Nothing Beats the Onsen Resorts of Kaga Japan

Travel Tips: Kaga Japan Guide

Kaga Japan Location

Kaga is a province located in the Ishikawa prefecture of the Chubu Region of Japan. It has a total land area of about 300 square kilometers. It has a population of about 70,000 people. Kaga in Japan is located near the famous town of Kanazawa, which is Japan’s second largest city. Both are popular destinations for travel because of their role in history and culture.

During the earlier times, both cities of Kaga and Kanazawa are famous for their rice production and other cultural achievements. This had made both cities just as popular as Kyoto and Tokyo at the time. The Kaga province has the same cultural value as any other city in Japan, especially due to their old-school and traditional ryokan.

Kaga Japan Weather

The climate in the entire Ishikawa prefecture is described as warm and temperate. The average temperature in Kaga is 14.2 degree Celsius, a perfect weather, and temperature for spa and onsen goers. On the other hand, the place experiences quite a significant amount of rainfall every year, even during the summer time.

Kaga Japan Hotels and Accommodation

When going to Kaga province, it is most recommendable to go to ryokans and onsens for the ultimate spa experience. However, this may prove to be quite expensive. Because of this, some people would rather rent a room at a hotel or inn, then enjoy the hot springs on a day trip.

Some hotels in Kaga include the Rurikoh, the Hotel Arrowle, and the Yataya Shotoen. For those visiting Kaga on a hotel stay, it is best to go to the front desk to ask for a list of the most accessible and most visited ryokans and spas in the town. Usually, these hotels are also affiliated with ryokans and hot spring resorts and they could offer up huge discounts for their guests.  

Among the popular ryokans include the Ohanami Kyubei, Kagari Kisshotei, Kuriya Yasohachi, and more. These are traditionally styled hotels complete with tatami mats, futons, and traditional furniture. Some hotels offer up outdoor baths that give scenic views of Mount Hakusan.

How to go to Kaga Province in Japan

There are different ways to reach the province of Kaga in Japan, one of the most accessible would be via train. There is a total of three train stations in the entire Kaga province which are the Iburihashi, Kagaonsen and Daishoji stations. The northernmost is the Iburihashi while the southernmost is the Daishoji, the main station is the Kaga-onsen which is located at the centermost part of the province. These stations are located on the JR Hokuriku Main line.

Getting around Kaga Province

There are ordinary and local trains traveling around the Kanazawa and Kaga area. Also, there are buses and bus stations traveling around the city. One example of this would be the CANBUS which is a type of transportation that can reach tourist destinations which are located on the outskirts of the city.

Four Hot spring Towns of Kaga

The province of Kaga is best known for its local hot springs. It has been known for its relaxing resorts and traditional ryokans that will make any visitor feel like they have traveled through time to enjoy an authentic Japanese-styled bath. There are four hot spring towns that make up the province of Kaga as follows:

Yamashiro Onsen

Out of the four hot spring towns in the province of Kaga, the Yamashiro Onsen is probably the largest and probably the oldest as well. What is interesting is that it is believed that settlement in this region may be due to the presence of the hot spring. Its history dates back to more than one thousand years where a priest claimed to have found a spring that will heal all wounds.

Since a communal bath has been built in the city’s center. It is evident that settlement in the town rings around the main onsen in Yamashiro. This may be an evidence showing that since it is their source of income and worship.

Travelers enjoy going to the Yamashiro onsen because of the nostalgic feel of the town due to the historic and traditional buildings that surround the main onsen. Old inn accommodations are complete with traditional tatami mats, which is a floor material made from woven rice straw.

Usually, traditional homes are built around a hearth which produces heat during the winter time. The tatami mats are perfect to absorb and store the heat which helps with sleeping on the floor with comfortable futon mattresses.

Yamanaka Onsen

This place is popular for its traditional, country feel and laid-back style. A lot of people go here just to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of the city. It is said that a number of writers and poets go here to get their inspiration. What travelers enjoy here the most is that people can walk around town wearing yukatas and geta, traditional clothing and footwear, during the summer time. Walks around the town are enjoyable and there are a number of restaurants and bars that give an authentic and traditional experience.

By Kakidai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The city’s primary onsen would be the Kino-no-yu, which is simple and old-school. It is said to give a true Japanese onsen experience. The water from the spring is believed to give anti-aging and anti-obesity effects due to the abundance of hydrogen in the water.

Katayamazu Onsen

Out of all the onsens in the province, the katayamazu is probably the most spectacular onsen due to its majestic landscape and views. What it boasts most of is the beautiful view of Mount Hakusan, the primary source of heat of all the hot springs running through Kaga. This is why it is common to see outdoor baths or rotemburo in the area.

Another popular tourist destination in this resort town is the Engawa footbath that is best to soothe the feet from all the walking and touring. There is also a Shibayamagata Lake where boat tours and fishing trips are very common especially during the spring and summer time.

This entire onsen resort is also known as the pleasure onsen because of the multiple sources of entertainment in the area. There are museums, parks, boathouses, and the like. The water from the spring is known to moisturize the skin and is believed to cure sensitivity to low temperatures.

Awasu Onsen

The Awasu Onsen town is one of the four major hot spring towns in Kaga, Japan. It is home to the Hoshi Ryokan, which is the world’s second oldest hotel. According to its history, this hotel has been passed from generations to generations and has been run by the same family since it was established. It is believed that more than 45 generations of inn keepers have managed the same, well-preserved hotel.

Their accommodation is fit for royalty, they offer free shuttle services for their guests. They also have a multi-course Kaiseki dinner. Then they have traditional Japanese-style breakfast as well. All the rooms are traditional with tatami mats and futon mattresses – the concept being preserved from the time it was established.

This place is popular with both locals and tourists because it is said that the water from the hot spring has healing capabilities. It is said to cure different kinds of illnesses.

Places to visit in Kaga Japan

Nippon Origami Museum

This place is known to be the largest origami museum in all of Japan as it is home to more than 100,000 origami pieces. It is home to the world’s smallest paper crane which is smaller than a strand of hair. Artworks include wildlife, farm houses, maple leaves, the depiction of historical events and more. There are nature themes and historical themes of artwork.

One popular artwork includes the Cinderella display which features the heroine, her glass slipper, and her pumpkin carriage. There are also flower field displays, castles, and amusement parks made from origami. This museum was established in 2001. It has a gift shop that sells video tutorials, books, and origami sets for children and adults alike.

Adult tickets cost about 500 yen, high school students admission tickets cost 400 yen and children tickets cost 300 yen.

Kitamaebune Ship Museum

Ishikawa, particularly Kitamaebune, is a popular shipping route that brings goods from Osaka to Hokkaido and back. It is through this route that great amounts of goods were transported. Because of its role in Japan’s history and culture, the Japanese have created a museum to tell the world of its tales.

There are exhibitions of popular expeditions throughout history. There are miniatures of popular ships. There are also exhibits of ancient navigation tools and the like – all of which are reminiscent of the glory days of the Kitamaebune shipping route.

The museum is open all year-round. Adult admission tickets usually cost 310 Yen and all those who are under 18 years of age are free of charge. The museum usually opens at 9:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM.

Natadera Temple

This Buddhist temple is located near the Awazu Onsen of Kaga. According to its written history, a monk tried to travel to Mount Hakusan to search for the goddess that rules over the mountains. This monk discovered that it was Kannon that resides in the mountains and thus he has carved an image of the Kannon on the very spot where the temple is built.

There is a Cliffside with a garden and a pond, there is also a bell tower and a treasure house within the temple grounds. The ancient, wooden image of the Kannon is still stored at the main hall of the temple, surviving centuries.

The admission fee to the temple is about 600 yen and it is open year-round. Its opening time is 8:30 AM and it closes at 4:30 PM every day.

Korogi Bridge

One of the most scenic tourist destinations in Japan, the Korogi bridge is a popular attraction in Kaga. It is named korogi bridge which literally translates to “dangerous road” because of the very steep, narrow, and mountainous roads that lead to the bridge. It is also known as the Cricket Bridge. It can be reached via a 2-hour walk from the city and it is known to be very peaceful and scenic. It is most beautiful during the autumn and winter season.

Ayatori Bridge

Known as the Cat’s Cradle Bridge, this bridge is interestingly S-shaped. It was designed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, who was a famous grand master of the Sogetsu school of flower arranging. Everybody is so impressed because of its shape and height which gives a majestic view of the forest and the river.

This bridge is designed primarily for pedestrians that lead to a walking path along the river. There are picnic tables in the area that can be enjoyed by visitors.

Mount Hakusan

This mountain is known to be one of the three most sacred mountains in Japan along with Mount Tateyama and Mount Fuji. This is the highest peak on the western side of Japan. This mountain is close to the Japanese Alps which is why it is covered with snow for most parts of the year.

It is actually a dormant volcano and is not a mountain. It stands at a height of about 2700 meters and is located on the borderline of Ishikawa and Gifu. Mount Hakusan is not exactly located in the Kaga province.

It is also a popular destination for climbing and other outdoor adventures. The climbing season is during the months of June and October when the snow cover of the mountain starts to thaw. The shortest route up the summit is through the Bettodeai Trail which is roughly 8 to 10 hours round trip.