Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Hakusan City – A Paradise for Hikers and Paragliders

Hakusan City (白山市) is a city in Ishikawa Prefecture filled with breathtaking scenery. One of Japan’s most sacred mountains – Mt. Hakusan – stands to one side of it. The city, naturally, has numerous hiking trails with various difficulties that suit a wide range of age groups. It also features one of Japan’s best places for paragliding. Other attractions include Kaga Province’s largest shrine, a scenic gorge not known by many, a dinosaur museum, one of the most popular cherry blossom spots in Ishikawa Prefecture, and more!

Like any other rural area in Japan, driving is probably the best method to get to the attractions below. But with meticulous planning, you should be able to visit many of them without a car still. Renting a bike from Tsurugi Station can also be a great way to save on transportation (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Tip: Especially if you are joining one of the paragliding sessions, check out THIS COUPON that might save you money.

Shirayamahime Shrine (白山比咩神社)

Shirayamahime Shrine is the oldest and the biggest Shinto Shrine in the Kaga region/province. The construction of the shrine accentuates and enhances the surrounding nature.

© 白山市観光連盟

Mt. Hakusan (白山), one of Japan’s three most sacred mountains, which rises over Ishikawa, Gifu, and Fukui Prefectures, has long been treated as holy ground. As people in the region offer prayers and gratitude towards the mountain, Shirayamahime Shrine was firstly built in BC 91. Since then, it has experienced several relocations and restorations due to fire hazards and civil wars.

The shrine is the main shrine to around 3,000 Hakusan “offshoot” shrines in Japan. At 4:30 am on the first of each month, a special ritual called Otsuitachimairi (おついたちまいり) is held to thank gods for looking after the pilgrims in the past month and also pray for another peaceful and prosperous month.

There are many National Important Cultural Properties on display at the treasure hall that should interest those who have a great passion for Japanese history, handicrafts, and culture.

Apart from all the buildings, one of the most scenic spots on the ground of the shrine is the Omotesandō (表参道) which starts from the torii gate to the shrine’s worship halls.

The path itself is covered by light green moss, and the cedar trees lining each side form a natural tunnel making the 5-minute walk enjoyable throughout the year. This is why we recommend you access the worship halls by walking through this path, even if you can drive up!

© 白山市観光連盟

Also, a small gorgeous garden is worth visiting at the back of the main worship hall. As you stroll around the shrine, you will also find a few gigantic cedar trees over 800 years old!

Shirayamahime Shrine also has a rear shrine at the top of Mt. Hakusan. For more information, please refer to our article on Mt. Hakusan!

For more information about the shrine, you can refer to their English website HERE.

Shirayamahime Shrine’s Opening Hours, Admission costs, and Access Information

  • The treasure hall is open from 9 am to 4 pm from April to October and from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm in November. It is closed from December to March
  • The shrine itself is free to enter. But it will cost 300 yen for high school students and above to enter the treasure hall
  • The closest bus stop is Ichinomiya (一の宮) which is just a 5-minute walk away from the shrine. There are a couple of bus routes that depart from either JR Kanazawa Station (金沢駅) and/or Hokuriku Railway’s Tsurugi Station (鶴来駅)
    • Please refer to the timetable HERE. There are multiple routes that you can choose from
    • The departure times that are marked in red are for services operating on weekends and public holidays only
  • From Hokuriku Railway’s Tsurugi Station (鶴来駅), it is a 30-minute walk in the historical town of Tsurugi
  • You can also rent a bicycle from Hakusan City Hall Tsurugi Branch (白山市 鶴来支所) that is just in front of JR Tsurugi Station to shorten your travel time to 10 minutes. They have normal bikes, mountain bikes, and electric-assisted bikes available for you to rent from 9 am and 5 pm. But note that if you are shorter than 140 cm, they won’t have a bike that suits your height.
    • Also, you can utilize their free baggage storage services
    • If you are coming from Tsurugi Station on weekends and public holidays, you can consider getting the Free Eco Ticket (フリーエコきっぷ), which is a one-day free pass sold at 600 yen (half price for children). A return trip from Shin-Nishikanazawa Station (新西金沢駅) will make it worthwhile
    • Hokutetsu Railway’s Shin-Nishikanazawa Station is just opposite JR Nishikanazawa Station that is just a stop away from JR Kanazawa Station
    • Please remember to bring your ID if you are renting a bike and return the bike by 5 pm

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

Park Shishiku (パーク獅子吼)

Park Shishiku is a comprehensive facility that spreads around the gondola lift platform at Shishiku Highland (獅子吼高原). With an altitude of 650 meters, a spectacular view of both Hakusan City and the Sea of Japan waits at the summit. If the weather is good, you can even see the Noto Peninsula past Kanazawa!

The park is symbolized by the Lion Head World Museum (獅子ワールド館), which has collections of all different sorts of lions’ heads across the globe.

On the second floor, be prepared to be amazed by Japan’s largest wood carvings of lion heads. Apparently, it took the craftsman 10 years to make the heads. In case you are wondering, the golden head that has lipsticks on is the wife, and the husband is the redhead lion (´▽`*).

© 白山市観光連盟

If you visit the highland in November, the 5-minute gondola lift ride is especially stunning when the deep red of autumn spreads below your feet. Instead of taking the lift, you can also hike all the way up! At the top of the mountain, you might find many paragliders preparing to launch off.

© 白山市観光連盟

Yes, Shishiku Highland is one of the best paragliding spots in Japan. If you are interested, you can reserve with one of the two paragliding schools for a 10 to 15-minute exciting time in the sky (^_-)-☆. And don’t worry if you have never tried paragliding. You will be accompanied by an experienced instructor who will also help you take some photos during the flight!

If you aren’t the adventurous type of person, you can also chill out at the Kogen Cafe (高原のカフェ) to enjoy their delicious desserts menu or a light meal.

Paragliding at Shishiku Highland

Both schools are located within a 10-minute walk distance from Park Shishiku. While they probably still take you if you just show up at their office, it is preferred if you book online or through a phone call. On the day, check in at their office, and they will guide you to the top of the mountain by taking the gondola lift. The cost is 8,000 to 10,000 yen per person, excluding the cost of the gondola lift. They have a session at an hourly interval that you can choose from.

  • Sky Shishiku Paraglider School (スカイ獅子吼パラグライダースクール)
    • The cost is 8,000 yen per person
  • Shishikukogen Paraglider School (獅子吼高原パラグライダースクール)
    • The cost is 10,000 yen per person
    • Online booking form (has the English translation underneath)
      • Can be used for booking up to 3 days in advance
    • Booking by phone call: +81-76-273-0658
      • Operating hours are from 8 am to 8 pm
    • Session time required: 1.5 – 2 hours
    • Session operating from 9:30 am to 4 pm
    • Confirmed with them that the English session is available upon request
    • Cancellation charges won’t apply, but please let them know in advance

Tip: It is recommended to wear long sleeves, long pants, and sneakers that are suitable for doing sports. A thin jacket will be handy as it can be cold in the sky. You can also borrow from them on arrival, but it is subject to availability. There are also changing spaces and lockable lockers if you need them.

Important: There are no paragliding sessions from December to March.

Park Shishiku’s Operating Hours, Gondola Lift Costs, and Access Information

  • The park is open from 10 am to 5 pm but closes early at 4 pm in winter
  • The operates from April to November with the last gondola going up to the summit is at 4:30 pm
  • The park is closed on Tuesdays and also on Fridays in winter
  • Gondola lift cost:
    • Return trip: 710 yen for adults and 300 yen for children
    • One-way trip: 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children
  • The park is free to enter, including the Lion Head World Museum
  • If you have rented a bike, it is around 10 minutes from Shirayamahime Shrine
  • From Hokuriku Railway’s Tsurugi Station (鶴来駅), take the Hakusan Line (白山線) and get off at Ichinomiya (一の宮) stop. For the timetable of the route, you can refer to the pink table HERE. The park is less than a 15-minute walk from the bus stop

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

Matto Green Park (松任グリーンパーク)

As the cherry blossom season comes to an end in Ringyō Shikenjō Jumoku Park (refer to below), the wisteria in Matto Green Park, just a 15-minute drive away, starts to bloom!

The park is best known for its 310 meters long wisteria pergola, featuring a big pond and a watermill. The wisteria here reaches full bloom from early to mid-May and makes the park a main attraction in the city. At the same time, the yellow iris is also blossoming in another part of the park (^_-)-☆.

If you are traveling with young children, they will have plenty of fun at the playground that has a 60 meters long slide and other kinds of playsets.

How to Get to Matto Green Park

  • From Hokuriku Railway’s Inokuchi Station (井口駅), it is around a 40-minute walk
  • From JR Mattō Station (松任駅), it is a 15-minute drive
  • You can also take one of the below bus routes, JR Mattō Station (松任駅), but just note the number of services is really limited
    • Hokutetsu’s bus – the Santanda Line (三反田線) and get off at Fujinoki (藤の木) stop. For the route timetable, you can refer to the light blue table HERE. The park is around a 10-minute walk from the bus stop
    • As Fujinoki is a small stop, please use “山島台中央” as a reference
  • Community Bus – Megu ̄ru (コミュニティバスめぐーる) South Course (南コース) and get off at Fujiki (藤木) stop. For the timetable of the route, you can refer to the light brown table HERE. The park is around a 10-minute walk from the bus stop

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

Ringyō Shikenjō Jumoku Park (林業試験場樹木公園)

If you are wondering where a good spot for cherry blossom viewing in spring in Hakusan City is, we would definitely say Ringyō Shikenjō Jumoku Park! Among the 900 cherry trees planted, there are around 130 different varieties of cherry blossoms with different colors and shapes of flowers. This is why the cherry blossom season at this park is so long that you get to enjoy the gorgeous flowers from early April all the way to early May!

As the flowers start blooming around 7 – 10 days later than those in Kanazawa, it is also a good backup option if you have found yourself already at the end of the season as you get to the popular tourist destination (^_-)-☆.

And just also want to point out that the spot is actually the fourth most popular place for cherry blossoms in Ishikawa Prefecture!

Apart from the cherry blossoms, there are also camellia, a Japanese garden, and various types of forest areas. Together, more than 15,000 trees of 800 different kinds are in the park. The park is also homes to various wildlife, such as the Japanese Antelope!

The park’s color will start to change from early November, and the autumn foliage season peaks from mid to late November each year.

One thing to note is that bears might be wandering around the park, especially in the early morning. If you see them, leave them to mind their business, they aren’t here to attack us after all.

© 白山市観光連盟

Tip: The temperature in the park is slightly lower. Having a thin jacket may be a good idea.

How to Get to Ringyō Shikenjō Jumoku Park

  • From Hokuriku Railway’s Tsurugi Station (鶴来駅), Community Bus – Megu ̄ru (コミュニティバスめぐーる) Hakusan Route (白山ルート) and get off at Shirayamamachi-naka (白山町中).
    • For the timetable of the route, you can refer to the left table HERE.
  • The stop The park is less than a 20-minute walk away from the bus stop
  • Note that the car park is closed from 5 pm to 8:30 am the next day. It is also closed in winter

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

Tedori Gorge (手取峡谷)

If you are looking for hidden gems in Japan, look no further when you come to Hakusan City. Tedori Gorge is a quiet, beautiful canyon created by the flow of the Tedori River (手取川). The locals are probably just taking this scenic spot for granted, and they haven’t been promoting it. But, it is definitely a place you don’t want to miss out on!

From Kōmon Bridge (黄門橋) and Furō Bridge (不老橋), you will get a dynamic scenery with a clear stream flowing between the cliffs with a height of 20 to 30 meters that continues for about 8 km.

If you are driving, car parks are next to both bridges.

© 石川県観光連盟

Another must-see spot along the gorge is the Wataga Falls (綿ヶ滝) where water falls from a height of 32 meters. You can either choose to see the waterfall from afar from the Watagataki Waterfall Observation Deck (綿ヶ滝展望台) or get to the bottom of the gorge for a close-up view by climbing down the staircases. Note the long and steep staircases are really slippery when wet, so be really careful.

Important: Swimming is prohibited as the flow is faster than it may seem.

How to Get to Tedori Gorge

  • Tedori Gorge is around a 20-minute drive from Shirayamahime Shrine
  • You can also get to the gorge by catching a bus from Hokuriku Railway’s Tsurugi Station (鶴来駅) and getting off at Kōmon Bridge (黄門橋) stop. There are a couple of routes that you can choose from, so please use Google Map if you plan to catch a bus

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

SAM Hakusan Ichirino Ski Resort (白山一里野温泉スキー場)

If you love skiing and happen to be at Hakusan City from December to March, you might want to drop by SAM Hakusan Ichirino Ski Resort. Although it only has six courses/slopes, it is a resort that can accommodate all experience levels.

For more information, please refer to their English pamphlet HERE.

  • The 2021/2022 season was from the 19th of December to the 21st of March from 8:30 am to 5 pm on weekdays
  • The ski resort opens from 8 am on weekends and public holidays.
  • In January and February, it is also open from 4:50 to 9 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
© 白山市観光連盟

The cost for the gondola lift is as below.

  • 4,200 yen for adults for one day (7,400 yen for 2 days)
  • 3,100 for adults for half day
  • 3,500 yen for elderly
  • 3,000 yen for children

For all the experienced hikers, the trailhead of the Kaga Zenjōdō Trail (加賀禅定道) is close to the gondola lift station at the summit. But please note a one-way trip to the summit of Mt. Hakusan will take you around 11.5 hours. So please be fully prepared if you are up for the challenge.

Apart from winter, the gondola lift also operates on weekends and public holidays from the 16th of October to the 7th of November from 9 am to 4 pm. The last lift comes down at 4:30 pm.

How to Get to SAM Hakusan Ichirino Ski Resort

Direct bus services depart from JR Kanazawa Station east exit’s bus stop no. 1 at 7:45 on weekends and public holidays from late December to early March.

Tickets can be purchased from Hokutetsu Ekimae Center / Honkutetsu Bus ticket office (北鉄駅前センター). A one-way cost is 1,320 yen for adults and 660 yen for children.

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

Hakusan Shirakawagō White Road (白山白川郷ホワイトロード)

Hakusan Shirakawagō White Road is a scenic toll road that connects Hakusan City and Shirakawagō. The 33.3 km road is best known for its colorful autumn foliage from October to early November.

As it isn’t opened throughout the year, please refer to our article on Hakusan Shirakawagō White Road for more information about all the stunning spots along the road!

© 白山市観光連盟

Tedori Dam Observation Deck (手取川ダム展望台)

If you are driving, you can also drop by the Tedori Dam that offers a nice lake view from the observation deck.

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

Hakusan Dinosaur Park Shiramine (白山恐竜パーク白峰)

Just a 5-minute drive away from Shiramine Onsen Sōyu (refer to below), Hakusan Dinosaur Park Shiramine is a great attraction suitable for families with young kids. You can enjoy exhibits such as diplodocus skeleton specimens with a total length of over 20 meters, dinosaur era diorama, and fossils of dinosaurs and plants found locally. You can even find your fossil here!

  • The admission fee to the park is
    • 520 yen for adults
    • 200 yen for primary to high school students
  • If you want to do fossil hunting, there will be an extra cost of
    • 550 yen for adults
    • 300 yen for primary to high school students
  • For those who want to stroll around the park and do fossil hunting, the cost will be
    • 850 yen for adults
    • 400 yen for primary to high school students

Hakusan Dinosaur Park Shiramine’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • It is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily except Mondays unless it is a public holiday in which case, it will close on the next business day
    • The last admission is at 4:30 pm
  • The park is closed from late November to late April
  • From Hokuriku Railway’s Tsurugi Station (鶴来駅), take the Hakusan Line (白山線) and get off at Kuwajima (桑島) stop.
    • For the timetable of the route, you can refer to the pink table HERE. Although not listed on the abbreviated timetable, Shiramine is just 3 stops before Hakusan Taikenmura (白山体験村)

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

Shiramine Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings (白山市白峰伝統的建造物群保存地区)

Around Shiramine Onsen (白峰温泉), there are groups of historic buildings that were built from the Edo to Meiji periods. If you ignore the utility poles, the motor vehicles, and the asphalt, it really would feel like you have time-traveled!

If you have seen other traditional houses in Japan, you might notice some differences between the houses here and in other parts of the country.

Because the Shiramine area receives heavy snow in winter, the snow can pile up to over 2 meters. This is why you will find most of the houses at least having two stories, if not three. As such, on the second-floor wall, most buildings have openings that were used as firewood entrances.

While there are no houses that have been renovated into a museum for you to explore the interior fully, you are more than welcome to enter shops and restaurants as customers.

© 白山市観光連盟

In particular, Yukidaruma (snowman) cafe (雪だるまカフェ) is a popular place to visit for the food and also for all the cute snowman goods! Dining in their Japanese-style room with tatami mats flooring on a sunny day is especially enjoyable, with a magnificent mountain view and pleasant breeze blowing into the cafe. But just note the broth they use contains seafood extract.

Quite a few temples here are also designated National Important Cultural Properties that you might be interested in visiting.

Snowman Festival (雪だるままつり)

© 白山市観光連盟

In mid-February, the locals will gather to make hundreds of snowmen and place them across the township. At night, lights will be turned on to create a fantasy-like atmosphere to entertain those willing to come out of the warm and comfortable ryokan rooms.

From 3 pm, temporary stalls serving delicious local specialties will be there to fill and warm you up as well!

In 2020, the event was held on the 14th of February. We will update this article when the date for 2023 is announced.

How to Get to Shiramine Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings

  • From Hokuriku Railway’s Tsurugi Station (鶴来駅), take the Hakusan Line (白山線) and get off at Shiramine (白峰) stop. For the timetable of the route, you can refer to the pink table HERE. Although not listed on the abbreviated timetable, Shiramine is just 2 stops before Hakusan Taikenmura (白山体験村)
  • The area is around a 30-minute drive from Tedori Gorge

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

Shiramine Onsen Sōyu (白峰温泉 総湯)

For those who don’t mind bathing with strangers, make sure you drop by Shiramine Onsen Sōyu Public Bath at the center of Shiramine Village because the hot spring here is going to make your skin so smooth that it has a nickname – Silk Skin Hot Spring (絹肌の湯)!

© 白山市観光連盟

The bathhouse has two indoor and two outdoor pools. Both come with a mountain view with the Tedori River flowing beneath you. Something special about the facility is that the pools are all separated.

The pools aren’t assigned to a particular gender permanently but are swapped weekly. So if you want to indulge yourself in all four pools, you can come back a week later to try out the pools you can’t access the week before (^_-)-☆.

The village’s souvenir shop is located a block behind the public bath, where you can source fresh and processed local produce and craftwork. There is also a restaurant in the same building, but the broth again isn’t vegetarian.

Shiramine Onsen Sōyu’s Opening Hours, Costs, and Access Information

  • The bathhouse is open from noon to 9 pm on weekdays except Wednesdays
    • On weekdays and public holidays, it opens earlier from 10 am
    • If Wednesday is a public holiday, it will close on the next business day
    • It also closes on the 31st of December and the 1st of January
    • The last admission is at 8:30 pm
  • Cost:
    • 670 yen for adults
    • 360 yen for elementary school students
    • 260 yen for children that are 3 years old and above
  • To get to the public bathhouse by public transportation, please refer to Hakusan Dinosaur Park Shiramine (白山恐竜パーク白峰)

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

Mt. Hakusan (白山)

© 白山市観光連盟

Mt. Hakusan, or Mt. Haku (白山) is one of the Top Three Mountains in Japan, along with Mt. Fuji (富士山) and Mt. Tate (立山). With the picturesque and magnificent sceneries along the hiking trails, Mt. Hakusan, with an altitude of 2,702 meters, is a popular hiking destination across different age groups.

For more information, please refer to our article about Mt. Hakusan!

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Hakusan City.

Find out Other Exciting Attractions in Kaga Onsen Region

Kaga Onsen, one of Japan’s best hot springs resorts, has an abundance of nature with promenades for those who fancy a stroll or even a hike into the stunning nature for a getaway from the busy urban lifestyle.

For more information on all the awesome attractions, please refer to our Kaga Onsen article!

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