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Noto Peninsula

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Earth : Asia : East Asia : Japan : Chubu : Ishikawa : Noto Peninsula
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The Noto Peninsula (能登半島 Noto-hantō) is in Ishikawa prefecture, Japan.


  • Anamizu — famous for cultivated oysters
  • Nanao — provincial seat of government in ancient times
  • Wajima — known for lacquerware and its morning market of over 200 stalls
  • Wakura Onsen — 1200-year-old hot spring town by the seaside
  • Suzu — on the furthestmost tip of the Noto Peninsula
  • Hakui — the UFO capital of Japan!


Noto is one of the most remote bits of mainland Japan. Its first and most famous chronicler was Ōtomo no Yakamochi (大伴家持), an 8th century poet and bureaucrat best known for compiling a large part of the Man'yoshu, Japan's first anthology of poems. In 745, he was appointed governor of Etchu Province (today's Toyama), and the poems he wrote during his six-year stay often lament the harshness of his remote posting far away from the splendors of the capital:

From the Shiwo Road across the mountains to the morning calm of the sea at Hakuhi — I wish I had a boat! (Man'yoshu 17/4025)
Away from my wife for so long -- the clear rapids of Ishikawa shall tell my fortune (Man'yoshu 17/4028)

To this day the west coast, battered continuously by the harsh Sea of Japan, is rugged and thinly populated by scattered fishing villages, while the more sheltered east coast around Nanao Bay houses the bulk of the population.

In March 2007, Noto was hit by a strong earthquake that caused significant damage to the northern part of the peninsula, particularly Wajima. While most things are back to business as usual, some businesses have shut down for inspections, repairs or just lack of tourists, so it's best to confirm any plans for accommodation in advance.


Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Noto Airport (IATA: NTQ) [1] fields two ANA daily flights (50 min) to Tokyo (Haneda). The new airport, which is absurdly oversized given the amount of traffic it receives, is located just south of Wajima and is served by a shared taxi system, with rides to/from anywhere on the peninsula costing 700-1800 yen depending on the distance.

Alternatively, the considerably larger airports at Komatsu and Toyama are both roughly two hours away by car.

By train[edit]

The JR Noto Line putters up from Tsubata on the JR Hokuriku Main Line to Nanao, terminating a stop north at Wakura Onsen. There are daily direct expresses from Ueno (Tokyo), Osaka and Nagoya to Wakura Onsen, and roughly hourly local services from Kanazawa as far as Nanao (1:30, ¥1280). From either Nanao or Wakura, you can transfer onto the privately run Noto Railway to Anamizu. Onward services to Wajima and Takojima have been terminated.

By bus[edit]

There are infrequent services from Kanazawa's railway station to most larger towns in Noto.

Get around[edit]

Noto is one of those few bits of Japan where having your own wheels will come in very handy. Trains no longer run up to the north coast, while bus schedules are sparse and fares are expensive. The easy way out is to join a guided bus tour, which run from ¥5000 upwards for a day trip from Kanazawa, but being herded around by megaphone-wielding flag-wavers isn't really the best way to enjoy the peninsula's rural tranquility.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Noto is famous for seafood, including oysters (kaki) and a special type of soy-like fish sauce called ishiri (いしり). Ishiri is made from Squid in Noto and sardines in Wajima.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Stay safe[edit]

The area like much of Japan is quite safe. Your biggest concern if not driving is getting stranded. Be sure to know bus schedules well before starting your trip.

Get out[edit]

  • Kanazawa — one of Japan's best-preserved Edo-era towns
  • Fukui - An often bypassed smaller city, Fukui has its share of good sights, including its famous Tojinbo Cliffs, Maruoka Castle, one of only 12 original surviving castles (not reconstructed fakes), Ichijodani Asakura Clan Historic Ruins, Yokokan Garden, and magnificent Eiheiji Temple.
  • Katsuyama - A small city nearby with some hidden gems missed by many, including one of the best dinosaur museums in the world, the surreal Echizen Great Buddha, the almost ethereal Heisenji-Hakusan Shrine, and Katsuyama Castle.

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