The Old Fashioned Road Trip Makes A Modern Comeback in Japan

The Old Fashioned Road Trip Makes A Modern Comeback in Japan #beverlyhills #beverlyhillsmagazine #oldfashionedroadtrip #Japan #Japanesecuisine #Ishikawatourism #Kanazawa
Image Used With Permission By Ishikawa Prefecture

09 JUL 23- Japan is fortunate to be blessed with impeccable, rapid public transportation which makes getting from larger city to city as seamless as possible but the art of the old-fashioned road trip has made a significant comeback here in this intriguing country where travelers are opting to arrive at a mainstay and then grab the keys and go deeper into more remote lands.  One of the most popular routes taking shape with new visitors is the road journey from Kanazawa to Kaga, a route filled with surprises around every corner. Travelers begin in Kanazawa whose name literally means “marsh of gold” in Japanese. This is a city rich with samurai districts, world-class markets, and the best places to dive deep into the culture. Then, after the excitement and energy of Kanazawa, it’s onward to the nature-enriched region of Kaga in the southwestern end of Ishikawa Prefecture for peace, serenity, and soothing dips in several of their most famed therapeutic thermal hot spring resorts.

Though the route from end to end is only 28 miles, the deep adventure happens when it’s slowed down and expanded into a multi-day experience.  Deep in the heart of Kanazawa, one begins in the Nagamachi Samurai District soaking up a slice of life as it was centuries ago with its well-preserved ancient houses and tiled earthen walls capped with its highlight of the Nomura Residence featuring an inner garden with streams and mini waterfall. This experience is often blended with a stroll through the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art for a glimpse of modern-day works to see the dichotomy that exists in this city.  Kanazawa Castle is one of the city’s highlights of note, once home to the Maeda family during their rule of the Kaga domain, much of it has been faithfully restored to its original splendor.

For everyday life up close, the famed Omicho Market is a lively show comprised of colors, tastes, aromas, and sounds strewn across stalls of over 180 vendors.  The market experience pairs extremely well with a Japanese cooking class at Kanazawa House that features lessons on preparing exquisite Japanese cuisine with English-speaking masters. The soothing world-renowned Kenrokuen Gardens provide respite from the energetic moments. Originally constructed by feudal lords of the Kaga clan as the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, its appearance changes dramatically every season, with cherry blossoms in spring and Yukizuri, a set of ropes to protect trees from the region’s heavy snowfall in winter.

No visit to Kanazawa is complete without a stop in Higashi Chaya District, famed for its geishas, labyrinthine streets, and unique ubiquitous geiko teahouses that accept clients on referral where you can get a sense of this fascinating cultural phenomenon up close.

When it comes to nightlife in Ishikawa, Kanazawa’s Katamachi District tops the list with its flashy bars, pubs, pulsating nightclubs, and variety of cuisine so be sure to leave time over in the evening to experience this thrill.

Hop in the car and head towards Kaga in the early hours, building in a stop en route at the Kitamaebune Ship Museum which celebrates wealthy shipowners in the past who utilized this route connecting Hokkaido to Osaka and find your way to the exciting Hasitate Fishing Port abuzz with activity. It’s a wonderful place to feast through and then, its Instagrammable moments courtesy of a drive to Amazogen Cape, a natural viewpoint with scenic vistas across the Sea of Japan.

Active adventure takes over in Kaga with a highly recommended stop at Kakusenkei Gorge which runs through the lush forest near the hot spring village of Yamanaka Onsen. The waterside trail runs parallel to the river for 1.3 km and walkers are treated to the incredible simple beauty of crashing waterfalls and unique rock formations accentuating the deep blue pools of water.

Crafting is a huge part of life here and it’s a beautiful few hours spent strolling a street like Yuge-kaido full of workshops that allow you to try your hand at Kutani-yaki porcelain and famed Yamanaka lacquerware, famous for expert lathework. And, for a dose of spirituality, Natadera Temple is a unique discovery dating back 2000 years, created from natural rock formations high above its mossy forests, traditional-style gardens, and carp-filled ponds, earning Natadera a star in the Michelin Green Guide.

Finally, the wind down comes in the form of hot, bubbling, therapeutic waters in one of Kaga’s four rich unique  hot spring villages-Yamashiro, Yamanaka, Katayamazu, and Awazu, each with a variety of authentic ryokan style accommodations from boutique family-run to luxury

For more information on Ishikawa’s tourism opportunities, please visit


Martin Maina
Martin Maina is a professional writer and blogger who uses his expertise, skills, and personal experience in digital marketing to craft content that resonates with audiences. Deep down, he believes that if you cannot do great things, then you can do small things in a great way. To learn more, you can connect with him online.
Translate »