Journey in the Deep Noto

#1
Journey in Noto peninsula. This is a kind of bicycle tour I have been longing for since I started riding a bicycle. I basically followed the route described in the book, Cycling Japan by Takashi Niwa : 10 of the best rides. I did the coast-to-coast ride also according to the book last May. I trust his presentation and have not been deceived so far.
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During the trip, I tried to choose the road as close to the coast line as possible all the way, visiting small rustic fishery villages. It is told this area is sometimes deemed to show the original Japanese scenery. This four days journey turned out to be the best of the best to me. I admit I expressed the same note for the last coast-to-coast trip but this time I would say this one is better than the last one in terms of traditional beauty of the rustic fishery villages along the coast line.

It was 410 km from Kanazawa city in Ishikawa pre. to Himi city in Toyama pre. I spent four days for this.

Day 1. I arrived at Kanazawa city by Shinkansen and express train around 11:00AM September 6. Soon after passing the busy city, I used a bike path along the ocean. But this route is boring. It is along the ocean but unfortunately I could not see the ocean. It runs along the high way or behind the wind break forest. You may want to ride rather inland where you will enjoy nice quite country road. After 45Km ride, typical ocean side road with small fishery villages start. I see almost no traffic along the ocean. The first day was over at Shiga town. 85Km from Kanazawa station and 500m climb

Day 2. Riding the same type of ocean road, I was able to encounter many small villages where same type of houses is lining along the small road. Its roof is covered by traditional black tiles. It is shining. Its wooden wall is painted in dark brown. It looks very simple but shows Japanese beauty.
After riding 20km, turnoff was there. One is the normal route to Wajima city, the major city in Deep Noto, and the other is heading toward the ocean. I unsuspectingly chose the latter direction toward the ocean since this was my policy for this trip. However, this route gave me hard time twice. Soon, the road headed toward the hill. There was no road along the ocean. I was unexpectedly forced to climb up 300m. But this 300 m climb gave me enough reward to view the whole picture of the ocean and coast line. After riding down to the ocean again, comfortable ride continued 10 km, visiting some small villages again. This route was the best since no traffic comes into this area.
This comfortable ride did not continue for a long time, I noticed the road again climbing up toward the hill. This again gave me another 300m climb. My GPS did not show any road but I kept going forward the steep narrow road since this is the only choice. Unfortunately I found the road discontinued after climbing down about 3km!!!! So, I had to climb up again the same route for 3 km and found alternate road toward a local road that connects to the ocean. This hardship rewarded me with another beauty of the ocean and traditional Japanese villages.
Passing through the Wajima city, I rode along the ocean all the way to Rokugou area, checking in a small ryokan in front of the fishery harbour.
120km ride and 1800m climb in total.

Day 3. Ocean side road continues. The weather is just perfect for bike riding all the way. It is not too hot not too cold.
Passing the city of Anamizu, I noticed the traffic is getting heavy, seeing pleasure boats instead of fishing boats in a cove. Houses are painted in a different color. This means the end of the Deep Noto. I checked in a traditional city ryokan in Nanao city.
170km ride and 1300m climb.

Day4. Initially I planned to go further to Niigata pre but decided not to go any further and decided to go back home. I wanted to keep the mental image on the Deep Noto as much as possible, not being disturbed by city traffic.
From Nanao city, I rode to Himi city 40Km to take a local train.

The Deep Noto was just a healing area.

Minoru Arai
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#2
Thanks for the report and pics, Minoru.

Have fond memories of Noto as my wife and I went on our honeymoon there many years ago (although by train, bus and foot rather than bike!), taking the small train from Wakura to Wajima, and then following the coast around.

I think we have a picture of the 千枚田 taken from exactly where you're standing here:

DSCN2681.jpg
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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#3
Great report Minoru. How much "hotaru ika" did you eat? Noto really is a nice place to cruise around but my personal favorite is Shimokita Peninsular. Less tourists and so more serene scenes. If you get the chance come on up.
 
#4
Thanks for the report and pics, Minoru.

Have fond memories of Noto as my wife and I went on our honeymoon there many years ago (although by train, bus and foot rather than bike!), taking the small train from Wakura to Wajima, and then following the coast around.

I think we have a picture of the 千枚田 taken from exactly where you're standing here:

DSCN2681.jpg

Phil

It is nice to know you have been to Noto. The rail road you took to Waijima is not there anymore.

Minoru Arai
 
#5
Great report Minoru. How much "hotaru ika" did you eat? Noto really is a nice place to cruise around but my personal favorite is Shimokita Peninsular. Less tourists and so more serene scenes. If you get the chance come on up.
kiwisimon, YES, Shimokita is one of the area I would like to visit in the future. It is also presented in the book I use for planning and seems a good place to ride a bike.

Minoru Arai
 

kiwisimon

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#6
kiwisimon, YES, Shimokita is one of the area I would like to visit in the future. It is also presented in the book I use for planning and seems a good place to ride a bike.

Minoru Arai
let me know when you are coming up, i would like to cruise along with you.
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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Kanazawa
#8
Minoru,

Hello again! From your description of your ride here I guess that must have been you that I crossed paths with about 12-15km west of Wajima--that's where I was too on the morning of the 7th. While I was going towards Noroshi-dai, it sure seemed like you were heading the other way (towards Wajima)...? That was a really nice high-five wave that you gave.

I was on the bike mid-way thru this series of pics: (click on the album)
http://web.me.com/john_dennis/Noto_bike_trip/My_Albums/My_Albums.html
Also, red/yellow helmet and blue-white checked shirt.

Mine was a five-day loop: Kanazawa > Togi-machi > Wajima > Mitsuke-jima > Togi-machi > Kanazawa ((95-72-70-90-96 =423km))

...
Day 1. I arrived at Kanazawa city by Shinkansen and express train around 11:00AM September 6. Soon after passing the busy city, I used a bike path along the ocean. But this route is boring. It is along the ocean but unfortunately I could not see the ocean. It runs along the high way or behind the wind break forest. You may want to ride rather inland where you will enjoy nice quite country road. After 45Km ride, typical ocean side road with small fishery villages start. I see almost no traffic along the ocean. The first day was over at Shiga town. 85Km from Kanazawa station and 500m climb
+1 on these comments. The bike path (which starts in Uchinada) is boring, and it's often got weeds coming out of the cracks. Also, there are maybe a half-dozen places that it's sanded up enough that you have to walk your bike thru. There are a few good stretches, but not enough to make it worth it. It all adds up to a pretty slow pace.

NOTE: A pretty good course in/out of Kanazawa is route 162, which starts in Uchinada at the very obvious Sunset Bridge (very near the medical college)--cross the bridge towards Noto and just keep going straight. Still not scenic, but you can get up the coast to the scenery faster. Route 162 goes to about Kango Daigaku (県立看護大学). From there to Hakui the trick is to follow small roads while keeping between two big ones (the toll road on one side, and 249/159 on the other). Still, to get thru Hakui-shi itself, about 10km on 249 is worth putting up with. About a km across the river, there's an intersection called Yanaida-shinbo (柳田新保), make a left there towards the ocean and follow the road and you'll pretty naturally come back upon the bike path. I think this may be about where you say "After 45km ride," things get better. This section runs about 10km to where I picked up route 36. (The bike path does run almost to Togi-machi, but the roads are preferable.)

Day 2. Riding the same type of ocean road, I was able to encounter many small villages where same type of houses is lining along the small road. Its roof is covered by traditional black tiles. It is shining. Its wooden wall is painted in dark brown. It looks very simple but shows Japanese beauty.
After riding 20km, turnoff was there. One is the normal route to Wajima city, the major city in Deep Noto, and the other is heading toward the ocean. I unsuspectingly chose the latter direction toward the ocean since this was my policy for this trip. However, this route gave me hard time twice. Soon, the road headed toward the hill. There was no road along the ocean. I was unexpectedly forced to climb up 300m. But this 300 m climb gave me enough reward to view the whole picture of the ocean and coast line. After riding down to the ocean again, comfortable ride continued 10 km, visiting some small villages again. This route was the best since no traffic comes into this area.
This comfortable ride did not continue for a long time, I noticed the road again climbing up toward the hill. This again gave me another 300m climb. My GPS did not show any road but I kept going forward the steep narrow road since this is the only choice. Unfortunately I found the road discontinued after climbing down about 3km!!!! So, I had to climb up again the same route for 3 km and found alternate road toward a local road that connects to the ocean. This hardship rewarded me with another beauty of the ocean and traditional Japanese villages.
Thru and after Togi it's 249 till Monzen (門前), where 249 turns inland. After a few km route 38 diverges to the left. Good choice, but while your dead-end at Minatsuki (皆月) was unfortunate, that is also probably the most remote, deepest, untouched part of the peninsula. Congratulations for getting there. (The tour de noto instead goes direct to Wajima on 249, and so skips one of the best sections of coastline.)

On maps the road down to Minatsuki is marked as route 266, but the corner/intersection of 38 and 266 is *not* marked with route numbers--just place names. As Minoru says, there is quite a bit of climbing to this corner (very hard on a road bike, luckily I was on mtn gearing), and you lose all that elevation by going down to Minatsuki. (Tho an overnight might be possible there. A youth hostel is on my maps--I don't know it's status.) At this corner (38 and 266), I chose the road to Ozawa (大沢 or 上大沢), down out of the mountains to the coast. From there to Wajima is a series of maybe four up-downs. Extremely beautiful.

Passing through the Wajima city, I rode along the ocean all the way to Rokugou area, checking in a small ryokan in front of the fishery harbour.
120km ride and 1800m climb in total.

Day 3. Ocean side road continues. The weather is just perfect for bike riding all the way. It is not too hot not too cold.
Passing the city of Anamizu, I noticed the traffic is getting heavy, seeing pleasure boats instead of fishing boats in a cove. Houses are painted in a different color. This means the end of the Deep Noto. I checked in a traditional city ryokan in Nanao city.
170km ride and 1300m climb.

Day4. Initially I planned to go further to Niigata pre but decided not to go any further and decided to go back home. I wanted to keep the mental image on the Deep Noto as much as possible, not being disturbed by city traffic.
From Nanao city, I rode to Himi city 40Km to take a local train.

The Deep Noto was just a healing area.

Minoru Arai
Minoru, we diverged at Anamizu, you headed south on 249, I took 50 & 51 across the center to Togi. If that was in fact you that I waved at, I'm sorry I didn't realize we were headed in the same direction.

John D.
 
#9
John


What a coincidence that TTCer was in the same area! But I doubt the one you met is me.

I did meet with a guy in the area and waved to him but he was heading toward west from Wajima and riding on a road bike, not mtb. Maybe you met with that guy. Anyway, I believe that area is really deep and no tourists would come into at all. Actually I met with two other persons who ride on a road bike during the trip. It is only three in total.

Thank you for your comments. I agree with yours regarding with the routes in west of Wajima. It is really nice area.


Minoru Arai