At the same time, the authenticity that comes with these experiences is slightly muted, and the quest for genuine encounters with Japan’s traditional culture continues to grow.

A lesser-known city to satisfy your hunger for authentic experiences would be Ishikawa Prefecture, located in the Chūbu region of Japan’s Honshu Island. Traditional Japanese culture still continues to occupy a large part of daily life in Ishikawa Prefecture – in particular its capital, Kanazawa, which is known as one of Japan’s greatest castle towns.

Here are some experiences you might want to consider when planning a trip to Ishikawa:

Participate in Ishikawa’s performing arts & culture


Ishikawa is home to cultural activities and Japanese fine arts such as Noh plays, traditional music and dance. If culture appreciation is your thing, be sure to drop by any of Ishikawa’s teahouses and participate in the tea ceremony – regarded as one of Japan’s most important cultural accomplishments till date. Alternatively, drop by the Noh Theatre to catch the monthly “Evening Noh Performances”, to experience one of Japan’s most representative performing arts enjoyed by local lords since the Edo period.

Appreciate intricate traditional crafts


Known as the land of traditional crafts, Ishikawa boasts an array of outstanding lacquerware, ceramic ware, dyed silk and metalwork that have been preserved in art galleries and museums since the Edo Period. Get up-close to these precious works with a trip to one of the museums such as the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum for Traditional Products and Crafts, or even learn the techniques used to make these intricate handicrafts.

Savour Ishikawa’s fresh and delicious cuisine


Surrounded by natural environments replete with oceans, mountains and plains, it’s no secret how Ishikawa Prefecture constantly offers an abundance of seasonal food varieties. When visiting the region, a must-try is their traditional “Kaga Cuisine”, which allows diners to enjoy the elegant dishes while taking pleasure in the special plates and bowls they are served in. One local dish to look out for when visiting Ishikawa is the Jibuni, a stew made with juicy boiled duck meat and a range of regional vegetables. On top of that, Ishikawa is also known for its traditional sweets, Wagashi, as well as its sake, due to the region’s good rice and water.

Revel in Ishikawa’s seasonal beauty

With four distinct seasons, Ishikawa will certainly not disappoint when it comes to its natural sceneries. In particular, the Kenroku-en Garden is a must-visit as it takes on a different hue with every change in season. In the spring, the garden is dotted with cherry blossoms that put on a brilliant display, while the foliage turns a deeper green towards the summer. In the fall, the beautifully coloured leaves turn into bright hues of red, orange and yellow; while winter sees its fields, mountains and towns covered in a peaceful blanket of white. Another local attraction would be the Kanazawa Castle Park, which serves as a historical and cultural symbol of the feudal times.

Witness one of Ishikawa’s spring festivals


Having been passed down through the generations since the ancient times, Ishikawa continues to celebrate a wide variety of traditional festivals that are held in different seasons throughout the year. Two of Ishikawa’s most famous spring festivals are the Seihakusai Festival, which boasts Japan’s largest float, and the Otabi Festival, which features children kabuki performances on floats decorated with lacquer, gold leaf and carvings. Truly a sight to behold, be sure to plan your visit in conjunction with one  of Ishikawa’s energetic festivals.

Unrivalled views of Ishikawa’s natural landscapes


As Ishikawa Prefecture extends right into the Sea of Japan, it is naturally surrounded by both seaside and mountain areas. Located in the Kaga area of Ishikawa, Mount Hakusan is one of Japan’s three most famous mountains and is now a national park. Visitors may enjoy peaceful views of the park’s variety of alpine plants and wild flowers, or ski in the winter at one of the ski resorts located at Mt. Hakusan. The mountainous area of Ishikawa is also dotted with beautiful waterfalls such as the Uba-ga-taki, offering visitors the opportunity to take in the scenic view and be one with nature.

Take a relaxing Onsen dip


Ishikawa is blessed with an abundance of Onsen that can be easily found in large-scale resorts or quaint small spas in the mountains. After a long day of sightseeing, there’s no better way to conclude your day than with a warm, pampering Onsen session. Some Onsen baths to consider include the Yamanaka Onsen or the Awazu Onsen.

With so much culturally rich attractions to offer, Ishikawa is definitely a hot spot for those seeking authentic Japanese experiences. For more information on Ishikawa Prefecture, visit



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