Kaga (加賀市) Kaga is the southernmost region of Ishikawa, bordering on Fukui Prefecture. It’s made up of many small towns and villages with the mountains on one side and the sea on the other.
In the 15th century Buddhists set up a religious government in Kaga. The Buddhists’ power grew, and so did this region. Kaga was invaded in 1580, and following a turbulent period was finally taken over by Maeda Toshiie, a retainer of Oda Nobunga.
When Japan came under the control of the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603, Maeda’s vast territorial holdings were recognized making Kaga the wealthiest province in Japan. In Maeda Toshiie’s time the area grew one million ‘koku’ of rice every year (one koku is a year’s supply of rice for one person). Kaga is still famous for good rice today and each September the ‘Jumangoku’ (100,000 bushels) festival takes place in Daishoji. In the Edo period (1603-1867) Ishikawa was two areas: Kaga in the south and Noto in the north. Kaga flourished as the castle town of the Daishoji Clan.
In the Meiji period (1868-1912) Ishikawa Prefecture was made. In 1872 when the feudal provinces were abolished and modern prefectures established the Kaga region was the 3rd most populous area in Japan after Tokyo and Osaka. The modern city was first incorporated in 1958, and then expanded in 2005, through a merger with the town of Yamanaka.
Kaga is made up of:
- 6 areas of Daishoji
- 3 hot spring towns of Yamanaka, Yamahshiro, Katayamazu
- Hashidate on the Japan sea
The population is about 74,000.
Kaga’s temples and hot springs continue to attract tourists to the area.
The nearest airport to Kaga is Komatsu Airport. Komatsu bus services leave JR Komatsu station for the airport every 20-30 minutes (12 min, ￥260).
- Kaga has 3 train stations – Iburihashi, Kagaonsen and Daishoji. All are on the JR Hokuriku Main Line from Kanazawa to Osaka. Kagaonsen is the main station with several local and express trains travelling north and south every hour.
- Express trains (marked on the timetable in red) do not stop in Daishoji or Iburihashi.
- Kaga is approximately 1 hour from Kanazawa, 2 hours from Kyoto and 2.5 from Osaka.
- Train timetables can be found in English on www.hyperdia.com
The CAN BusEdit
Kaga’s best sights are quite spread out. Taking the CAN Bus is an easy way of seeing Kaga. A one day pass costs ￥1000 Check http://www.tabimati.net/en/kaga.html for more information.
Everything in Kaga is well sign-posted in English. If in doubt, look for the CAN Bus signs.
Taxis are useful in Kaga as the trains stop running early.
Daikos are a taxi service, where two men (often in shiny silver jackets) will come to drive you home in your own car. A really helpful invention given the legal blood alcohol limit in Japan is ZERO.
Buses in Kaga are infrequent. Buses to Yamanaka and Yamashiro run from outside Kagaonsen station. Buses also stop in Amagozen Service Area for Osaka, and are significantly cheaper than taking the train.
For travel outside Kaga, visit the JTB travel agency in Daishoji. For assistance in English, ask for Dessen Kaori. Tel: 0761-73-3530.
Take a right from Daishoji station and walk past City Hall. JTB is first on the left after the traffic lights.
Museums and CultureEdit
All sights below can be accessed using the CAN Bus.
Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice, Ushiozu-machi, Katayamazu A museum devoted to Ukichiro Nakaya, the first person in the world to make artificial snow.
10 minutes from Kagaonsen station by car. Follow signs to Katayamazu.http://www.kagashi-ss.co.jp/yuki-mus/
Kutaniyaki Museum, Daishoji
Kutaniyaki is overglaze porcelain decorated with bright designs using only 5 colours. 350 years ago Kutaniyaki was the main industry of the Daishoji clan. At the Kutaniyaki Art Museum you can see valuable pieces of porcelain and the souvenir shop sells a wide range of (expensive) pieces.
Take a left from Daishoji Station and then turn right at the next junction. The museum is located in Daishoji park, behind Daishoji Library.
Nata dera Temple, Natadera An ancient temple with the principle image of a rugged mountain cave. Beautiful foliage in autumn.
Follow signs for Natadera from Route 8.
Kitamae-bune no Sato Museum, Hashidate A museum featuring Kitamae ships — trading ships that voyaged to ports all over Japan. Look for the large walled building in the centre of Hashidate. Car parking is available opposite.
Nippon Origami Museum, Kanomachi The largest origami museum in the world, with over 100,000 origami items including a paper crane smaller than the tip of a single hair. On Route 8, a 5 minute drive from Kagaonsen train station. Look for the enormous porcelain pot.
Rabbit Park, Urushigura You can pet and feed the rabbits that run free in this slightly strange location, and fight the kids for the once-hourly rabbit cuddle session. The rabbit-themed gift shop has to be seen to be believed. Follow signs for Shioya Port from Daishoji. The museum is a large building on the left.
Daishoji Temple District Daishoji has six major temples. Among the best are Jisshoin Temple – a zen temple named for Maeda Toshiharu in 1660 and the resting place for generations of the Maeda Clan – and Zenshoji Temple, where you can see the famous 500 statues of Buddha, donated by Daishoji warriors and villagers. Take a right from Daishoji station and follow signs for the Temple District.
Cape Casa, Hashidate
Follow the trail to a lighthouse standing on an impressive sandstone cliff top. A great place to watch the sun go down over the Sea of Japan. Follow signs from Hashidate.
Kaga Fruit Land Enjoy year-round fruit picking — strawberries, grapes, blueberries, etc. Offers an impressive ‘tabe-hodae’ – all you can pick (and eat) fruit for ￥1000. Follow signs for Hashidate from Daishoji. http://www.furulan.com/
Kakusenkei Gorge, Yamanaka There is a one-kilometer-long path beside the mountain stream, from which you can enjoy all of Kaga’s FOUR seasons. Directions: Follow signs from Yamanaka. Kamoike Observation Center More than 10,000 geese and ducks fly here in winter. Follow signs from Daishoji.
Shioya and Katano Beaches
These beaches are both part of the same long stretch of sand. A great place to have barbeques in the summer and cool off in the Sea of Japan. The waves are good for year-round surfing and body-boarding. Follow signs for Shioya Coast from Daishoji.
Eating and DrinkingEdit
Café Jiri, Daishoji Extremely delicious cakes and friendly staff. Banana juice recommended. One block north of Kaga City Hall, or take a right from Daishoji train station and walk for 5 minutes.
La Vive, Katayamazu A good Italian restaurant, situated in a block of 3 restaurants. Gets busy at the weekends.
Follow the road going up the hill from Katayamazu foot spa. The block of restaurants with La Vive is just before the junction at the top of the hill, on the right. Paddock, Yamashiro Let the incredibly friendly Mama-san welcome you with to the newly remodeled Paddock izakaya-style bar. Follow signs for Yamashiro from Route 8. Paddock is on the right. Portico Tea House, Iburihashi A Buckingham Palace-style tea shop with great homemade cakes, a dazzling range of teas and scones my granny would be proud of. 10 minutes walk from Iburihashi train station. Take a left at the post office and continue until the bridge. Cross the bridge, take a right on to the main road and then take the first left.
Shirokawa, Iburihashi A cosy and reasonably-priced family restaurant, serving traditional Japanese food like oyakodon. Opposite Iburihashi train station, next to the post office.
Side Burger Enjoy some of the best burgers in Japan in an American-style burger joint. You can also get your hair cut at Side Hair while you wait. f you are travelling North from Daishoji, Side Burger is next left after the golf practice area on Route 8. If you are travelling South, Side Burger is a sharp right after you go over a small hill, not long after the Shell Petrol Station.
Spice, Daishoji Very tasty South-East Asian food. Staff are incredibly friendly and can speak some English. An English menu is available, and it’s always worth asking about the day’s specials. Continue straight down the road from Daishoji station. Go past Lawson’s and Hokoku bank. Spice is the first right after the bridge. Takoyaki takeaway, Katayamazu The best takoyaki (octopus balls) in Ishikawa, according to the locals. Next to Katayamazu foot onsen.
Abio AL Plaza, Kagaonsen A large range of shops, including clothes, electronic, shoes and furniture. Also has a large omiyage selection on the ground floor.
Situated to the left of Kagaonsen station. You can’t miss it. K’s A good range of electronic goods, though not as cheap as some other stores. Listen out for the world’s most annoying jingle. Located just behind AL Plaza at Kagaonsen. Jusco
A large department store, selling everything from shoes to bikes. The supermarket has a nice selection of cheeses and imported chocolates. Located off Route 8.
Second Hand Store "万代書店" This amazing second hand store is worth a visit just to see their range of second hand clothes, shoes, CDs, vinyl, LPs, action figures and manga. A collector’s paradise. Located off Route 8 just after the Jusco turn-off.
Marue The Marue supermarket in Daishoji has half price frozen products on Sundays. Go straight from Daishoji station, then take a right.
KCs Billiards / pool and karaoke. Membership required but you can apply at the information desk.
5 minutes walk from Kagaonsen station.
Korona World Cinema, Fukui The nearest cinema to Kaga is 40 minutes drive south in Fukui. Mondays are cheap for Men, Fridays are cheap for Women and all films are reduced by ￥500 if you go after 8pm. Follow Route 8 South to the Lovely Partner Shopping Mall on the right hand side. Karaoke, Daishoji Take a right from Daishoji train station, and then the next left after passing City Hall. The Karaoke rooms are part of the Apic mini shopping centre.
ATMs In Kaga bank ATMs generally open around 8:45am and close at 7pm.
Post Office Machines at the Post Office will allow credit card cash withdrawals from all major credit cards.
Hashimoto Clinic, Daishoji The doctor at Hashimoto Clinic in Daishoji has excellent English. Appointments not necessary. Tel: 0761-72-1150. Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-12:00, 14:00-18:00. Early closing Thurs.
Go straight down the road leading away from Daishoji Station. The Clinic is to the left of Lawson’s.
Groups and ClubsEdit
Kaga Multicultural Network Tabunka Net is the multicultural network for Kaga, organising many international events in the area. www.tabunka.net
Kaga travel guide http://wikitravel.org/en/Kaga
Kaga City official website (in English) http://www.city.kaga.ishikawa.jp/eng/
Kaga Tourist Information site http://www.tabimati.net/en/index.htm Ishikawa Tourist Information site http://www.hot-ishikawa.jp/f-lang/english/kaga-hakusan-area/