Katayamazu Onsen – The Town That Overlooks The Mighty Mt. Haku

Katayamazu Onsen ((片山津温泉)) is a small onsen town created by the reclamation of part of Lake Shibayama (柴山潟) during the Meiji Period (1868 – 1912). The biggest appeal of the town is the stunning view of Mt. Haku or Mt. Hakusan (白山) being reflected on Lake Shibayama on a clear sunny day, which visitors can admire while strolling or cycling on the promenade around the lake. If you are spending a whole day in Katayamazu Onsen, remember to check the colour of the lake throughout the day as the colour of the lake changes dramatically seven times a day (depending on the weather)!

Summer is probably the most lively time of the year in Katayamazu Onsen with various festivals held one after another. The fireworks that are launched at the lakeside are what a lot of tourists around the country come to Katayamazu Onsen for (other than the onsen of course). In winter, migratory birds from Siberia can be spotted resting around the lake.

Below is a list of attractions in Katayamazu Onsen.

Apart from the access information to each of the attractions below, for more detailed information about the transportation in the Kaga region and discount tickets, please refer to our Kaga City article.

Katayamazu Onsen’s Cherry Blossom Season

The cherry blossom season at Katayamazu Onsen is usually from early to mid-April each year. If you happen to be at the onsen town in spring, definitely head to the below places for the stunning national flower of Japan!

  • Shibayama Gatakohan Park (柴山潟湖畔公園) next to the Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice
  • Aizenji Temple

Lake Shibayama Cruise (山津温泉屋形船)

©石川県観光連盟

Board the boat for a cruise around Lake Shibayama if you want to get closer to the giant water fountain in the middle of the lake and/or get a photo of the Ukimi-dō Hall (浮御堂) that seems as though it’s floating on the lake.

And if you happen to be at Katayamazu Onsen in summer, the cruise is a must to enjoy the fireworks are launching into the nighttime sky during summer festivals!

Lake Shibayama Cruise’s Operating Hours, Costs, and Fireworks

  • Reservation and check-in is at Kappa-Dō (かっぱ堂) close to the pier
  • The daytime cruise is operating on weekends and public holidays from the end of April to the end of September
    • Sundays and public holidays: from 10 am to 3 pm
    • Saturdays and during Obon Festival in mid-August: from 2 to 5:30 pm
    • You can refer to their operating calendar HERE for the exact dates that the boat will be running
    • The departure time isn’t set. You might need to wait for up to 30 mins if there is a queue
  • There are two services each day at night for the illumination on the lake at 8:15 pm and 9:15 pm from the end of April to the end of September. Please book your seats by 5:30 pm and arrive 15 mins before the departure time.
    • When the fireworks are on, there will only be one service departing at 8:45 pm. Please reserve your seat by 5 pm for check in between 8 and 8:30 pm
  • The 30 mins cruise will normally cost 800 yen. Firework cruises will cost 1,500 yen for adults and 1,000 yen for children

Fireworks at Lake Shibayama in Summer

In 2021, from the 1st to the 29th of August, fireworks will be launched at Lake Shibayama from 9 pm for around 10 minutes.

©石川県観光連盟

How to Get to Lake Shibayama

From JR Kagaonsen Station (加賀温泉駅), take one of the bus services below:

  • Kaga Tour Bus – CANBUS (加賀周遊バス キャン・バス)’s sea route (海まわり) or Komatsu Airport route (小松空港線) and get off at Katayamazu Onsen Yunomoto Park (片山津温泉・湯の元公園)
  • Kaga Onsen Bus (加賀温泉バス)’s Onsen Katayamazu Line (温泉片山津線) from JR Kagaonsen Station west exit’s bus stop no. 1 and get off at Katayamazu-go Ku (片山津5区). The bathhouse is less than 5 mins walk from the bus stop
    • For the service’s timetable, please refer to the timetable on the lower-left corner of the website HERE
    • A one-way trip will cost you 250 yen

Giant Water Fountain at Lake Shibayama (柴山潟巨大噴水)

At the centre of Lake Shibayama lies one of Japan’s biggest water fountains. The water ejecting out can reach as high as 70 metres.

The water fountain show is scheduled on an hourly interval from 7 am to 9 pm, and extra shows also start at 5:30 pm, 8:30 pm, and 9:30 pm. In July and August, the show will also be on at 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm.

If you are planning to cruise on the lake, time your boarding time so you get to experience all that Lake Shibayama has to offer!

Ukimi-dō Hall (Uki Uki Benten) (浮御堂(うきうき弁天))

At the end of the pier of Lake Shibayama lies the small worship hall that enshrines Benten (the goddess of music, wealth, and water) and the dragon god who looks after the lake.

Photo from photo-ac.com

According to local legend, the dragon god used to be an eight-headed giant serpent that attacked villagers at night. Responding to villagers’ prayers, the Healing Buddha sent Benten to transform the serpent into a dragon god by the melody from her Japanese lute and ordered the dragon to become the guardian god of the village. Soon after the dragon god went back into the lake water, a hot spring was found springing forth from Lake Shibayama, which brought such fortune to the locals that they built the worship hall as a display of appreciation.

Light-up events are held each night here and also at the water fountain for you to enjoy your nighttime stroll even more!

Kaga Katayamazu City Spa (片山津温泉 総湯)

If you ever wonder what the modern glass-panelled building standing at the side of Lake Shibayama is, it is the public bathhouse of Katayamazu Onsen.

The bathhouse that went through a complete renovation and re-opened in 2012 has an appearance that is totally different from our Japanese bathhouse stereotype. Designed by Yoshio Taniguchi (谷口吉生), who has architectural works internationally, the onsen pool that has a lake view was designed for you to feel like you’re bathing in Lake Shibayama itself!

©石川県観光連盟

The other onsen pool, facing a dense garden, was designed for people to have an illusion of bathing in a forest.

As their onsen pools aren’t divided into two separate sections, to let both genders experience the onsen, the pool in front of the lake – Kata no Yu (潟の湯) is female-only on days with an odd number. On days with an even number, it will be male-only.

If public bathing isn’t your type of thing, head to their Machi Cafe (まちカフェ) on the second floor to relax on the outdoor terrace with a panoramic view of Lake Shibayama (^_-)-☆.

Tips: The facility is also popular amongst the locals. We will advise you not to utilise it if it is crowded or you might need to wait for a shower space and/or hairdryer.

Important: Toiletries and towels aren’t provided free of charge.

Kaga Katayamazu City Spa’s Opening Hours, Costs, and Access Information

  • The onsen pool is opened from 6 am to 10 pm
  • The cafe is opened from 10 am to 5 pm daily except Thursdays
  • The cost is 460 yen for anyone who is 12 years old and above, 130 yen for those who are between 6 and 11, and 150 yen for kids between 3 and 5

From JR Kagaonsen Station (加賀温泉駅), take one of the bus services below:

  • Kaga Tour Bus – CANBUS (加賀周遊バス キャン・バス)’s sea route (海まわり) or Komatsu Airport route (小松空港線) and get off at Katayamazu Onsen Sōyu (加賀片山津温泉 総湯)
  • Kaga Onsen Bus (加賀温泉バス)’s Onsen Katayamazu Line (温泉片山津線) from JR Kagaonsen Station west exit’s bus stop no. 1 and get off at Katayamazu Onsen Sōyu-mae (片山津温泉総湯前). The bathhouse is just one min walk from the bus stop
    • For the service’s timetable, please refer to the timetable on the lower-left corner on the website HERE
    • A one-way trip will cost you 250 yen

Hanayakata (芸妓検番 花館)

Hanayakata, just two blocks away from the City Spa, was completed in 1920 for geisha and maiko to practice their traditional performance art skills. As there are currently no geisha or maiko in Katayamazu Onsen, the facility is utilised as space for workshops such as tofu making and cloth dyeing. There is also a cafe serving delicious traditional desserts!

Photo fromKAGA旅・まちネット

What is worthwhile to mention is the water that is used to make the tofu and the dyeing material are all sourced from Lake Shibayama. The completed tofu will therefore contain more minerals and calcium that makes it healthier and different from the tofu you have had so far!

  • Tofu making
    • The workshop is from 10 am to 4 pm
    • It takes around 20 minutes for the activity
    • The cost is 500 yen
  • Clothes dyeing
    • The workshop is from 10 am to 4 pm with a lunch break from 12 to 1 pm
    • It takes around 40 to 90 minutes depending on the cloth that you chose to dye
    • The cost is 1,000 yen for handkerchief dying and 2,000 yen for scarf dying
    • The material of the cloth is 100% silk

Hanayakata’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The facility/cafe is opened from 9 am to 5 pm daily except Thursdays

From JR Kagaonsen Station (加賀温泉駅), take one of the bus services below:

  • Kaga Tour Bus – CANBUS (加賀周遊バス キャン・バス)’s sea route (海まわり) or Komatsu Airport route (小松空港線) and get off at Katayamazu Onsen Sōyu (加賀片山津温泉 総湯). The facility is a 2 mins walk from the bus stop
  • Kaga Onsen Bus (加賀温泉バス)’s Onsen Katayamazu Line (温泉片山津線) from JR Kagaonsen Station west exit’s bus stop no. 1 and get off at Katayamazu Onsen (片山津温泉). The facility is just one min walk from the bus stop
    • For the service’s timetable, please refer to the timetable on the lower-left corner on the website HERE
    • A one-way trip will cost you 250 yen

Aizenji Temple (愛染寺)

Located on a hill close to Lake Shibayama, Aizenji Temple is where the Healing Buddha – Yakushi Nyorai (薬師如来) who sent Benten to save the village is enshrined. It is a great spot for a wide view of the town, Lake Shibayama, and Mt. Haku from afar on a sunny day.

Since 2015, the temple, however, is best known for its heart shape ema (wooden plaque). Aizenmyōō (愛染明王), the god that is enshrined at its Gomadō Hall (護摩堂) is in charge of marriage ties. The ema at Aizenji Temple differs from ema elsewhere in Japan in that the plaque comes with two parts. The red heart in the middle of the plaque is removable. So you first write your prayer at the back of the heart, then fit it into the ema frame like fitting a puzzle while sincerely praying in your head before hanging it at the designated area at one side of the temple.

If you like glass art, check out the stained glass at the Gomadō Hall. Glass art is also found at the ossuary of the temple. A unique piece of hand-drawn glass painting decorates the door of each shelving unit that stores each individual’s remains.

Tips: The staircases leading to the gate can be tiring to climb. If you have a car, you can drive all the way up (there is a car park at the temple), or, walking at the side of the driveway should be less tiring (but watch out for the traffic).

Lanterns Floating (燈籠流し) at Lake Shibayama

Photo fromKAGA旅・まちネット

On the 16th of August each year at the end of the Obon Festival, a lantern floating event is held by the temple at Lake Shibayama at night, making it another nice summer event at Katayamazu Onsen. The lanterns are floated from the cruising boat, so if you are interested, don’t forget to reserve y our spot during the day (^_-)-☆. The event usually starts at 8 pm, but please confirm with the cruise ticket office when you visit.

Important: Whether you are just enjoying the event from the lakeshore or actually floating a lantern yourself, remember to apply insect repellant. You really don’t want to be attacked by the bugs that are particularly active in the area at night.

Aizenji Temple’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The temple is opened from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • From Katayamazu Onsen Sōyu (加賀片山津温泉 総湯) bus stop, it is a 5 mins walk (may take longer depending on how fast you climb the stairs)
  • From Onsen Katayamazu Line (温泉片山津線)’s bus stop – Katayamazu Onsen (片山津温泉), it is a 3 mins walk

Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice (中谷宇吉郎雪の科学館)

©石川県観光連盟

For those who are passionate about scientific museums, remember to drop by Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice when you visit Katayamazu Onsen.

Even if you don’t understand the Japanese explanation of how artificial snow and ice crystals are made, you should be able to have fun browsing through the images and illustrations in the display area.

And, what is more interesting is you can become a scientist in their ice crystal zone, creating your very first ice pendant! In their experiment zone, you will see how diamond dust can be created artificially as well (=゚ω゚)ノ.

For more information about the museum, please refer to their English website HERE. Whilst it doesn’t provide as much information as to their Japanese website, it is still useful.

Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The museum is opened from 9 am to 5 pm daily except Wednesdays unless it is a public holiday
  • The last admission is at 4:30 pm
  • The admission fee is 560 yen for high school students and above and 280 yen for anyone who is above 75 years of age

From JR Kagaonsen Station (加賀温泉駅), take one of the bus services below:

  • Kaga Tour Bus – CANBUS (加賀周遊バス キャン・バス)’s sea route (海まわり) or Komatsu Airport route (小松空港線) and get off at Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice (中谷宇吉郎雪の科学館)
  • Kaga Onsen Bus (加賀温泉バス)’s Onsen Katayamazu Line (温泉片山津線) from JR Kagaonsen Station west exit’s bus stop no. 1 and get off at Yuki no Kagakukan-mae (雪の科学館前). The museum is just one min walk from the bus stop
    • For the service’s timetable, please refer to the timetable on the lower-left corner on the website HERE
    • A one-way trip will cost you 250 yen

Sabo Misho (実生)

Sabo Misho is a Japanese tea maker since 1863. It is not only a place where you can taste delicious seasonal Japanese sweets – you can also take a look at their tea leaf factory that is just next to the cafe.

In their gallery, various kinds of cultural related exhibitions such as flower arrangements are on periodically.

Important: If you are interested to see the inside of their factory, come on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday morning or you will have to book a time slot with them in advance.

Sabo Misho’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The cafe is opened from 10 am to 12 pm with the last order at 11:30 am and from 1 to 4:30 pm with the last order at 4 pm
  • The cafe is closed on Wednesdays. If Wednesday is a public holiday, it will close on Thursday instead
  • It is a 15 mins walk from JR Iburihashi Station (動橋駅) or around a 30 mins walk from Lake Shibayama

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *