Most foreign visitors are not aware of the beauty of Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture. Off the beaten path, it provides a quality vacation for the entire family.
If taking a tour by bus or car, be sure to include the northern coast of Noto Peninsula. Just north of Wajima on Highway 249 are several interesting landscapes.
The first being Shiroyone Senmaida Terraced Rice Paddies.
There are many terraced rice paddies in Japan, but for scenic beauty the Shiroyone Senmaida paddies stands out. In fact, in 2011 it became a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage site, and a nationally designated special place of beauty. There are approximately 104 paddies, each comprising an average of 23 square yards, and because of their size all farming is done by hand. Every season of the year has a different look.
Rice is planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. From October to March there is a spectacular led light show during the evening that covers the entire area. I visited in late August and the fields were close to harvesting. From the top parking area, the view is great for taking pictures and you can hike on down to the sea. While looking up you realize just how impressive the fields are. The rice paddies are individually owned and farmed by locals and volunteers. At the adjoining Pocket Park souvenir shops try some soft cream. It seems to be the sweet of choice everywhere I go in Japan and the flavors are one of a kind.
Continue north on 249 to highway 28 until you come to Madoiwa Rock Formation, known as Window Rock. I am told that the best time to view this rock is during sunset when you can see the light shine through the six and a half foot hole. While walking around the area I noticed an eagle-like bird sitting at the very top of the formation.The bird's posture was that of a king sitting on his throne.
About twenty minutes further north is Tarumi Falls, known as the 'splash up waterfalls'. The real high winds during the winter can cause the water to flow up. I enjoyed the peace and quiet while listening to both the water flowing down the falls, as well as the lapping of the sea waves. A great place to clear your mind.
On the return trip to back Wajima there are some additional interesting rock formations, the Nanso Art Museum, Heike Park and several shrines along the route.
This scenic drive was just one of the many things to see and do during you trip to Noto Peninsula.