Only 15 minutes by car from both the Kaga Onsen station and the resort town of Katayamazu Onsen, discover the peaceful and very picturesque fishing port town of Hashitate. Wandering between some of the area’s most spectacular maritime view spots and the town’s historical district, you will catch remaining glimpses of a highly praised cultural heritage forged by dynasties of prominent trading vessels company owners who, throughout the Edo period, sailed back and forth off these shores and colonized the area.
JR Kaga Onsen Station
Kitamaebune was a trading vessels route along the western coasts of Japan that thrived during the Edo period, when Japan was almost completely secluded from the outside world. This museum is hosted in the splendid mansion, built in 1876, that used to be the residence of Chohei Sakatani; one of the most influent Kitamaebune ship owners of the time. Very emblematic of the “Kitamaebune style”, the owner didn’t spare much expense. All the materials used were transported from diverse reputed manufacturing regions of Japan. There are still around 30 similar residences in town which ensured the area’s registration as an important cultural asset by the Japanese government. The museum displays a large collection of maps, pictures, handwritten documents and navigation tools related to the Kitamaebune’s heyday.
The town of Hashitate was once a port of call for many Kitamaebune vessels. Conveniently set half-way of the maritime road connecting Osaka to Hokkaido, many company owners built splendid estates in this area. Zorokuen embodies the genuine architectural style that characterizes many of the remaining Kitamaebune residences. Both the materials used and the collections of crafts displayed give an idea of the wealthy life-style the company owners enjoyed.
One of the many commanding views towards the Sea of Japan to be found along the Hashitate coastline. Others follow all the way through this path, ultimately leading to the Kasa no Misaki point. A very delightful stroll to do on a sunny day, at a reasonable pace to get the best of this gorgeous panorama.
Highly recognizable by its white lighthouse, the Kasa no Misaki Point provides another stunning viewpoint over the Sea of Japan. Here, you will find yourself under nature's realm as strong marine winds erode the land and tireless waves keep pounding on the rocks. On a clear day, both the Tojinbo and Noto coastlines can be grasped in a single gorgeous panorama. Adjacent to the path that leads to the point, the Kasa no Misaki café, a restaurant and art gallery, is a nice place to stop by and try the sophisticated Kaga Parfait that echoes the story of the trading vessels that thrived off the Sea of Japan’s coasts.
A great variety of seafood is unloaded at this peaceful and very picturesque fishing port throughout the year. It provides highly sought-after delicacies such as amberjack, sweet shrimp and especially the snow crab, attracting masses of tourists seeking a culinary experience hardly available elsewhere.
Any time of the year, many restaurants and shops in the vicinity propose the freshest seasonal seafood on their stalls and tables. So do not hesitate to cross their threshold to add a gourmet moment to the emotion of a sightseeing day on the seaside.
This yet another splendid spot on the Sea of Japan is often associated with a crucial moment in Japanese history. At the end of the 12th century, in a context of raging samurai clan wars, the powerful general Minamoto Yoshitsune and his entourage were exiled from Kyoto and started roaming the roads of Japan trying to sneak back in. Amagozen, a young courtesan, chose to escape her fate here by letting herself fall off the cliff.
Nearby, there is the Amagozen expressway service area where you will find, restaurants, souvenir shops and a café with a nice panoramic view towards the harbor and the sea.
JR Kaga Onsen Station