A remote peninsula on the north sea coast of Japan’s main island Honshu, Noto Hanto is best explored by car from Kanazawa. It boasts rugged coastline, terraced rice fields and even a beach that cars can be driven on. Temples, shrines and historic buildings are dotted around it, including one of Japan’s few five-storied pagodas as Myojo-ji temple. The towns of Wajima on the west side is known for its morning market and lacquerware, while Wakura Onsen has a number of upmarket hot spring resorts along the water’s edge.
One of Japan's most renowned 'ryokan' (traditional inns) is situated right at the northern tip of the peninsula. Designed in keeping with nearby fishermans' houses, the Lamp no Yado ryokan even has some rooms lit by oil lamps. For those seeking something less rustic and more luxurious, there are three traditional private villas which share a pool which looks straight out across the Japan Sea. There are a number of other excellent ryokan to be recommended on the peninsula, with luxury 'kaiseki' multi-course traditional dinners included.
The ideal time to visit Noto is during the summer and the months either side of it, as the winds do whip off the Japan Sea during the colder months of the year.