Nature and culture

Located in the southwestern part of Ishikawa Prefecture, Kaga is a peaceful area mainly famous among Japanese for its many hot springs and resort towns such as Yamanaka Onsen, Yamashiro Onsen and Katayamazu Onsen. But it is equally blessed with a great diversity of natural landscapes and a widely acknowledged wealthy cultural heritage that has recently started to draw the attention of more and more visitors each year.

Stretching between the Sea of Japan’s picturesque shores and the graceful sides of the impressive mountain range adorning Mount Hakusan, one of Japan’s three sacred mountains, Kaga has a wealth of splendid sceneries to offer in every season. Its 16.5 km long coast is registered as a Quasi-National Park while its mountainous area, culminating with Mount Dainichi at some 1.368 m, is designated as an Important Prefectural Natural Park.

Rising from behind these heights over Lake Shibayama, whose colors are said to change 7 times over the hours, the sun sets beyond the sea horizon from first rate viewpoints such as the Kasa no Misaki Cape and the Katano Beach. The soothing pinky shades of blossoming cherry alleys leading the Daishoji and Iburibashi Rivers to the sea in April, the lush green vegetation taking over the coasts and remote mountains in Summer, the flamboyant colors of Autumn ultimately buried by the breathtaking stillness of the snow over the Kakusenkei Gorges are a few of the area’s most beloved sceneries: genuine feasts for the eyes happening again every year.

Kaga’s abundant natural resources and fertile soils helped to nurture a rich culture that is deeply rooted in both ancient local traditions of hospitality and aristocratic taste. Once one of Japan’s wealthiest fiefdoms during the Edo Period, Kaga was ruled by the southern branch of the Kaga clan whose feudal lords carried out an important economic growth, from the 17th century onward. The typical atmosphere inherited from this glorious past is still pervasive in the ancient castle-town of Daishoji, especially within the precinct of Yamanoshita Jingun, where numerous temples and shrines remain from these bygone times. Powerful and dotted with tremendous incomes, the feudal lords of Daishoji were also aesthetes and well-informed patrons of art who contributed to develop and spread local refined crafts such as the Kutani Porcelain and the Yamanaka Lacquerware, which have since achieved worldwide recognition.

Kaga’s versatile culture, arts and traditions are inseparable from an area that has been a bustling stopping-off place for hundreds of years. Regularly visited by distinguished writers, poets, artists and travelers, Kaga was also an important port of call for wealthy shipping vessels companies that left an indelible mark on the area. Numerous local traditional songs, historical anecdotes and the splendid townscape and estates of Hashitate are still here to recall memories from uncountable journeys on the seas and lands that stopped by here.

Offering to ease the traveler’s fatigue, Kaga is accustomed to welcome and accommodate all these people crossings. Its people’s genuine sense of hospitality and special fondness for rejoicing are best expressed through lively and spectacular traditional festivals. But they can also be tracked in a gastronomic culture that emphasizes on making use of the best seasonal delicacies such as wild duck meat, winter snow crabs from the Sea of Japan and locally brewed sake; products that have become some of the area’s most emblematic gastronomical trademarks.

Deeply rooted in history and local traditions, thoroughly immersed in Japan’s savoir-faire in the field of hospitality, benefiting from a convenient access from all Japanese major cities, Kaga is likely to provide its visitors a unique and unforgettable experience of beauty, diversity and authenticity.