Kanazawa – Noto Penisula, Ishikawa

The Noto Peninsula is a region of Japan that I’ve wanted to explore by bicycle for a long time. So when I got the chance in August 2015 I jumped at it. The ride was divided in three parts, starting in Kanazawa early in the morning to beat the summer heat, riding up the west coast to Wajima, then on to Mitsukejima, before finally heading back south and finishing in Anamizu. Heading along the coast is the way to go if you want the coastal views of small fishing villages that the area is famous for. Heading inland pretty much anywhere on the peninsula will quickly get hilly although if you don’t mind climbing then cycling inland will provide you with a few shortcuts to other areas.

Day one –  Kanazawa to Wajima

Leaving Kanazawa station (金沢) early I headed north out of the city and straight onto the cycling path that follows the Noto Satoyama Kaido (のと里山海道). It’s an easy to follow cycle path running for just over 30kms from Uchinada (内灘町) to Hakui (羽咋). From there I continued along the coast on the R249 heading inland only after reaching the 100kms mark near Monzenmachi (門前町). It was another 25kms to the campsite on Sodegahama beach (袖が浜) which I was told would have a great view of the sunset. The campsite was fairly simple with easy access to the beach. The first day of riding, 122kms altogether, was perhaps a little too much for the time of year due to the heat but it was a fairly straightforward ride with great views of small coastal villages looking out across the Sea of Japan / East Sea.

Distance travelled – 126kms

Campsite – Sodegahama Beach Campsite ¥1030.

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Day two – Wajima to Mitsukejima

On day two my goal again was to avoid the heat as much as possible so I left just as it was getting light, however, it was still blistering hot by 8am. Again it was a straightforward ride on the R249 along the northern coast of Noto to Mitsukejima (見附島). The northern most tip of Noto is hillier than other parts of the peninsula so expect a little climbing. You’ll be rewarded with wonderful views of the coast and a feeling of isolation that is hard to get in other areas of central Japan (excluding the Alps of course).

Arriving at Mitsukejima Campsite you’ll need to go to the lavish looking hotel next to the campsite to check in. The cost of one night’s stay was ¥1300 but after checking the website in Japanese it seems that the it’s ¥300 to camp and ¥1000 for car parking. Perhaps the clerk misunderstood me when I checked in at the time. Either way, if you expect to pay around ¥1300 you should be OK. The hotel next to the campsite has a wonderful little outdoor hot spring with a great view of Mitsukejima although I think the outdoor bath alternates daily between male and female.

If you stick around at sunset (and there’s no real reason not to) sit along the beach and watch the crows flying back to the island to settle down for the night. I was absolutely amazed at the number of crows that the island can accommodate.

Distance travelled – 76kms

Campsite – Mitsukejima Campsite approx ¥1300

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Day three – Mitsukejima to Anamizu

Day three again was an early start to avoid the heat and finished around midday after a 70kms ride hugging the southern coast as much as possible. To do this I started on the R249 again but followed the smaller roads that run parrallel to the coast as much as possible, before switching to the R35, then back on the R249 briefly, before finishing the ride on the R34 which takes you to Anamizu (穴水町). For me this was where my trip ended but it is perfectly possible to continue along the coast to Wakura Onsen (和倉温泉) and then back to Kanazawa or head southeast towards Toyama city (富山市)

Distance – 70kms

Campsite –  N/A

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Kanazawa – Noto Penisula, Ishikawa