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ISHIKAWA Prefecture

Area: 4,185 km2
Population: 1,159 million
Region: Chubu
Capital: Kanazawa

photo by ajari

Ishikawa prefecture is located in the central Chubu region of the main Japanese island Honshu.
The prefecture has a rich history and beautiful scenery, which makes it a shame that it isn’t visited more often. Perhaps the most well-known city in Ishikawa is Kanazawa, its capital, which boasts Japan’s best-preserved samurai districts and one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan, the Kenroku-en Garden.
Ishikawa is also the home of Mount Hakusan, a sacred mountain. The foot of Mount Hakusan is surrounded by villages influenced by traditional Japanese lifestyles. The most northern region of Ishikawa is the Noto Peninsula, where you can find an incredible number of festivals, in addition to extensive distances of natural beauty.
Ishikawa is also well known for its number of ski resorts and hot springs.

Along with Takayama, Kanazawa is the best-preserved major Edo-period city in the country.
The samurai, the merchants, the geisha, and the lords have all left their mark on Kanazawa in a compact, easily navigable central area. Kanazawa is also part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a City of Crafts and Folk Art.
Kanazawa cuisine is famous throughout Japan for its high quality food, particularly its seafood.
It is a beautiful city with a balance of modern society and historical interest.

Some of the main touristic attractions in Kanazawa are:
Kenroku-en Garden, the most famous sight in Kanazawa, considered one of Japan's Top 3 gardens.
Kanazawa Castle Site, the former site of Kanazawa's castle located in the centre of the city.
Nagamachi Samurai District, an area of a few streets where the feel of the samurai housing areas was recreated.
Kazuemachi, a small but very nice area of geisha houses along the riverbank across from Higashiyama.
Higashi Chaya-gai, the most most famous geisha district, located across the Asano River.
Nishi Chaya-gai, another district of restored geisha houses.
Ishikawa is known for its historical interest and natural beauty.
If you love hot springs, go to Ishikawa in autumn. There's nothing more relaxing than soaking in the warm water while surrounded by natural beauty and crisp air. Ishikawa is known for its hot springs, which can be found without trouble in the rural areas.

Go Skiing — The seasons in Ishikawa are truly distinctive. Mount Hakusan, one of the tallest mountains in Japan, is located right in the south of Ishikawa, and is surrounded by villages influenced by traditional lifestyles.

Try local foods — Every city in Japan has its specialty food, and Ishikawa is also particularly well known for its seafood. While you're in the area, do yourself a favor and try it.

Go shopping — Ishikawa is known for its traditional crafts, such as gold leaf, lacquerware, pottery, and silk dyeing. Scores of shops sell these traditional products, making great souvenirs. You can also get your shopping fill by going to a big city and spending hours in the towering shopping malls located within walking distance of the station.
By plane
There are 2 airports in Ishikawa Prefecture:
[Komatsu Airport]
JAL offers flights to Tokyo Haneda Airport and Okinawa Airport.
ANA offers flights from Tokyo Haneda Airport , Tokyo Narita Airport, Sapporo New Chitose Airport, Sendai Airport and Fukuoka Airport.
[Noto Airport] — a small airport located in Wajima. Flights come in from Tokyo Haneda Airport (1 hour).

By train
Kanazawa Station is Ishikawa's largest train station. Although the Kanazawa Station is not the only train station in Ishikawa, it is the hub from which the smaller cities can be reached.

The JR group:
Kanazawa -  Tokyo (by Hokuriku Shinkansen) 2hrs 28mins
Kanazawa -  Echigo-Yuzawa - Tokyo 3hrs 47mins
Kanazawa -  Maibara - Tokyo  4hrs 12mins
Kanazawa -  Osaka 2hrs 30mins
Kanazawa -  Kyoto 2hrs 15mins
Kanazawa -  Nagoya 2hrs 25mins

By bus
There is an overnight bus from Tokyo.
In general Ishikawa’s climate it is wet and hot in summer and has a lot of snow in winter. It is a humid climate, having a lot of rain and snow. Winter is severely cold.
Temperatures are approximately 4°C in January, 15°C in April, 25°C in July and August, 15°C in October, and 5°C in December.
During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress, however a long sleeved shirt is highly recommended if you choose to go near water or to the mountains.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves. Winter boots are a must.
For the spring and autumn a light jacket or a sweater should keep you warm.
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