Noto Peninsula: A Breathtaking Road Trip


Noto has so many beautiful scenic spots, especially along the coastline. Going by car is better for freedom, but tour buses from Kanazawa also travel there.

Our Half-day Itinerary:
Wajima Morning Market (brunch)
Mitsukejima (coffee time!)
Yume Terrace


along the noto kongo coastline near ganmon

Ganmon on the Noto Kongo Coastline

Ganmon on the Noto Kongo Coastline

Geographically amazing!

Ganmon is the highlight of the Noto Kongo Coastline. Long ago, this rock was created entirely naturally under water. Over time, it rose up to its current position.

Ganmon means “rock gate,” and you can walk right down to it to see the formation up close along with the crashing waves from the East Sea off the coast of Japan. When the weather is calm, you can take a boat out across the water.

Wajima Morning Market

The Wajima Morning Market On the way to the Wajima Morning Market Fugu Blowfish Chips at the Wajima Morning Market A new friend along the main street of Wajima's Morning Market

From 8:00 a.m. to noon, the morning market opens in Wajima Port. This market is one of the three largest in Japan. More notably, it’s the oldest: it’s been held for over a 1000 years!

The area is packed with locally-owned-and-run lacquerware shops, fish markets, grocers and restaurants. The older women enthusiastically peddled their umeboshi (pickled plums), dried mushrooms, and other homemade morsels. They were great sales ladies! We enjoyed a fresh seafood bowl and fugu chips made from blowfish. Fresh and tasty!


The 1004 Rice Paddies of Senmaida Wind-blown and wind-grown tree in Senmaida

When we got to Senmaida, the weather was misty and rainy. Even on that day, it was beautiful, and I could imagine how perfect it is when sunny.

Senmaida means “1000 rice fields,” and 1004 small paddies occupy the slope. Rice planting happens in May, harvesting in September, and all by hand! I definitely want to return at that time.

That lone, stalwart tree seemed to escape the salty winds.


Mitsukejima on a cloudy day

Mitsukejima is near the tip of the Noto Peninsula said to be first discovered by the Buddhist founder Kukai 1200 years ago. As it resembles a great ship, it’s often called Gunkan-jima, or “Battleship Island.” It’s an amazing spot at sunrise as well.

In 10 minutes we were in the center of Suzu City with cafes and restaurants. We found some take-away and excellent coffee at Nizami Coffee.

Bessyodake Sky Deck Noto Yume Terrace

The Bessyodake Sky Deck Noto Yume Terrace The Bessyodake Sky Deck Noto Yume Terrace Enjoying the view from the Bessyodake Sky Deck Noto Yume Terrace

Along the Noto Satoyama Highway is a special parking area, “Yume Terrace.” At 13 meters high, the view of Noto-jima Island is breathtaking. When the sky is clear, you can even see the distant Tateyama mountains. The quiet moments there overlooking the landscape made the perfect soft ending to our sightseeing day.

Our route by car:
Kaname InnGanmon: 1 hr 15 min
Ganmon Wajima Morning Market: 1 hr
Wajima Morning Market Senmaida: 17 min
Senmaida Mitsukejima: 20 min
Mitsukejima Yume Terrace: 1 hr
Yume Terrace Kaname Inn: 1 hr 20 min

Touring by Bus from Kanazawa Station:
Local Tour Bus English Information
(see the second page for Noto tours)

photos by Nik van der Giesen (hitonoto)


Nao can tell you anything you need to know about crafts, music and sake and was herself a singer in Tokyo for nine years. She is now living in a machiya, a kind of old Japanese townhouse, for her project, hitonoto. insta@yasutanao