The Noto Peninsula.
A place that is not highlighted on many guides is the almost timeless Noto Peninsula (能登半島, Noto Hantō). The area makes up the northern half of the Ishikawa Prefecture, home to the Kyoto-esque Kanazawa city, with the peninsula itself extending about 100 kilometers into the Sea of Japan. The Noto Peninsula is known for its coastal scenery, particularly along the Okunoto Coast and the Kongo Coast, as well as for its rural atmosphere that seems lost to time. It is remote and that is what makes visiting this area difficult on its own as the area’s public transportation is limited, so RideJapan thinks that exploring the area is best done by bike which allows visitors to slow down and escape the hustle and bustle of the usual Japan cities and enjoy a much leisurely pace.
It is the secludedness of the Noto Peninsula that is one of the main features that makes it a destination for top shelf cycling. Small fishing villages give way to beautiful coves, as the coastal road rises and drops. Cyclists are not the first to be drawn to region as it has been an enduring characteristic of the peninsula for hundreds of years. In fact, since the 12th century, when members of the Taira family were banished to the area after their defeat in the Gempei War, a tribute to exile, but one that appeals to the adventurous. Luckily, the residences of some of the family’s descendants, the Tokikuni Residences, have been preserved and are open to the public.
The Noto Peninsula is so good that most of the coastline has been given Quasi-National Park status. This is great for the cyclist as small sections of the coast are marked as “pocket parks”, and those seeking a good adventure are likely to come across some of them while traveling around the area. The peninsula’s two main centers for tourists, Wajima City and Wakura Onsen, provide a relaxed atmosphere different from other cities in Japan. From the fresh seafood, straight from the the idyllic fishing boats nestled on the shore or moored in port, or the tiny paved backstreets that are silent after 6PM, the Noto Peninsula is a place to get away.