Located in the southwestern part of Ishikawa Prefecture, Kaga is a peaceful area, mainly famous among Japanese for its resort towns and many hot springs – Yamanaka Onsen, Yamashiro Onsen and Katayamazu Onsen. It is equally blessed with a great diversity of natural landscapes and a widely acknowledged rich 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 impressive mountain range 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 coastline is registered as a Quasi-National Park. Mountainous area, the heights peak of which is Mount Dainichi at 1.368 m, is designated as an Important Prefectural Natural Park.
In Kaga, the sun rises from behind these heights, over Lake Shibayama whose colors are said to change seven times over the course of the day. At the end of its daily path, it can be seen setting from such first rate viewpoints as Kasa no Misaki Cape and Katano Beach. The cherry blossoms along the Daishoji and Iburihashi Rivers in spring, the lush green of the coast and mountains in summer, the flamboyant colors in autumn, and the breathtaking snow-covered Kakusenkei Gorge in winter are some of the area’s best and most beloved scenes. They can be seen year after year with the changing of the seasons.
Kaga’s fertile soil and abundant natural resources help to nurture a rich culture deeply rooted in both the ancient local traditions of hospitality and a thoroughly aristocratic taste. During the Edo Period, Kaga was one of Japan’s wealthiest fiefdoms and was ruled by the southern branch of the Kanazawa-based Maeda clan. The feudal lords of the domain encouraged and supported important economic growth. The atmosphere of that era still remains in parts of the castle-town of Daishoji, particularly within the Yamanoshita Jiingun district. Its numerous shrines and temples preserve the ambiance of the ancient town. Powerful and wealthy, the local lords were aesthetes as well as patrons of the arts who contributed to the development and spread of local refined crafts such as the Kutani Porcelain and the Yamanaka Lacquerware, which have since achieved worldwide recognition.
Kaga’s 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 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 remind us of the extraordinary adventures of the men who overcame the stormy waves to fulfill their dreams of wealth and grandeur.
Offering to ease the traveler’s fatigue, Kaga is accustomed to welcoming and accommodating all these people. Its people’s genuine sense of hospitality and special fondness for rejoicing are best expressed through the area’s lively and spectacular traditional festivals. This hospitality can also be noted in cuisine that emphasizes making use of the best seasonal delicacies such as wild duck meat, 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 to and from all major Japanese cities, Kaga is likely to provide its visitors a unique and unforgettable experience of beauty, diversity and authenticity.