Oku-Noto, Ishikawa, Japan: Where art and culture meets unique heritage
If you’re into art, culture and learning about unique traditions, then the northernmost part of
central Japan’s Noto peninsula is the place for you. From the cities to the coast, it really has it all
Tradition, nature and great food abound in this northern part of Japan’s Noto Peninsula, where verdant natural landscapes meet a rich vein of art and culture all along some of the country’s most iconic, beautiful and history-packed coastline.
While at first this is a place that seems remote, rugged and isolated by modern standards – its biggest city, Suzu, is home to a mere 15,000 people, after all – as soon as you arrive, you’ll realise that you’re in a bustling hub of contemporary culture that’s just waiting to be explored.
While you’re there, you’ll be able to experience everything from celebrations laden with feasts and giant lanterns, to the area’s amazing and distinctive cuisine, which – like all aspects of life in Oku-Noto – comes as the result of several hundreds of years of various traditions and cultures passing through this outpost in the centre of the country’s main island of Honshu.
Thanks to this unique blend of cultures and traditions, the Noto region is now known as the Festival Peninsula. Head to the city of Suzu at its northernmost tip between early September and late October for its famous Village Festival, which celebrates harvest with a different festival for 50 days in each of city’s ‘villages’.
Alternatively, if you fancy getting your head around some of the more contemporary art coming out of the region, visit the new Suzu Triennale, which celebrates artists from Oku-Noto, Japan and further afield, across the city every third year. And if you can’t wait till the next triennial in 2020, there’s a different festival every month from April to October so you’ll never miss out on the action, no matter when you decide to head across and visit.
Of course, if you’re all about seeing the sights and getting your foodie fix, Oku-Noto is packed to the rafters with flora and fauna from both eastern and western Japan, making it a truly unique place to see, and for great chefs to use as their larder.
Because Oku-Noto is the point where warm and cold currents meet in the ocean, nothing is more famous in this region than its seafood, and fishing is deeply rooted in its culture. So whether you fancy fresh fish or something a little more adventurous, make sure you come to Oku-Noto hungry.
Wondertrunk & Co's goal is to bring lesser-known parts of Japan into the global spotlight. They combine local voices with those of foreign travelers to transform these regions into destinations the whole world can enjoy. If this whets your appetite for Japanese adventures, read about Iriomote Island and Eastern Hokkaido, or head to wondertrunk.co for more info.