Noto Peninsula is Japan as it was
Peninsula are bound to be backward and behind. Noto Peninsula, or Noto Hanto in Japanese, is no different.
Why? By definition, peninsula turn the other way, face towards the sea, back towards the world. Or, if you see things differently, maybe they do face our way. But they only just hang on, by the skin of their teeth.
No wonder they cannot keep up. No wonder original travel experiences can be found on peninsula!
This article is about:
a bit of slow life by camper on Noto Peninsula
local food, a local pace and many local views
cook your own fresh seafood, with a sea view
Ever driven ON a beach?
An adventurous area deserves an adventurous entree. Enter the Noto Peninsula from the westside. From Kanazawa, follow the coast until the signs show pictures of cars driving on the beach. That means you have reached Chirihama, the only place in Japan where you can drive ON the beach, for quite a few kilometers even. Endless flat sand and endless spots to park, play and picnic.
Noto Peninsula means empty roads
The beauty of coastal roads is often the balance between sea and shore, and by following the winding road all the way round Noto Hanto you get lots of that. Bays, coves, long beaches of mostly pebbles and rocky outcrops to climb onto. Roads are great; quiet and narrow, but great. Villages are small, many have a tiny harbour and fishing boats, revealing where the focus once was. Old people about, young not so many. The same story in rural areas all over the world. Houses are often traditional, low with lots of wood and sliding doors. With manicured gardens, another signature of the older generation.
Rocks, fresh cockles and mussels
If you ride this peninsula, be prepared for lots of breaks. Especially with children onboard. Around every turn is a hill to be climbed, a cliff to throw rocks from, a beach to search for precious stones. For my kids, every stone is precious and the rule became that once the bucket is full, we do not bring anymore home. Noto beaches have amazing pebbles, the bucket was full in no time! And we actually needed it for other things. Locally you can buy great seafood like fresh cockles and mussels. you will find many small shops or try the harbour. Boil them with garlic and some vegetables, serve them with sea view. Who needs more than this?
Hot springs, camp spots and other conveniences
Honestly, we didn’t find many camp spots with public toilets out there. I mean there are some, but not where we wanted to park, on quiet beaches and isolated bays. But that is a choice. There are even official campsites if you like. Hot springs to bath and clean up are plenty. Some dramatically situated, like Lampu no Yado. Other more basic and cheaper. Surviving food-wise is no problem, even the odd convenience store can be found, including a coin laundries! But it would be wiser to stuck up on some stuff when leaving Kanazawa. Find more details in the Ride Summary below.
Terraced rice fields and torii
Japanese culture is everywhere, if only you keep your eyes open. The red entrance gates to shrines, called ‘Torii’ in Japanese, mark the change from the daily life outside, to the sacred inside of the shrine. You can find Torii also at harbour entrances of the small fishing ports, I guess that would be a way of protecting against evil storms. Beautifully sculpted Buddhist temples make a serene break too, easy to spot on the map, GPS and along the road. And suddenly, we drove in between terraced rice fields, something southern Japan is more famous for. And I happen to love views of rice fields, so another plus for Noto!
If you can afford a relaxed time schedule and Kanazawa is on your list already, why not add a night or two on the Noto Peninsula.
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Interested how we got there? Read about this trip to Kanazawa and surroundings, gateway to Noto Hanto
Wondering how you can do this too? Check out How to.. overnight in Japan in a camper car
And if you do, how to behave in an onsen? How to.. enjoy a Japanese hot spring: onsen etiquette
Info from the Noto tourism board
Wikipedia; always useful
** our Members have access to Ride Summaries with even more information. For example GPS locations and phone numbers to make navigation a breeze. And more.
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