Nature

Shiroyone Senmaida (Terraced Rice Paddies)

Geometric patterns
Reaching to the sea


Location: Shiroyone-machi, Wajima City

■Row upon row of rice paddies, covering the sloping coastlands
As you travel on National Highway 249 from Wajima towards Sosogi, you can see terraced rice fields, some large and some small, covering the sloping foothills like a row of steps. These are the Shiroyone Senmaida - 1,000 Terraced Rice Paddies. On the steep slopes, they seem to rise up out of the ocean. Of these paddies, 1,004 are included in the site designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty. Such beautiful geometric patterns against the backdrop of blue seas can only be found in Noto. In summer, the calm water in the paddies reflects the sunlight, sparkling like a thousand mirrors, while in autumn the ripening ears of rice dye the paddies a golden hue. The paddies show a different face in each of the four seasons.

■Japanese scenery maintained through the cooperative efforts of many people
Because each of the paddies in the Shiroyone Senmaida is so small, large farming equipment cannot be used. From planting to harvesting, all work is done by hand. Everyone cooperates in the overwhelming tasks involved, including digging up the paddies, planting the rice, and harvesting it. Japan’s natural beauty is protected by the harmony and souls of men.
 

   

Tsukumo Bay

A beautifully continuous indented coastline.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery from the sea on a Noto Tsukumo Bay Pleasure Cruise.


Noto Tsukumo Bay Pleasure Cruise
Address: 1-83-12 Ichinose, Noto-cho, Hosu-gun
Phone: 0768-74-0261
Hours: On demand, from about 8:30 – 16:30 (Operates from April 1 – November 30)
Fare: 1,500 yen for 35 minutes
Parking: 50 spaces
Access: About 40 minutes by car from the Noetsu Expressway Noto Airport Interchange

■A calm landscape created by the gods
Beautiful Tsukumo Bay is ringed by a deeply indented coastline, and has been selected as one of Japan’s top 100 scenic spots. The verdant green of the mountains and the emerald green of the sea make a lovely contrast for the indented coastline. If you’re lucky and the weather is clear, you will be able to see the mountain range in Toyama Prefecture against the horizon.
From a Noto Tsukumo Bay Pleasure Cruise boat, you can also view the scenery inside the bay from the surface of the ocean. The glass-bottomed boat allows you to observe the scenery under the ocean and see fish such as horse mackerel and black sea bream swimming leisurely through the crystal-clear water. After the underwater sightseeing, the boat heads for the best spot to observe Horaijima Island, floating beautifully in the bay. The scenery, which looks just like that in a painting or photo, will make you forget all about the passing time. When sightseeing in Tsukumo Bay, a camera is absolutely essential.
 

   

Noto Kongo / Ganmon

These cliffs were carved by the stormy waters of the Sea of Japan over a long period of time. Massive, strangely shaped rocks can be seen everywhere.


Noto Kongo Pleasure Cruise
Address: Mi-20-Ko-1 Fukurako, Shika-machi, Hakui-gun
Phone: 0767-48-1233
Hours: On demand, from about 8:00 – 16:00 (Operates from April 1 – Mid-November)
Fare: 1,000 yen
Parking: 60 spaces
Access: About 25 minutes by car from the Noto Yuryo (Noto Toll Road) Nishiyama Interchange

■Art created by stormy seas
The Noto Kongo is an extensive length of dynamic coastline created by the eroding action of waves to produce picturesque scenery. Ganmon, located in the approximate center of this stretch of coastline, is a tunnel-like cave entrance whittled out by the waves. The tunnel is about 6m wide and 15m high, and viewing it from up close, one is overwhelmingly aware of the force of nature. Nearby are the 27m tall Takanosu Rock and Goban Island, where legend says the members of the Taira clan fled after their defeat. The representative scenery of Noto’s west coast, along with the actions of the waves, continues on.
To enjoy Noto Kongo even more, why not view the scenery from a pleasure boat? The trip lasts about 20 minutes, and you’ll be able to enter the cave at Ganmon, and to travel past and between other large rock formations – there are many activities that can only be experienced from a boat. One of the best views of the magnificent scenery is from a point on the water’s surface where you can see Japan’s oldest wooden lighthouse, the Fukuura Lighthouse, in the distance.
 

   

Mitsukejima Island

A symbol of Noto Peninsula, created from diatomaceous earth


Address: Ukai, Horyu-machi, Suzu City
Parking: 200 spaces
Access: About 40-50 minutes by car from the Noetsu Expressway Noto Airport Interchange

■A massive rock shaped like a battleship
On Noto's east coast, where the waves are gentler, one of the representative sights of Noto, Mitsukejima Island, floats in the sea 250 meters off Mitsuke Beach. Its claim to fame is its shape – the pointed tip looks just like the prow of a battleship plowing through the water, and that led to its other name, Battleship Island.
One of the special products of Suzu City, with its islands, is diatomaceous soil, formed by the accumulation of the remains of plankton over tens of thousands of years. Mitsukejima Island itself is made of this diatomaceous soil.
When the tide is low, a path composed of rocks appears, and this can be used to walk from the beach to the base of the island. The view from the beach against the backdrop of the ocean is very impressive, but it is also magnificent when seen from up close. The island seems as though it is about to steam away at any moment.
Walking paths and parks are maintained around the beach. One of the best times is at sunrise or sunset, when the rays of the sun turn the seas the color of flame.
 

   

Chirihama Beach Driveway

An exhilarating drive on the beach


Location: Chirihama-machi, Hakui City

This driving course, rare for Japan, is on Chirihama Beach – a wide shallow beach that’s about 8 km long. You can drive your car right to the edge of the waves. The secret is in the fineness of the grains of sand. When these fine grains of sand are wet, the beach becomes hard enough to drive on. 
* The beach may be closed to traffic in stormy weather.

   

Rokko Saki (Rokko Point)

The sun rises, the sun sets
Over the tip of Noto Peninsula


Location: Noroshi-machi, Suzu City

■A quasi-national park with outstanding scenery
Rokko Saki is the northernmost point of the Noto Peninsula, which stretches from north to south. The sea is spread out before you in three directions, and on a clear day, you might be able to see the mountain range in Toyama Prefecture or Sado Island. It’s a very romantic spot, from which you can watch the sun both rise and set. The area is part of the Noto Peninsula Quasi-National Park. There is a lighthouse located on the tip of the cape, and the area surrounding it is maintained as a park.
 
■A white lighthouse stands on the cape
Warm and cold currents collide in the waters off the Rokko Saki coast, making the area an ideal fishing ground, as well as a corridor for marine travel. The white lighthouse overlooks the sheer cliffs of Rokko Saki, and although the design is modern-looking, it was built in the Meiji period. Even today, it is in active duty, protecting those who travel the sea.