Kanazawa, Japan is an old city which flourished in the late 16th century with its culture, food and arts. It is located in Ishikawa Prefecture, which gives travelers the vast opportunity to explore mountain, shop, sea, hotel and some of the most splendid natural parks of the archipelago. Surrounding the city is the Japan Alps, Hakusan National Park and Noto Peninsula National Park.
The Japan Alps, also known as “Chubu Sangaku National Park” encircle four prefectures: Niigata, Toyama, Nagano and Gifu. At the base of the magnificent peaks of the Japan Alps lie seven captivating cities, boasting of its own first-class tourist spots. The Hakuba, a world acclaimed ski resort attracts visitors from all over for all seasons; the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Hida Takayama, Kamikochi, Azumino and the historical Matsumoto Castle are a just a few of the scenic delights which will surely captivate every visitor especially photographers who hunger for natural surroundings.
Aside from Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tateyama, Mt. Hakusan is among Japan’s Three Sacred Mountains and has been a place of worship since ancient times. The “White Mountain” as known to the locals is the location of the Hakusan Shirayama Hime-Jinja Oku-Miya, a shrine at the peak of the Mt. Hakusan. Its origin of worship upon climbing dates back to the 700th century when for the first time, Taicho, a priest climbed the mountain to practice aesthetic beliefs. To date, some 2700 Hakusan shrines from different locations have since then been built.
One of Japan’s well-known mountainous national parks is the Hakusan National Park. A hundred million years ago, as it has been once told, the Hakusan region was once at the bottom of the lake, after recurrent eruptions of the volcano the region gradually elevated and took form above. The park now extends across four prefectures (Ishikawa, Fukui, Gifu and Toyama) presenting various kinds of ecosystem services. It also boasts of a wealth of alpine flora, an illustrious forest of virgin beech trees to the satisfaction of inhabiting wild animals, and the hot springs coming from the deepest of the valleys up to the mountain bases.
And lastly to take your breath away, is the Noto Peninsula National Park. A brief historical background, it was thought to be named after an Ainu (Japanese word for “nose”), the Noto-hanto (as it is fondly called) stands out and shields the bays of Nanao and Toyama respectively. The eroded west coast is lined with steep and densely forested hills waves and wind blasted during winter but ruggedly astonishing among other seasons. A quick sightseeing can be done in six to eight hours, but if desiring to see more of the remarkable scenery, a recommendation of two to three days stay is a must. Visitors won’t be disappointed with the mountain, shop, sea, hotel accommodations. And by the way, the region is famous for its festivals, Seihakusai festival for one, a tradition held every 400 years from May 3 to 5 in Nano, where one can enjoy three days of non-stop celebration. Be captivated with giant floats of ships resembling deka-yama (big mountains) which will be paraded throughout the streets which at midnight will turn into miniature Kabuki stages for the delightful performances of children donned in costumes.
There are plenty of reasons to go and visit Kanazawa, Japan. If you are into arts, rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscape, mountains and lots of festivals, this is the perfect place for the experience, learning and enjoyment.