This Hakusan page is still heavily under construction! Clean-up and details are going on daily!
Hakusan city is located in the middle of Ishikawa Prefecture, stretching from the Sea of Japan coastline on the west side to the
Hakusan foothills on the east (which borders Gifu Prefecture). On the northern city limits, you'll find Kanazawa city and Nonoichi-machi. On the southern end, there's Kawakita-machi, Nomi City, and Komatsu.
Hakusan City Vital Stats:
- Area: 755km2 (291sqm)
- Population: 113,000 people
- Housing most major administrative centers and Town Hall, Matto is the heart of Hakusan.
- Ishikawa is part of the Hokuriku (北陸 lit. trans. “north country”) region along with Fukui and Toyama.
- These three prefectures together are called the “FIT Area” by banks and businesses.
- Ishikawa's part of the Yukiguni (雪国 lit. trans. “snow country”) region, a stretch of the West coast from Fukui to Niigata that gets lots of snow.
- Mount Hakusan, which the region is named after, is one of the 3 most sacred mountains in Japan.
- Hakusan is home to many kinds of traditional culture including sword craftsmen, world-famous taiko producers and troupe, and the biggest sushi conveyor belt manufacturer in the country.
- Search GoogleMapsJapan for “Hakusan/Nonoichi '09” for map of the good stuff in our area!
Hakusan City (白山市), itself, is a fairly new entity. In February of 2005, eight smaller towns and villages merged to form Hakusan. Each of the individual towns have their own personality, history, and culture. It's a conglomeration of 7 towns around Hakusan National Park and the old city of Matto (松任市).
These individual towns still retain regional identity, but are not officially referred to in many instances. There are:
The largest: Matto, Mikawa and Tsurugi
The smaller villages: Kawachi, Oguchi, Shiramine, Torigoe, and Yoshinodani.
Despite being a new entity, the communities that comprise Hakusan are a welcoming network of people and resources.
As far as JET life in Hakusan goes, those of us that are living or have lived there have been accused of never leaving. It's partially true. Nearly everything you could want during your time here on JET can easily be found a stone's throw away from your home. People are open, welcoming and gregarious.
The main JR Train Stations for Hakusan City are: Matto, Kagakasama, and Mikawa. Kanazawa Station 金沢駅 is a travel hub for Western Japan. From Kanazawa’s main station, you will be able to pick up JR West trains, small local Hokutetsu Rail trains, buses and taxis that can take you anywhere in Japan.
JR West is a branch of the national Japan Railway Group – eight companies that took over the government owned transportation system back in the 80’s. The main JR line that runs through Kanazawa is called the ‘Hokuriku Main Line’. It runs north to the Noto Peninsula and south into the Kaga area.
Check train times in English here: http://www.hyperdia.com/
Museums and CultureEdit
Nakagawa Kazumasa Memorial Art Museum
Right next to the station, this small museum has a nice collection of art.
Wakamiya Shrine and Park
The biggest shrine in Matto. Has a beautiful weeping cherry tree that's
spectacular in spring. It's right next to Wakamiya Park. The park has lots
of playground equipment, a small sumo ring, and a big field and band shell
for playing. A great place to hang out in the summer. They also host local
sumo matches and a festival!
Matto Furosato-kan Folk Museum
A preserved traditional house with beautiful garden. It's right next to Matto
Station. A great place to sit and relax while waiting for a train .
Occasionally hosts cultural events.
The holiest shrine in the prefecture, this shrine is the head of 3,000 shrines
of the same sect around the country. You can take the train there and finish
the trip with a short walk or you can walk from Tsurugi proper.
Right in front of Matto Station. Honors the haiku poetress named Chiyo,
who was born in Matto in 1703.
Sky Shishiku is a beautiful mountain-top ski area/recreation park in
Tsurugi. You can take the train to Tsurugi town and then the cable car to the
top of the mountain. In the summer you can rent small camp houses for the
night and have a fun BBQ. The mountain also features a museum about
shishi, the mythical lion-dragon that guards shrines.
Beautiful family beach only a 5 minute taxi ride from Matto Station. Has
an excellent bath house right on the beach as well as a little fish
market/omiyage store/shopping mall.
Eating and DrinkingEdit
Grocery Shopping - Foodage: Finding it, getting it, cooking it, and eating it!
Food quick tips:
~ Check your JET Diary (pg. 226-229) for quick Japanese food word reference and instructions on how to read food
labels and tell servers of your dietary restrictions.
~ Hakusan is well-known as one of the breadbaskets of Ishikawa. We produce much of the rice and fresh vegetables
sold in the Hakusan/Nonoichi/Kanazawa area. Fresh fruit and veg are very fresh and cheap here!
~ Every area has its own regional specialty. Make sure to try out Tsurugi's fresh soba and sobacha and also katadofu
(a kind of super-dense tofu produced in the mountains).
~ If you can't find it, order it! Many online grocery stores exist for gaijin stranded in Japan.
~ Try new things. Don't be afraid to buy strange vegetables and ask your friends how to cook them.
~ They carry everything!
~ Usually very good sale days.
~ Cheaper prices.
~ Sometimes prepared foods aren't as tasty as local stores.
~ Don't always carry unusual or locally produced items.
Favorites: NALX, Osaka-ya.
~ Usually more interesting selection including local products.
~ Usually excellent prepared foods selection (NALX and Osaka-ya both
have amazing obaa-san made foods).
~ Usually very fresh veg, meat and fish selection.
~ May be full of cranky little old lady customers.
~ Prices may be a bit higher and less English.
Cooking: Internet Resources
It's great to buy all sorts of new food, but what do you do with it? It's hard
to ship/buy English cookbooks to Japan, so depend on the Internet!
General recipe sites:
~ GoodBite (http://www.goodbite.com/): Recipes by popular food
~ Epicurious (http://www.epicurious.com/): Can be a bit high-brow, but
carries a broad spectrum of basic recipes as well.
~ FoodNetwork (http://www.foodnetwork.com/): Like Epicurious but
more accessible to the normal cook.
~ Chow (http://www.chow.com/): Excellent site with great beginner's “no
~ Gourmet (http://www.gourmet.com/): Excellent site design, intriguing
writing and great recipes make this a win-win site.
Asian/Japanese cooking sites:
~ Lunch in a Box (http://lunchinabox.net/): Inventive bento site.
~ Just Bento (http://justbento.com/): Bento site by JustHungry.
~ Just Hungry (http://www.justhungry.com/): Excellent food blog with
concentration on Japanese foods.
~ Yasuko-san's Home Cooking (http://www.nsknet.or.jp/~tomiyasu/
index_e.html): A Japanese lady posts her daily cooking, including
(slightly questionable but understandable) English recipes. Great
~ NHK's Your Japanese Kitchen
(http://www.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/tv/kitchen/): Exactly what it
sounds like ^^
~ About's Japanese Food Blog (http://japanesefood.about.com/b/): Good
~ The Japanese Food Report (http://www.japanesefoodreport.com):
Adventures in Japanese cuisine.
~ Twitter Cookbook (http://twitter.com/cookbook): This Twitter user posts
recipes in 160 characters or less. Put the excitement back in cooking!
~ Tastespotting (http://twitter.com/cookbook): Trainspotting for food.
~ Simply Recipes (http://simplyrecipes.com/)
~ Conbinis carry everything: bread and pastries, basic cooking supplies, booze, and you
can also pay all your bills there! Unlike at home, conbinis make great sandwiches and
lunch items which you won't puke up once you eat.
~ Bakeries are the only place you're likely to find non-white bread. Some also make
bagels and other foreign bread staples.
Finding Foreign Foods
~ Yamaya: Booze store with foreign foods. Out near Hot House in Nonoichi.
~ Yasubun: Booze store with foreign foods. Next to Matto Jusco.
~ Sony Plaza/Daiwa Food Hall: Basement of Daiwa in Kanazawa.
~ Schools contract to a lunch company. Teachers can order a full bento
(including miso soup packet) for ￥300-600 a day.
~ If you're interested in joining, find the sign-up sheet in your staff room.
Usually all you have to do is write your name and a “O” or “X” on the days
you do/do not want bento.
~ Usually lunch is ordered every morning by the office jimsho, so make
sure you make your mark before they call!
Shopping: Internet Resources
Where can I find favorite products from home online?
FBC (Foreign Buyers Club): http://www.fbcusa.com/
The Flying Pig: http://www.theflyingpig.com/
Both excellent suppliers of goods straight from the States. Much of their
products come form Costco. There is also a real Costco in Osaka.
~ Time Sale: prepared foods (bento, sashimi, meats, salads, etc) are
heavily discounted at the end of every business day.
~ Rejects: fruit and veg that isn't “perfect” goes on a separate discount
cart. Shop there first! The fruit and veg is usually perfect except for a
bruise and is half the price. One day a week is usually the big clean-up day.
Keep your eyes open for that day!
~ Special Days: Double point days, meat discount days, etc.
Because the city of Hakusan is so spread out, pin-pointing specific shopping places that are useful to everyone is a little daunting. However, living in Hakusan also affords you the one convenience that a lot of folks don't realize: everyone else's resources are easily accessible, too! The large version of some stores are in the Matto and Mikawa areas for your everyday shopping pleasures, while Nonoichi, Kanazawa, Komatsu and Kahoku are close enough by various forms of transportation to easily shop in. Let's break our shopping needs down into the important categories:
- Apparel and Shoes
- Home Furnishings
- Hardware, repair, and daily living needs
- Car and car repair
- 100-en Stores
- Media (Movies, games and CD rental/sale/exchange)
- Sporting Goods
- Spirits and Liquors
- Specialty items, art, gifts, and works of art
A night out on the town
Sports: Teams and venues
Banking Quick Tips for new JETs:
~ See your JET Diary (pg. 187) for help with ATMs.
~ Don't put your money in the bank immediately (you can't get it out easily without your cash card).
~ Japan is a cash society. Credit and debit are often not accepted.
~ It's safe to carry large amounts of cash.
~ You need at least ID and certificate of gaijin card application for account.
ATMs and Cash Corners
ATMs HAVE HOURS!
Mon-Fri (generally) 8am-7:30pm
Sat-Sun (generally) 9am-7pm
~ Found in most major shopping centers in the “Cash Corner” (キャシュコーナー).
~ Using some conbini ATMs = $$ surcharge
~ You cannot do transfers from a shopping mall ATM, you must go to a bank and use the ATMs there to do transfers.
~ Hokokku Bank ATMs have English support for deposit, withdraw, and check balance, but not for transfers.
- Easy Matto locations:
~ In Matto Apita
~ In Matto Jusco
~ Hokokku Bank branch near Matto Elementary
~ Small ATM booth outside Matto Gusto parking lot.
~ Small ATM booth near bakery near Matto Library.
Bank option #1: Hokkoku Ginkou (北国銀行)
Very close to Matto Elementary School.
Pros: Can be used in the FIT area and around the country at E-Net-type ATMs in conbinis (generally CircleK, FamilyMart, Sunkus, Lawsons, not AmPm). Well known and trusted in our area. Has English ATM support. May be the only bank your school will deposit to. GoLloyds is easy to set up. Cons: Can only be used in FIT area and specific conbini ATMs around the country. Some conbinis have a heavy surcharge (￥200+ a go).
Bank Option #2: Post Office
Large branch located in central Matto. Pros: Can be used anywhere in the country. Make transfers easily without using GoLloyds. Can make credit card cash withdrawals from foreign credit cards. Cons: even worse banking hours.
Bank Option #3: Small Local Banks
Scattered throughout our town. Pros: May be the only bank your landlord will accept transfers from. Cons: Usually very limited in available ATM service. ATMs are few and far between. No English support.
Garbage and RecyclingEdit
The Seven-fold Path to Gomi Nirvana: Sorting Your Trash
Garbage quick tips:
~ Your landlord/rental agency will give you a copy of your town's sorting rules and pick-up days.
~ Only place your garbage in your designated garbage area.
~ Garbage must go in semi-transparent bags.
~ Large garbage requires pre-paid garbage tags you can buy in many places.
~ Bundled cardboard can be put out with burnables.
~ Useful kanji: 毎週 = “every week” ?回 = “? times” 毎月 = “every month”
Burnable Garbage (燃やすゴミ)
Soft toys, wooden/plastic toys, cardboard, books/magazines, video tapes, footwear,
cooking oil (solidified please), CDs, clothes, garden waste, floppy disks, unrecyclable
waste paper, diapers (please dispose of the contents down the toilet),
kitchen waste/food scraps (please drain well first).
Burnables quick tips:
~ Paper Pack (紙パック) is the wax-coated paper used for juice boxes and milk
cartons. It's generally burnable garbage, but many grocery stores have collection bins
for them to be recycled. If you'd like to recycle it, rinse, flatten, and deposit at your
local store or neighborhood association.
~ The same goes for styrofoam food trays (like you buy meat or sashimi in). You can
rinse them and deposit them in most grocery stores.
~ Non-corrugated cardboard can be thrown in with burnables. It should be bundled
neatly and bound with burnable paper or recycled plastic twine (easily found at
100Yen shops). Same goes with garden waste.
What kind of recyclable?
(Top left to right, bottom left to right)
~ Paper (kami, かみ, 紙)
~ PURA (a kind of plastic, プラ)
~ Cardboard (danbohru, タンボール)
~ Steel (schiiru, スチール)
~ Aluminum (alumi, アルミ)
~ PET (a kind of plastic, プラ)
~ Glass (not shown)(ガラス)
Recycling quick tips:
~ Different parts of packages are made of
different materials. The main label will tell you which is which.
~ You must rinse all recyclables. For PET bottles you must remove the cap (burnable) and
~ Recycling schedules are very erratic, for example “PURA, PET and alumi first and third
Mondays but glass only 3rd Wednesday.” Go over your recycling chart carefully with your
~ Chemical containers and aerosol containers cannot go into regular recycling.
~While all cities have slightly different rules, basic rules are the same. Kaga has a nice
English site to give you an idea of what to expect:
(Illegit) Places to get Rid of Recyclables
Since recycling pickup comes so seldom, stuff is bound to pile up in your house. Here
are some good places to get rid of extras between pickups:
Conbinis, train stations and platforms, neighborhood can machines, grocery stores.
Garbage Trucks/Big Garbage
Small trucks with big speakers blasting “Bring out your garbage!” roam Japan year-round.
Listen carefully to hear what you can bring out - usually large items, paper recyclables, and
electronics are collected.
Health and Emergencies: Keeping yourself happy and healthy
Health quick tips:
~ See your JET Diary (pg. 173-185) for insurance information, health vocab, and basic doctor's office phrases.
~ Ask other ALTs for their doctor recommendations, they'll have already found out which doctors are best.
~ Hospitals are not just for emergencies. Most doctors are based out of hospitals.
~ Getting a prescription from your doctor is MUCH CHEAPER than buying over the counter medicine.
I'm sick! What do I do?
~ Be polite, wear a mask. In most of our home countries it's not at all
common, but here it's common courtesy (especially if you use public transport).
Blowing your nose in public is very bad manners.
~ Go to the hospital! They're not just for emergencies!
~ Health insurance covers most of out expenses. Carry your National Health
Insurance card at all times! Present it every time you visit your doctor.
Suck down the C
~ Vitamin C drinks are super popular. You can
find them in any vending machine or conbini.
They're great for warding off colds in the winter.
~ Common brands in include Lemon Water and
~ Yuzu-lemon honey or yuzu jam mixed with
hot water is a sovereign cold remedy.
~ Signs saying: ダルッグ (daruggu, drug) or くすり／薬
(kusuri, medicine) will tell you it's a drug store.
~ Kusuri no Aoki (クスリのアオキ) and GENKI are two
common drug stores.
~ Drug stores carry over the counter meds, health foods and kitchen items.
~ Nature Made is a good vitamin brand from home.
Sunscreen (日焼け止め – ひやけどめ – hiyakedome)
Cold medicine (かぜのくすり – kaze no kusuri)
Hay fever (花粉症 – かふんしょう - kafunsho)
Flu (インフルエンザ – infuruenza)
Bug repellent (虫除けスプレー - mushi yoke spuray)
Kanazawa-shi, Ohshino 1-505, 921-8056
9-12:30, 2:30-6:30 (Saturdays only till 4:30)
This is my dentist and I highly recommend him. Dr. Ohnori
himself speaks enough English to make himself clear, but his
wife, the head nurse, is the real star. She lived in California for
several years and her English is ace. She usually does triage on
patients and translates for her husband when things get
complicated. I've had a root canal with him with no problems. He
also does cleanings in 1 visit (as compared to doctors who like to
take 5 visits). Their office is brand new and in Nonoichi. It's an
easy walk from Round1 or by bus. It's marked on your map.
Hospitals (病院 – びょういん - byouin)
Our Local Hospital: Public Central Hospital of Matto.
(http://www.mattohp.jp/) It’s on the right side of Route 8 as you head
towards Komatsu, near City Hall and the Cultural Park. Fast service,
friendly staff, and English friendly if not English proficient.
Recommended. Warning: Not open on weekends
Mental health as it is in the West doesn't really exist here. Although there are some
internationally trained, English-speaking counselors and the like, they are mostly based
out of Osaka and Tokyo. Luckily there are many telephone-based support services run
by JET and the government that are available if you need help. Read more here:
International Health Professionals Japan (http://www.imhpj.org/) Lists accredited docs.
Peer Support Group (PSG) tel (0120)43-7725
This is a counseling line operated for and by JET participants throughout Japan. This
help line is conducted by JET participants who have a background in social work or
counseling. Services are available from 8am to 8pm. Although the initial call is free of
charge, it is often necessary to then call a number which does carry a fee.
Tokyo English Life Line (TELL): tel (03)5774-0992
Trained counselors can listen for he price of the phone call. Face to face appointments
can also be made (for a fee) but in the Tokyo area. Also some medical information.
Everyday 9am-4pm and 7pm-11pm.
CLAIR JET Line: tel(03)3591-5489
The CLAIR JET Line is staffed by CLAIR programme advisors. This line is answered in
English. (Note: A JET reports that TELL and CLAIR JET Line will usually refer to Dr.
McRae for mental health help. He will charge at least yen10,000 for one hour of
counseling over the phone).
Japan Help Line tel (0120)46-1997 toll free
This is a 24 hour service run by volunteers (not counselors) that will lend an ear and also
help with any questions you have.
Ishikawa JETs site: Health Section
IFIE/RIFARE Health Guide
AMDA Medical Info Center
English Medical Questionnaire
This website has questionnaires for 11 medical departments for you to fill
out and bring with you to your doctor,
helping to explain your symptoms.
~ Emergency telephone Japanese can be found pg.5 in the Jet Diary.
~ Excellent translated fire/ambulance call guide:
Japan is prone to typhoons and earthquakes. Luckily Ishikawa is one of the
most geologically stable areas in Japan, but in the last 3 years we've
experienced the most earthquakes in 50 years, including the Noto-Hanto
earthquake in March 2007 (6.9 magnitude, 300 injured and several towns
severely damaged). It's important to know how to be safe in the case of an
~ Earthquake preparedness guide:
~ Typhoon preparedness guide:
~ Earthquake Survival Manual
~ Japan Meteorological Agency (w/typhoon and
gs0. Earthquake warnings)
Living guide for foreigners in Japan: http://www.tokyo-icc.jp/guide_eng/index.html
Groups and ClubsEdit
Hakusan International Salon
Located near Matto-eki, the Salon offers a coffee house, classrooms, internet for stranded
gaijin, as well as Japanese and cultural lessons. If you need help with anything, the nice
ladies who work there (and speak good English) will help you.
Hakusan International Salon
〒924-0872 TEL: 076-274-3371
2/F Hakusan City Matto Bunka Kaikan FAX: 076-274-3371
2 Furushiro-machi, Hakusan, Ishikawa
Daily 9:00-18:00 (closed Mondays, end Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rifare is a building which houses several important resources: IFIE, the Ishikawa
Foundation for International Exchange, and an excellent bookstore with a large
English section. IFIE also has its own international library which you can borrow
from. The Rifare building is directly outside of Kanazawa-eki. If you walk out the
main entrance (same side as FORUS and the big red torii gate) it is directly in front of
the station, a few blocks toward M’ZA.
IFIE TEL: 076-262-5931
〒920-0853 FAX: 076-263-5931
3/F, Rifare Bldg., 1-5-3, EMAIL: email@example.com
Hon-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan
Hakusan City's English Information page: http://www.city.hakusan.ishikawa.jp/language/en/about_hakusan_city.html lists basic information and resources about the city. Recently information about medical assistance and garbage/recycling collection were added in the sidebar - check out the PDF files for more information.
The Hakusan City official site: http://www.city.hakusan.ishikawa.jp/index.jsp It's packed full of everything you need to know about living in Hakusan City! Parts of the site are in English, most are in Japanese.
One of Hakusan's sister cities, Columbia, Missouri's (USA) own information page about Hakusan: http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Sister_Cities/hakusan.php
Hakusan International Salon is the hub of International relations in the area: http://www.asagaotv.ne.jp/~misalon/English.html