10 Best Places to Visit in Ishikawa

things to do in Ishikawa Things to do in Japan

Introduction

Ishikawa is a popular travel destination which attracts a number of tourists from other areas in Japan, although the weather is severe especially in winter with a heavy snowfall typical to most of the areas along the Sea of Japan. It was also once a powerful feudal clan during the Edo era, and there are still historical spots worth to visit. In this article, we will introduce the 10 best tourist attractions in Ishikawa!

Check out The Best Tours in Ishikawa Prefecture

1.Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle is a historical spot which was once used as a residence for the Maeda family which ruled the region as a feudal lord from 16th to 18th century. Most of the original buildings were unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1759, but visitors can still enjoy some remaining structures including Ishikawa Gate. In 2001, a restoration of three buildings Hishi Yagura, Gojukken Nagaya, and Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura was completed, which made the spot more popular among tourists as a historical site worth a visit to learn about the long history of Kanazawa. The old site of the original castle is currently used as a public park, and serves as a relaxing spot for local people as well.

Opening Hours 7amー6pm (May 1– Oct. 15), 8amー5pm (Oct. 16– February)
Admission free

2. Kenrokuen

©石川県観光連盟

Kenrokuen is a huge garden with 11.4 hectares area situated in the center of Kanazawa city. It is designated as one of the three great gardens in Japan, and is accessible from the Kanazawa castle by a bridge connecting each other. It is also on a national list of “the Special Place of Scenic Beauty”, and has been recognized as a must visit spot in Kanazawa along with Kanazawa castle. It is said to be originally created by the Kaga clan, which was inherited by the Maeda family during the Edo era. If you take a stroll, you will realize a number of iconic structures such as teahouse, stone lanterns, artificial ponds, and bridges all of which make up the entire garden to look more fascinating in harmony with nature surroundings. There are a number of kinds of plants and flowers as well, which enables visitors to discover something new every time they visit there!

Opening Hours 7am-6pm (May 1– Oct. 15), 8am-5pm (Oct. 16– February)
Admission¥320 (over 18 years old) ,¥100 (6~17 years old)

3. Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

Since its opening in 2004, Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art has been rapidly becoming one of the most popular museums in Japan. The main building consists of 1 floor and 1 basement with glass sides on all directions, and is located in the center of a large lawn area which offers a relaxing place in the busy district of the Kanazawa city. Admission is not required to access some areas and exhibits, which makes it easier for people to stop by and taking their children to learn some modern art. The highlight of the museum is a swimming pool which is seemingly filled with water from outside. If you take a close look, you will be surprised that it is actually only 10cm deep, and there is space beneath the transparent glass that you can look through!

Opening Hours Exhibition Zone : 10am – 6am (※Open until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays) Public Zone : 9am – 10pm
Admission¥450 (adults) ,¥310 (university students),¥360 (over 65 years old)Admission free (elementary/ junior high/ high school students)

4. Myoryu-ji (Ninja Temple)

Myoryu-ji is a Buddhist temple which is also known as a “Ninja Temple”. During the Edo era, it originally used for a defensive purpose in order to prepare for a possible attack by the Tokugawa Shogunate which governed the entire country at the time. The temple is full of traps and gimmicks that can be found everywhere! In addition, it appears 2-story temple from outside, but in fact is comprised of 7 floors inside. It is recommendable to take part in a guide tour to observe the surprising gimmicks with informative explanations.

Opening Hours 9amー4pm (weekdays), 9amー4:30pm (weekends & holidays)
Admission¥1,000 (adults) ¥700 (elementary school students)

5. Omi-cho Market

Omi-cho Market refers to a local market located in a narrow street packed with small stalls selling fresh foods and produce. There are around 180 stores which deal with specialty dishes featured with local products. As the Ishikawa prefecture faces the Sea of Japan, seafood is especially fresh and definitely worth trying to understand the dairy cuisine in the region! The market is always full of energy and lively atmosphere with welcoming local people. It is accessible from Kanazawa station and other tourist attractions we introduced above!

Kanazawa Omicho Market and Higashichayagai District Food Tour - JapanWonderTravel.com
We can explore the highlights of Kanazawa city with great food! First, we will explore Kanazawa local Omicho Market and try many different foods there. While

6. Higashi Chaya District

Higashi Chaya District refers to a special district with a number of Japanese traditional buildings. It is widely known as a trip destination which offers the cultural experiences to visitors, and officially designated as “Groups of Traditional Buildings”. There are restored teahouses where professional performers called Geisha entertain guests with traditional songs and dance. Cafes and souvenir shops can be found around the area as well, so don’t forget to check the traditional handcrafts such as gold-leaf products (called “Kinpaku” in Japanese) to take back home as a memorable gift for your family and friends!

7. Kakusenkei Gorges

Kakusenkei Gorges is a scenic spot where you can get unwind and relaxed while surrounded by abundant nature. It is situated in Kaga city, and close to a famous hot spring resort called “Yamanaka Onsen”. The gorge covers about 1.3km between two iconic bridges “Korogi Bridge” and “Kurotani Bridge”. Taking a walk on a pathway alongside a peaceful river, you can explore several historical spots such as “Bashodo Hall”, which enshrines a Japanese famous poet Matsuo Basho who visited there in 17th century. The best season to visit there is autumn, when the leaves turn into bright colors and fascinate visitors!

8. Shiroyone Senmaida

Located in Wajima city, Shiroyone Senmaida is listed among the Japan’s Top 100 Terraced Rice paddies. It is also designated as the Special Place of Scenic Beauty, and the photogenic landscape is frequently featured with guidebooks. Over 1,000 rice terraces on a hillside closely face the Sea of Japan, which fascinates visitors all year round with different appearances. When the sunset slowly goes down the sea, the surface of the water filled in each terrace reflects the bright color, and it makes a breathtaking view!

9. Wajima Morning Market

Once you visit Ishikawa, please consider going to Wajima Morning Market to grab something for breakfast instead of going to a convenience store to get ready for the day! It is one of the three biggest Morning markets in Japan, and is said to have more than 1000 years long history! Along the 360m street, you can explore over 200 stalls selling local foods and products. Our recommendation is “Sashimi”, sliced raw fish as they are directly delivered from the sea and surprisingly fresh! All the shops serve lovely foods that you can enjoy while looking around the market. 

Opening Hours 8mー12pm (※closed on the second and forth Wednesday)

10. Suzumisaki Cape (The Cape of Sanctuary)

Suzumisaki Cape is located at the northern point of the “Noto Peninsula” stretching about 100km out to the Sea on Japan. It is lately recognized as a spiritual spot and experiencing a rapid increase in the number of tourists. The area has still been developing with new tourist attractions, and In-air observation deck called “Skybird” is among them. The deck is constructed 9.5m high from the steep cliff, and it offers the entire view of the Sea of Japan! There is another spot called “Blue Cave” nearby which is also a perfect place to feel the power of nature!

Where to stay in Ishikawa

Trusty Korinbo ―10 minutes bus ride from Kanazawa station, 14 minutes walk from Kenrokuen, easy access to the main attractions in Kanazawa
Sumiyoshiya―Traditional Japanese Ryokan which is only 10 minutes away from Kenrokuen by foot
Wajima Onsen Yashio―Close to the ocean, hot spring Onsen on the site

Don’t forget to check out our private tour!

If you need some help to organize your trip to Ishikawa, you should definitely check out our private tour including English guide. We’re glad to help you make your trip to Ishikawa a safe, comfortable, and unforgettable memory!

1. Kanazawa 1–Day Highlight Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)

Visit the highlights in Kanazawa with our friendly guide in a day! 

Kanazawa Private Walking Tour - JapanWonderTravel.com
Kanazawa is known for its well-preserved Edo-era (from 17th century) districts, art museums, and regional handicrafts. During the Edo era, Kanazawa was one of

2. Kanazawa Omicho Market and Higashichayagai District Food Tour

Enjoy local foods at a lively market and visit a historical district full of Japanese traditional houses and unique cultures!

Kanazawa Omicho Market and Higashichayagai District Food Tour - JapanWonderTravel.com
We can explore the highlights of Kanazawa city with great food! First, we will explore Kanazawa local Omicho Market and try many different foods there. While

Conclusion

Thanks to the developed public transport, Ishikawa is accessible from Tokyo within a couple of hours. The compact size of the Kanazawa city makes it easier for tourists who are not familiar with the area to walk around and visit several tourist spots on their own as well. Please find out more on their website to make a perfect itinerary for your trip in Ishikawa! 

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Happy traveling!


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  1. […] a powerful feudal clan during the Edo era, Ishikawa prefecture developed as one of the urbanized areas along the west coast of Japan. It still has a […]

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