Hot spring villages set in lush countryside, with fine traditional inns and crafts
Kaga Onsen is a 1300-year-old hot spring resort town located in southwestern Ishikawa, between the coast of the japan Sea and Mt. Hakusan. This picturesque town is built around four onsen villages – Yamashiro Onsen, Yamanaka Onsen, Awazu Onsen, and Katayamazu Onsen. Each village offers its own unique charm and character, making Kaga Onsen the perfect destination for those seeking relaxation, traditional Japanese crafts, and authentic nature experiences.
One of the main attractions of Kaga Onsen is its high-quality natural onsen waters. These hot springs were discovered by the Buddhist monk Gyoki during his pilgrimage in the eighth century and have since been praised as some of the best in Japan. The healing properties of the onsen waters are said to improve digestion, relieve muscle pain, and alleviate skin diseases. Visitors can enjoy hot spring-hopping in the four nearby towns’ public baths, experiencing the different qualities and atmospheres of each onsen village.
In addition to the hot springs, Kaga Onsen is also known for its traditional crafts. The town is particularly famous for Kutani pottery and Yamanaka lacquerware. Kutaniyaki, a distinct type of Japanese porcelain, flourished in Ishikawa during the Edo period, thanks to the support of wealthy samurai and merchants from the Daishoji and Kaga families. The vibrant colors and intricate patterns of Kutani ceramics have made them highly sought after, both in Japan and abroad. Visitors can try their hand at traditional crafts by participating in workshops and classes, where they can create their own Kutani pottery or Yamanaka lacquerware.
Food enthusiasts will also find plenty to indulge in while visiting Kaga Onsen. The town offers a variety of local food sourced from the sea and the rich, fertile mountains. From fresh seafood to seasonal vegetables, visitors can savor the flavors of Ishikawa through regional specialties such as Kaga-ni (simmered chicken and vegetables) and Kaisen-don (seafood rice bowl). The local cuisine is known for its emphasis on quality ingredients and traditional cooking techniques, ensuring a memorable dining experience for all.
Getting to Kaga Onsen is relatively easy. The town is accessible via Kaga Onsen Station, which serves as the hub of the area. From Kanazawa, visitors can take a 25 to 30-minute train ride or an hour’s drive southwest to reach Kaga Onsen. The Hokuriku Shinkansen connects Kanazawa Station to major cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto, making it convenient for travelers coming from different parts of Japan. Alternatively, visitors can also take a limited express train from Kanazawa to Kaga Onsen, which takes approximately 25 minutes.
For those interested in exploring the surrounding area, a climb or drive around Kaga Onsen is highly recommended. Mt. Hakusan, located nearby, offers panoramic views of the Japan Alps and the Sea of Japan. Adventurous travelers can climb the mountain in a day with an early start or opt for an overnight trip, staying at one of the mountain huts along the way. Another option is to take the Hakusan White Road, a scenic route that connects Kaga Onsen to historical Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture. This charming road offers a more relaxed and picturesque journey through the mountains, allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty of the landscape.
During their stay in Kaga Onsen, visitors can make the most of their experience by staying at one of the traditional ryokan inns. Kaga Onsen is known for having some of the best ryokan in Japan, offering unparalleled service and luxurious amenities. Ryokan such as Kayotei and Beniya Mukayu are highly praised for their exceptional hospitality and private open-air baths. Staying at a ryokan allows guests to fully immerse themselves in the traditional Japanese culture and experience the ultimate relaxation.
In conclusion, Kaga Onsen is a hidden gem nestled in the lush countryside of Ishikawa. With its hot spring villages, traditional crafts, and delectable cuisine, the town offers a perfect retreat for those seeking relaxation and a taste of authentic Japanese culture. Whether it’s soaking in the healing waters of the onsen, trying your hand at traditional crafts, or indulging in the local delicacies, Kaga Onsen promises a memorable and rejuvenating experience. So why wait? Come and immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty of Kaga Onsen.
Address And Maps Location:
Wa Sakumi-machi, Kaga-shi, Ishikawa-ken