Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Komatsu City and Its Stunning Landscape and Craftworks

The name Komatsu probably makes you think of construction sites and a global manufacturing company. And most people might know about Komatsu City (小松市) in Ishikawa Prefecture because of Komatsu Airport and the manufacturing company that has a long presence in it. But you might not be aware that the city boasts beautiful natural landscapes, traditional crafts, and some unique attractions that you might be interested in. So once you land at the airport, instead of catching a direct bus to Kanazawa straightaway, you might want to check out the below attractions first!

Matsubaya (松葉屋)

When you come to Japan, trying at least one of the mouthwatering traditional sweets is a must. At Komatsu, Matsubaya’s Kurimushi Yōkan (栗蒸し羊羹) – Tsukiyomi Yamaji (月よみ山路) is the place to go.

Yōkan is an azuki bean jelly/dessert that can be commonly found in Japan. So what is so special about this Yōkan? Well, it is the chestnut yōkan that both the current and previous Japanese emperors requested when they came to Ishikawa Prefecture! You can easily tell the amount of thought that had been put into the production of the sweet. Carefully wrapped with a washed bamboo skin, the moment you open the packaging, the scent of bamboo will waft through the air!

Cut the yōkan open, and you will find yourself cutting through thick chestnut no matter the direction of your knife. With a mild sweetness, you will finish the whole yōkan in no time!

This is a confectionary that someone who doesn’t normally like sweets might enjoy. So if you are looking for a souvenir that can be shared amongst your colleagues or friends after your trip, this can be the ultimate gift that will make everyone happy!

The sweets sold at Matsubaya can now be bought from a few department stores in big cities as well or online. But what beats coming to their original flagship store that is just a 7-minute walk away from JR Komatsu Station? And if Natadera Temple is on your itinerary, you will want to enjoy the sweets with the beautiful Michelin One Star scenery because the shop started with the samurai who looked after the temple selling yōkan in front of the temple’s gate!

Important: The shelf life of Kurimushi Yōkan (栗蒸し羊羹) – Tsukiyomi Yamaji (月よみ山路) is only 10 days. Other sweets sold at the short also won’t last for too long as they don’t contain any preservatives.

Matsubaya’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • The shop is open from 9 am to 6 pm on most days but will close early at 4 pm on Wednesdays, Sundays, and public holidays
  • The shop won’t be opened from the end of December to the beginning of January
  • Matsubaya is less than a 10-minute walk from JR Komatsu Station (小松駅)

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Rojō Park (芦城公園)

Rojō Park is a Japanese-style park that was renovated from the outermost region (三の丸) of the Komatsu Castle. Not only is it a famous cherry blossom spot in Komatsu, but you will find various kinds of flowers blooming from April all the way to August.

The cherry blossom season at Rojō Park is usually from early to mid-April. At night, the area is lit up with 600 lanterns from 6 to 8 pm, creating a fantastic atmosphere for us to enjoy (*´ω`).

Other than cherry blossoms, there are azalea, wisteria, iris, and many more flowers that can also be seen in the park, making it an ideal spot to find your favorite flowers!

The autumn foliage at Rojō Park is also superb if you come from mid to late November. And when it starts snowing, the Japanese garden in the park is the best place to admire the snowy scenery.

The park is also where Komatsu City’s museum, art gallery, library, and other cultural facilities are concentrated for anyone interested.

How to Get to Rojō Park

The park is just a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute drive from JR Komatsu Station.

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Marufuji Cake House (ケーキハウスマルフジ)

On the side of the highway, this adorable European cottage-style house is a famous cake shop in the region. With so many different kinds of gorgeous cakes on display, how can one resist the urge to have at least one in the dining area in their garden?

If you are coming to Komatsu from May to early July during the melon season, make sure you drop by the cake shop early to grab one of their famous melon cake, which comes with cream and chunks of fresh melon!

For more information on their cake, check out their Instagram!

Marufuji Cake House’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The cake house is open from 10 am to 6 pm from Wednesday to Sunday and on public holidays. You can also refer to their calendar HERE for the exact dates that they are opened (marked in green and yellow)
  • It is a 20-minute walk from JR Komatsu Station

Ataka Sumiyoshi Shrine (安宅住吉神社)

If you are coming to Ishikawa Prefecture by flying into Komatsu Airport (小松空港) and are planning to rent a car at the airport, Ataka Sumiyoshi Shrine can be your first stop.

Just a 5-minute drive from the airport, this shrine’s gods look after people struggling to break through difficulties in their lives.

© photo-ac.com

If you are a Japanese history buff, the shrine should be a place that appeals to you, as this is a spot where Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源 義経) almost got caught at the Ataka Checking Station (安宅関) close by during his escape from his brother’s army. The commander at the checking station, Togashi (富樫), released Minamoto and his party after feeling the loyalty that Benkei (弁慶) has towards Minamoto. After the event, Minamoto visited Ataka Sumiyoshi Shrine to show his appreciation to the god who helped him overcome the obstacle.

Minamoto no Yoshitsune was one of the greatest and the most popular warriors in the late Heian and early Kamakura periods.

© こまつ観光物産ネットワーク

At the back of the shrine where the checking station used to be, you will find the statues of Minamoto, Togashi, and Benkei that were made to describe this historical episode.

On a clear day, it is best to drop by the shrine in the late afternoon. After you have strolled around the shrine and the surrounding area, you can grab a cup of coffee from the cafe nearby and head to Ataka Beach for the nice sunset scenery (^_-)-☆.

Ataka Sumiyoshi Shrine’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The shrine is open from 8:30 am to 5 pm
  • It is a 30-minute walk or 5-minute drive from Komatsu Airport
  • From Komatsu Station (小松駅) west exit’s bus stop no. 4, take the Ataka Line (安宅線) and get off at Ataka no Seki-mae (安宅の関前). Note the number of services is limited, so refer to the timetable HERE to plan

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Ishikawa Aviation Plaza (航空プラザ)

© こまつ観光物産ネットワーク

Ishikawa Aviation Plaza can be your last stop in Komatsu City before heading to Komatsu Airport. If you arrive at the airport too early, you can easily kill time by exploring various kinds of airplanes, including fighter jets and helicopters.

Apart from the free entry, the best thing about this plaza is the flying simulator that All Nippon Airways also use. For just 200 to 500 yen, you can know what it is like to fly an airplane!

Ishikawa Aviation Plaza’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The plaza is open from 9 am to 5 pm but closes from the 29th of December to the 3rd of January
  • It is just a 3-minute walk from Komatsu Airport
  • From Komatsu Station (小松駅) west exit’s bus stop no. 5, take Komatsu Bus’s (小松バス) Airport Line (空港連絡線) and get off at Komatsu Airport (小松空港). Plan ahead with the timetable HERE

Lake Kiba (木場潟)

© こまつ観光物産ネットワーク

Among the five lagoon lakes in Ishikawa Prefecture, Lake Kiba is the most stunning and the only one left in its original natural state.

On a clear day, you might find many photographers at the west of the lake with professional cameras. The reflection of one of the Top Three Sacred Mountains in Japan, Mt. Hakusan (白山), on Lake Kiba is a stunning mirror-like image that is hard to look away from.

Kibagata Park (木場潟公園) that surrounds Lake Kiba is largely divided into four areas that are connected by a well-maintained 6.4 km promenade. As tourists, renting a bike from the south of the park should be a better idea instead of jogging around the lake!

Again from the south of the park, you can also rent out small boats to paddle around the lake. And if you aren’t confident enough about your paddling skills, hop onto one of their sightseeing boats and let your boatman do the hard job for you (^_-)-☆.

  • Sightseeing boats
    • Departing at 9, 10, and 11 am on weekends and public holidays from April to October
    • Cost: 500 yen per person
    • Time required: approximately 20 minutes
    • Services will be suspended during bad weather
  • Bike rental
    • Cost: 200 yen for 1.5 hours for adults, free for children
    • The service is unavailable from the 29th of December to the 3rd of January
  • Boat rental
    • Available from April to October
    • Cost: 310 yen for 20 minutes

The park is also a great place to adore various flowers, including cherry blossoms. Please refer to below for a list of flowers blooming in the park from spring to summer.

  • Cherry blossom: late March to mid-April with light-up event
  • Iris: June
  • Lotus: June to August
© 石川県観光連盟

Roadside Station Komatsu Kibagata (道の駅 こまつ木場潟)

At lunchtime, you can drop by the restaurant at Roadside Station Komatsu Kibagata. The facility, within a 20-minute walk from one side of the park, has a range of fresh local produce and processed specialties at a cheap price. You will also find the menu at their restaurant has more than the other roadside stations in Japan.

If you can’t decide whether you want rice or noodles when you drop by, we would highly recommend their rice dishes because the rice here is just delicious! One thing to note is we haven’t checked with them if the broth/sauce they use is free of animal products. So when you get there, please utilize the phrases in our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans to confirm for yourself (=゚ω゚)ノ.

How to Get to Lake Kiba

  • The lake/park is a 20-minute walk from JR Awazu Station (粟津駅)
  • You can also catch the Smile Kibagata-gō bus (スマイル木場潟号) from JR Komatsu Station (小松駅) and get off at Kibagata Kōen Chūō Enchi (木場潟公園中央園地). The bus ride is about 20 minutes and will cost you 300 yen
    • HERE is a timetable in Japanese. You can use the Japanese characters of the stops to read it
    • 土日祝日 means weekends and public holidays
    • 平日 means weekdays

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Yoshita Bakery (ヨシタベーカリー)

If you are a morning person, before you head to Lake Kiba, grab your breakfast from Yoshita Bakery!

Located in a residential area, you will definitely walk right past it because its appearance looks like an abandoned house (´▽`*). As you get closer to the front door, it will start to feel like you are walking into the world of Ghibli! Take care not to bump into a Totoro somewhere on the property (*´ω`).

The bakery’s interior is of a western cafe blending in with a lot of cozy My Neighbour Totoro elements. With seating on the ground and the second floor, you will wish you could have breakfast here every day!

For a bakery, the most important thing is, of course, its bread and pastries. And for Yoshita Bakery, the taste is guaranteed by how quickly the shelf empties.

By 10 am, even on a weekday, you will find yourself left with only a few choices when you open their aqua blue door. Waiting around won’t do you any good either, as they don’t usually make a second batch!

If you like your bread/pastry warm, a small oven toaster is placed on the floor for you to heat it up. As the oven blends into the surrounding decoration, if you can’t find it, kindly check with the staff where it is put (^_-)-☆.

Also, please utilize the phrases in our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans to confirm for yourself if there is anything in the bread/pastry that you can’t eat when you get there (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Yoshita Bakery’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The bakery is open from
    • 8:30 am to 7 pm on weekdays
    • 7:30 am to 6 pm on weekends
  • From JR Awazu Station (粟津駅), it is less than a 20-minute walk

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Motorcar Museum of Japan (日本自動車博物館)

For those who have a great passion for motor vehicles, check out the 500 classic cars gathered from around the world at the Motorcar Museum of Japan. From the cars that were common in past decades to cars that were used in movies, they can all be found here. There is even a Rolls-Royce Silver Lace made in 1948 in England!

Interestingly, the museum also has 40 unique toilets from 15 different countries for you to pick from when you need a toilet break (´▽`*).

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

Important:
☛ They currently don’t take card payments
☛ You are welcome to take photos, but videos are prohibited
☛ English pamphlets are available, but the explanations around the museum are mainly in Japanese

As a guide, most people spend around 1 – 2 hours in this attraction.

Motorcar Museum of Japan’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily except Wednesdays except for August
    • The last admission is at 4:30 pm
    • It is closed from the 26th to the 31st of December
    • If Wednesday is a public holiday, it will close on the next business day
  • Admission fees:
    • 1,200 yen for senior high school students and above
    • 600 yen for elementary and junior high school students
    • 1,000 yen if you are 65 years old and above (ID required)
  • From JR Kagaonsen Station (加賀温泉駅), take the Kaga Tour Bus – CANBUS’s (加賀周遊バス キャン・バス) mountain route (山まわり) and get off at Motorcar Museum of Japan (日本自動車博物館). For more information about CANBUS, please refer to our Kaga Onsen article

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Yunokuni no Mori Traditional Handicrafts Village (加賀伝統工芸村 ゆのくにの森)

If you find the traditional Japanese handicrafts amazing, how about making one yourself at Yunokuni no Mori Traditional Handicrafts Village?

The spot is the perfect place for craft-making as it has loads of different crafts workshops you can participate in. So whether you like to make your washi paper, soba, or even gold leaf pasting, there is something for everyone!

For more information about the village that you will easily lose track of time, please refer to our article on Kaga Onsen.

Forest of Wisdom – Hiyō Moss Garden (叡智の杜 苔の里)

Especially if you are driving, drop by the Hiyō Moss Garden or Koke no Sato in Japanese on your way to the stunning Natadera Temple. This is another spot that will make you feel like you have entered the world of Ghibli. This time, it is the forest in Princess Mononoke.

Unlike most traditional gardens in Japan, this one features dozens of moss species covering the ground of the cedar forest. Whether it is the moss that likes the sun, moss that likes the shade, and some that are pickier that want a half-shade environment, you can find them all here!

Maintaining a moss garden is actually a lot harder than you think. Removing fallen leaves and weeds day in and day out is certainly not an easy task. So at the entrance, kindly leave a 500 yen coin or 200 yen for primary school students so they can keep up the good work.

The promenade will eventually lead to Hiyō Shrine (日用神社), which sits quietly in this beautiful forest.

Ⓒ こまつ観光物産ネットワーク

In autumn, you will get a view of a beautiful contrast between the green from the moss on the ground and the bright autumn foliage on the trees (^_-)-☆.

A quick stroll will take you around 15 – 20 minutes. But some will spend up to 1 hour here to enjoy its unique atmosphere.

Important: Please note the forest/garden is private property, so please don’t go beyond the area that has “立ち入り禁止” marked.

Forest of Wisdom – Hiyō Moss Garden’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The garden is open from 9 am to 4 pm from late March to mid-December but will be closed on days with bad weather
  • It is a 5-minute drive from Yunokuni no Mori Traditional Handicrafts Village
  • Previously, buses running on the Awazu Line (粟津線) departing from JR Komatsu Station (小松駅) west exit bus stop no. 1 stop at Hiyō Koge no Sato (日用苔の里). But this is not the case in 2022

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Natadera Temple (那谷寺)

Natadera Temple is one of the most picturesque places in Komatsu. Having a Michelin Green Guide star, the scenery on the temple’s precinct is breathtaking!

For more information about this beautiful temple that you will easily lose track of time in, please refer to our article on Kaga Onsen.

Natadera-Pond-Kaga-Onsen-Ishikawa-Japan
© 石川県観光連盟

Hanibe Caves (ハニベ巌窟院)

If you are bored of the same old temples in Japan, here is one that will blow your mind.

As you drive through the country road, a gigantic 15-meter tall Buddha’s head (with shoulders) will suddenly appear on one side of the road. Apparently, this Buddha statue is still a work in progress, and when it is completed, it will be around double the size of the Great Buddha of Kamakura at 33 meters!

Proceeding further up the hill, the entrance of Hanibe Cave is guarded by a Nio Guardian. Be prepared mentally to enter this cave that was once a quarry. Parts of the hell that was explained in the Buddhism Sutra are replicated inside the 150-meter-long cave with various statues of demons, parts of human bodies, and a lot more horror scenes (and the coolness inside the cave only serves to amplify the scary atmosphere).

One of the most horrific parts of the cave is seeing the dinner table of a couple of demons. If you look closely at what is on the plates, you might have a hard time having any meat for your next meal if you aren’t vegetarian already. As you step out of the maze-like cave, a Buddha statue entering Nirvana is there to calm you down.

The cave was first opened in 1951, shortly after the end of World War Two. Worried about the turbulent world, the first owner of the cave continued making more and more Buddha statues wishing for peace and prosperity for humankind. These are the same statues that you see around the caves nowadays.

Hanibe Caves’s Opening Hours, Entry Fees, and Access Information

  • The cave is open from
    • 9 am to 5 pm from April to September
    • 9 am to 4 pm from October to March
  • Entry Fees:
    • 800 yen for adults
    • 500 yen for children
  • From JR Komatsu Station (小松駅), take Komatsu Bus (小松バス)’s Hanibe Line (ハニベ線) and get off at Hanime-mae (ハニベ前). Plan ahead with the timetable HERE.

Tip: You might be able to get one of the discount vouchers for the cave’s entry fee at roadside stations in the city.

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Junigataki Falls (十二ヶ滝)

If you are visiting Komatsu City from April to June and are driving, check out the Junigataki Falls, which are a 15-minute drive away from JR Awazu Station.

As the water from Gotani River (郷谷川) falls down the 5 meters tall disconnected riverbed, the stream is divided into 12 small waterfalls, and therein lies its name (12 waterfalls).

In spring, you will get the most amount of water falling down, making the 36 meters wide waterfall more magnificent. In particular, the pink cherry flowers will make the scenery more stunning in early April. And Koinobori (鯉のぼり) or carp streamers of various colors that are hung above and across the waterfall is another unique scenery in early May.

Also, just 500 meters away from the waterfall, a field of skunk cabbage blossoms in mid-April each year.

Important: Please refrain from dangerous water activities such as diving around the waterfall as there have been multiple unfortunate accidents here. Also, the area around the waterfall basin is deep, so keep away from it.

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Aramata Gorge (荒俣峡)

Aramata Gorge is a hidden scenic gem located in the narrowest part of the valley in the middle of the Ōsugidani River. The quiet gorge usually doesn’t receive many guests as it remains unknown to most of Ishikawa’s residents, making it a great place for anyone who hates being pushed around in the crowd.

The fall foliage season of Aramata Gorge usually is from mid to late November, which sees the gorge become more lively along the 400 meters promenade.

Apart from November, the light green color in April and May is also another reason that motivates people to pay it a visit. And if you need a getaway from the hottest in the middle of summer, this is a great place to chill at (^_-)-☆.

Tip: The popular photo spots are from the two bridges that cross the gorge – Yasuna Bridge (保名橋) and Kajika Bridge (河鹿橋)

How To Get To Aramata Gorge

  • From JR Komatsu Station (小松駅), it is around a 25-minute drive
  • You can also take Komatsu Bus’s (小松バス) Ōsugi Line (大杉線) and get off at Aramata Gorge (荒俣峡). The number of services is extremely limited, so please plan with the timetable HERE

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Otabi Festival (お旅まつり)

Otabi Festival is Komatsu’s biggest festival, and this 3-day event attracts more than 200,000 people. It is the spring festival that is held by both Uhashi Shrine (莵橋神社) and Motoorihiyoshi Shrine (本折日吉神社) that takes place in mid-May each year.

© 石川県観光連盟

For the past 350 years or so, the festival has been best known for Kabuki (a classical Japanese drama) performed by children. Standing on the gorgeously decorated festival floats, their performances are just as professional as those of adults.

Other parts of the festival include a parade with portable shrines, lion dances, and other performances involving traditional instruments and performing arts.

If you are interested in this festival, plan your visit to Komatsu City on the weekend in mid-May. We will also update this article with the exact date for 2022 when it is available. The festival’s venue is just a few-minute walk away from JR Komatsu Station.

Click HERE to get back to the list of attractions in Komatsu.

Find out More Stunning Places to Visit at Hakusan City Next Door

If you haven’t had enough of the amazing natural scenery in Komatsu City, head to Hakusan City next door for some outdoor recreation activities while surrounded by magnificent nature!

For more information, please refer to our Hakusan City article (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Tsuga-no-Mokudai-Hakusan-Shirakawago-White-Road-Ishikawa-Japan
Click the photo to find out how to get to this beautiful place!

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