Experience Work and Culture at the Noto Satoyama-Satoumi Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System

Within Ishikawa, there are areas that standout from the gorgeous city of Kanazawa. In the Noto Peninsula, which protrudes into the Sea of Japan, there are many untouched landscapes that seem to have left Japan behind somewhere in the past. Experience the traditions and the culture handed down and protected by the people working in harmony with nature at Noto’s Satoyama-Satoumi, which was registered as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) in 2011.

Working to enjoy nature’s bounty

Savor the bounty from the terraced rice fields at Shiroyone-Senmaida, where you will experience the way of life of people from Noto

Shiroyone-Senmaida in the north of the Noto peninsula is known as the highlight of Noto’s beautiful Satoyama-Satoumi. Undoubtedly, the symbol of Satoyama-Satoumi is the sight of the 1004 small rice fields that line the slopes of the mountain irrigated by water that flows into the Sea of Japan. In all four seasons, you will enjoy amazing scenery arising from the connection between man and nature, including the sky reflected in the water in spring, the beautiful contrast between the greenery and the sea in summer, the golden ears of rice in fall, and the sparkling illuminations in winter.

These terraced rice fields have been formed in an environment that has abundant mountain spring water where level ground is scarce. The difference in height between each of these small fields was reduced in order to prevent frequent landslides. Shiroyone-Senmaida, which has survived until today after going through numerous natural hardships, is an area where you can get to know how the people of Noto live while confronting the nature around them. Savor the natural bounty as you enjoy the view after buying an onigiri (rice ball) made from the rice of Shiroyone-Senmaida from the nearby roadside station.

Shiroyone-Senmaida

Address:
Shiroyonemachi, Wajima, Ishikawa;
Tour:
Free, Open all year;
TEL:
+81-768-23-1146 (Wajima Tourist Information)

Roadside Station Senmaida Pocket Park

Address:
99-5 Ha, Shiroyonemachi, Wajima;
Hours:
8:30AM to 17:30PM; Open all year;
TEL:
+81ー768-34-1242

Experience traditional Agehama salt production that remains only at the edge of the Noto peninsula

Agehama salt production, which has been passed down in the Noto region for more than 400 years, is a particularly old method of sea water-based salt production in which people draw water from the sea and scatter it on the salt fields. One of the greatest attractions of Noto Satoyama-Satoumi is that many such unique traditional techniques, farming methods and fishing methods still remain, which was highly regarded when the area was registered on the GIAHS.

Agehama salt production unique to the northernmost part of the Noto Peninsula in Japan can be experienced at the Suzu Endenmura roadside station. Various options are available, from the observation-based course, to the two-hour course in which you will experience drawing sea water, scattering sea water, gathering sand and salt baking, to the full-scale two-day course. The mineral-rich salt that you bake in person on the two-hour and two-day courses can be taken home with you. Noto’s Agehama salt production has its origins in the fact that the terrain is unsuitable for subsequent more efficient salt production methods. Although no production process is easy, many people get absorbed in their work by the natural beauty of Satoumi. We hope you will come and experience these spectacular natural blessings.

Suzu Endenmura Roadside Station Salt Making Experience (reservation required)

Address:
1-58-1 Shimizumachi, Suzu, Ishikawa;
Experience fee:
Mini experience course (approx. 30 minutes) Adults 500 yen, Children 450 yen;
Agehama experience course (approx. 2 hours): Adults 2,000 yen, Children 1,000 yen;
Agehama experience two-day course (2 days): Adults/Children 3,500 yen;
Opening period:
from May 1 to September 30; Open everyday during the opening period;
TEL:
+81-768-87-2040

Enjoy the sight of traditional fishing methods at Bora-machi Yagura

This amazing structure that the American astronomer Percival Lowell said was “like the nest of a griffin” is a yagura (wooden frame) that has long been used to catch mullet for food. This kind of “endurance fishing,” in which the fisherman waits on the yagura for a school of the cautious mullet to pass by before letting down his net, has been popular in Noto since the Edo period.

Although fishing ceased in 1996, it was enthusiastically revived in 2012 by local people in an effort to retain this precious culture. The Nizaki/Shigaura area of Anamizu offers the opportunity to climb the yagura on the Satoumi Cruise course option, and you can experience mullet fishing from early May to early August. Come and try the original “bora-machi yagura” mullet fishing experience where all you have to do is wait as you come face to face with the amazing nature of Noto.

Anamizu Nizaki/Shigaura Area Satoumi-Satoyama Promotion Council Satoumi Cruise/Bora-Machi Yagura Mullet Fishing Experience (reservations required for both)

Address:
Shinzaki, Anamizu, Hosu, Ishikawa;
Satoumi Cruise fare:
1,000 yen (200 yen charge for the option to climb the bora-machi yagura); Open all year; Inquire in advance regarding Bora-Machi Yagura Fishing Experience fees and dates, etc.;
TEL:
+81-80-3745-1784 (Anamizu Shinzaki/Shigaura Satoumi-Satoyama Promotion Council)

Open all year (may be suspended in stormy weather)

Satoumi Cruise

Fee:
1,000 yen (200 yen charge for the option to climb the bora-machi yagura); Open all year (may be suspended in stormy weather)

Bora-Machi Yagura Fishing Experience

Inquire in advance regarding fees, etc.; Opening period: Early May to early August; Open throughout period (may be suspended in stormy weather)

Discover the Culture and Festivals of Satoyama-Satoumi

Experience the Aenokoto ritual that welcomes the invisible deity of the rice fields

The target for evaluation at the registration of Noto’s Satoyama-Satoumi on the GIAHS included the various cultures and religious festivals regarding farming and fishing. This includes the particularly unique Aenokoto, in which the god of the rice fields is welcomed to one’s home with a meal on December 5, and sent away on February 9. This strictly performed historical ritual that is passed on in the farming communities in the northernmost area of the Noto peninsula is a registered UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Since 2015, tourists have been able to experience Aenokoto and seasonal meals in the “Dining with the Gods Plan” at the Gourokuan thatched home in Yanagida Park in Noto. The invisible god of the rice fields is led to a tatami room, and the dishes are introduced one by one in an impressive one man specialist show that makes it seem like you can see the invisible god. This is an amazing experience that will give you a feel for the deep sense of reverence that the people of Noto have for nature.

Gourokuan Dining with the Gods Plan (Reservation required / Participation in ritual open to persons of junior high school age or older)

Address:
1-1 Ro, Kanmachi, Hosu, Ishikawa prefecture;
TEL:
+81-768-76-1680

Seasonal Banquet

Fee:
5,400 yen;
Dates:
2nd/3rd weekend every month (excluding July and August) ;
Hours:
12PM to 13:30PM

Reserved Banquet

Fee:
Reserved lunch 5,400yen, Reserve dinner 8,640 yen;
Dates:
Available any time, including weekdays (excluding July and August) ;
Hours:
Negotiable

See the Manic “Kiriko Festival” and Pray for Satoyama-Satoumi

Noto has a unique culture that includes many religious festivals, so that the area is known as the “Treasury of Festivals.” The most famous of these is the Noto Kiriko Festival, which was registered as a Japanese Heritage by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 2015. The Kiriko Festival is the name given to the approximately 200 festivals (including smaller festivals) held across the Noto Peninsula between July and October in which a large lantern called a “kiriko” is carried along.

The size of the kiriko varies, from huge, 15-meter kiriko, to smaller ones for child use. The content of the festivals also varies, from the Abare Festival, in which people dance among falling sparks, to the Okinami Tairyou Festival, in which the kiriko is carried into the sea, but all of them are sure to display a manic enthusiasm that builds up the competition between the areas. Many of the various stories about the origins of this festival say that it was developed to pray for an end to serious diseases, or for farming in agricultural communities, or for a good catch in fishing communities. Do not miss this unique worship experience as Satoyama-Satoumi becomes submerged in this manic festival.

Main Noto Kiriko Festivals

July
Abare Festival (Noto)
1st Friday/Saturday
Nanao Gion Matsuri (Nanao)
2nd Saturday
Koji Fire Festival (Noto)
Sunday before the 3rd Monday
Iida Toroyama Festival (Suzu)
20th / 21st
Notojima Mukouda Fire Festival (Nanao)
Final Saturday
Nafune Festival (Wajima)
July 31 to August 1
August
Ishizaki Houtou Festival (Nanao)
1st Saturday
Houryu Tanabata Kiriko Festival (Suzu)
7th
Saikai Festival (Shika)
14th
Okinami Tairyou Festival (Anamizu)
14th/15th
Sosogi Taisai Festival (Wajima)
17th
Wajima Taisai (Wajima)
22nd to 25th
Niwaka Festival (Noto)
4th Saturday
Togi Hassaku Festival (Shika)
End of month (27th/28th in 2016)
 
September
Takojima Kiriko Autumn Festival (Suzu)
10th/11th
Jike Autumn Festival (Suzu)
2nd Saturday
Shoin Autumn Festival (Suzu)
14th/15th
Ogisode Kiriko Festival (Noto)
3rd Saturday/Sunday
Yanagida Taisai (Noto)
16th
 

*The above schedule is for a typical year. For details, please contact the “Noto-no-tabi Information Center” TEL: 0768-26-2555

All Year Long Festival Experience at Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

Even outside the Kiriko Festival season, you can enjoy the atmosphere of the festivals at the Wajima Kiriko Art Museum in Wajima city. A variety of kiriko are on display, including the oldest kiriko in Noto, and you can learn about the development of festivals that are unique to each region.

The afternoon/evening-time atmosphere of the Kiriko Festival is also reproduced using lighting and Japanese orchestral music, which makes it feel exactly like you are at the festival. It is one of Noto’s leading sightseeing spots.

Wajima Kiriko Art Museum

Address:
Marine Town 6-1, Wajima, Ishikawa;
Entrance fee:
General 620 yen, High school students 470 yen, Elementary and junior high school students 360 yen;
Hours:
8:00AM to 17:00PM; Open all year;
TEL:
+81-768-22-7100

Noto Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

60 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 2※

Toyama Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

60 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 4※

Komatsu Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

65 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 4※

From Tokyo Narita Airport

80 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 1※

Chubu Airport

From Tokyo Haneda Airport

65 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 1※

From Tokyo Narita Airport

70 minutes

Number of departures per day: Approx. 2※

*Information correct as of April 27 2016

Details correct as of the end of March, 2016.