More Than Just Kanazawa! 10 Must-Stay Japanese-Style Inns in Ishikawa Prefecture!
Ishikawa Prefecture is located in the Hokuriku region of Japan and is the home of Kanazawa, an ancient city that boasts an atmosphere different from that of Kyoto. While Kanazawa has made quite a name for itself among travelers in recent years, the rest of the prefecture is ripe for exploration, as hot springs surrounded by nature, fresh seafood pulled straight from the ocean, and a hospitable culture cultivated from a history of powerful warlords make it the perfect escape from the path well traveled. In this article, we will introduce some of the best accommodation options around Ishikawa so that you can make the most of what the prefecture has to offer!
Mar 17 2023
10 Must-Stay Hotels in Ishikawa Prefecture
1. Tachibana Shikitei
Tachibana Shikitei was established in 1868 at Yamashiro Onsen, a hot spring resort area with a 1,300-year history. Since its founding, the inn has continued to attract visitors with its unrivaled hospitality that has continued throughout the generations.
Yamashiro Onsen has the distinct honor of winning a gold medal at the International Mineral Spring Exhibition held in Germany during the early Taisho Era (1912-1926), and it is also one of the few hot spring resorts that uses natural hot spring water straight from the source.
The guest room doors are accentuated with Ishikawa’s famous lacquer and open to reveal an elegantly decorated space with handles and vases made from Kutani ware. The solid paulownia wood floors, fresh flower arrangements, and seasonal hanging scrolls are just a few examples of the level of precision and hospitality that can be felt in every aspect of the room. Kaiseki cuisine with seasonal flavors can also be enjoyed right in the room as well.
The hotel was renovated in 2019 to provide a more comfortable and relaxing stay to guests while still retaining the traditional, classic atmosphere. The check-out time is later than usual, at 12:00 pm, allowing guests to relax and take their time without having to rush out the door in the morning.
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Located in Tatsuguchi Onsen, a more secluded area of Kanazawa, Matsusaki is a long-established ryokan inn built back in 1836. The inn was made famous by Kanazawa-born Kyoka Izumi, one of the most prominent literary giants of the Meiji period (1868 - 1912), who frequented the inn and even used it as a setting in one of his pieces of writing. On display in the inn is an inkstone case used by Izumi himself, as well as some paper with his writing on it.
Visitors are first greeted by a vast garden covering an area of nearly 5,000 square meters, and then cross a corridor over a lake filled with gracefully swimming carp to the inn's entrance while taking in the breathtaking views offered by the four seasons.
The guest rooms have been built in such a way that the seasonal beauty of the garden can be viewed from the windows, and the New Wing Hooh offers even fancier accommodations, with all the rooms coming with both natural hot spring outdoor baths and indoor hot spring baths.
The hot spring water is drawn from a natural source that was dug out of the garden, which feeds a large bath, two open-air baths with views of the garden, and a private bath. Tatsuguchi Onsen is a famous hot spring with a history that dates back 1,400 years. The smooth texture of the hot spring water is gentle on the skin and keeps the body warm after soaking.
This inn is also known for its delicious cuisine, so the quality of its dishes goes without saying. It is centered on "kaiseki" course cuisine that uses local ingredients, with the magnificent flavors allowing guests to experience the changing of the seasons through the sense of taste.
3. Kagaya Bettei Matsunomidori
Matsunomidori was originally built as a villa of "Kagaya," a famous ryokan in Wakura Onsen. Here, adults can relax and get away from the busy stress of their daily lives. The interior is decorated with traditional local crafts such as Wajima lacquerware and Kutani ware, and the garden has a tea ceremony room associated with the prominent Maeda family. With all this beauty surrounding you, it will feel as though you are staying in a museum!
The modernly arranged guest rooms still retain their traditional Japanese aesthetics and overlook the calm waters of the scenic Nanao Bay. The hotel was also the first in the Hokuriku region to adopt an "inclusive" concept, which means that the room rates include meals and drinks at the bar or in the rooms' refrigerators, allowing guests a delightful stay free of constraint.
The waters of the 1,200-year-old Wakura Onsen feed into both indoor and outdoor baths, both of which offer panoramic views of the ocean, allowing guests to relax while enjoying the liberating feeling of the seaside.
The dishes are prepared using carefully selected ingredients and techniques cultivated over many years at the famous ryokan Kagaya, and they are remarkable not only for their taste but also for the tableware on which they are served. The beautiful combination of traditional tableware including Kutani ware, Wajima lacquerware, and the inn’s original tableware elevates the dining experience by igniting all five senses.
Founded in 1885, Tadaya in Wakura Onsen is a long-established inn with a venerable history closely connected to the Nabeshima clan (from modern-day Saga Prefecture). The first surprise guests encounter upon checking in is the panoramic view of Nanao Bay from the glass-enclosed lobby. The inn was relocated to its current location 50 years ago in order to allow visitors to enjoy this spectacular view of the ever-changing sea.
Each room has its own charms: there are VIP rooms with private open-air baths and are so close to the ocean that guests can fish from the external corridor, rooms with open-air Jacuzzi baths, and rooms with prime views of the ocean and garden. The ryokan also offers reservation plans that allow guests to dine directly in their rooms. Wakura Onsen is excellent when it comes to water quality and medicinal properties, to the extent that it was selected as one of the "World's Three Best Mineral Springs" at the International Mineral Spring Exhibition held in Germany. Here at Tadaya, you can fully enjoy its rock, cypress, and ceramic open-air baths and private family baths to your heart’s content.
The iconic symbol of Tadaya is the private pier facing Nanao Bay. Whether you take a morning stroll or watch the sunset, the pleasant sea breeze and the sound of the waves are romantic in every sense. It is also possible to fish, so take full advantage of the sea. The kaiseki cuisine served here uses many local ingredients and is known as "Tadaya-style cuisine" due to its unique spin on traditional Japanese cuisine, with many tourists singing its praises.
A two-hour drive from Kanazawa City will bring you to Tsukumo Bay in Noto, which was designated as one of the 100 Most Beautiful Landscapes of Japan. Hyakuraso is located in a beautiful natural setting, surrounded by the sea and mountains.
All the guest rooms overlook Tsukumo Bay, and guests can relax in a tranquil atmosphere while gazing upon beautiful coves whose beauty changes with the seasons. The nine suites are luxurious and spacious, flaunting lavish bedrooms, open-air baths, and terraces.
The baths use deep-sea water pumped up from offshore Tsukumo Bay that is rich in minerals and nutrients and moisturizes the skin. One unique bath is located in a cave, where you can relax while being surrounded by the mysterious light and music and enjoy the scenery of Tsukumo Bay. Another open bath offers panoramic views of the bay.
A popular activity is fishing on a private pier. Whether you are relaxing in your yukata while chatting with others or in serious fisherman mode, you are sure to have a great time. Meals are served in a dining room with a tasteful atmosphere that looms over Tsukumo Bay, where you can enjoy the delectable dishes that make the most of seasonal ingredients in a truly fantastic atmosphere.
6. Kanazawa Hakuchoro Hotel Sanraku
Located at the foot of Kanazawa Castle, Kanazawa Hakuchoro Hotel Sanraku is known for its retro "Taisho Roman" (Taisho romanticism) style atmosphere. The lobby, inlaid with stained glass windows depicting the four seasons of Kaga, is decorated with gold, silver, copper, and brass foil art, Kutani ware lamps, and "Yuzen Roman" drawings made with traditional Kaga Yuzen fabrics.
The sublime Taisho Roman rooms capture the classical essence of Kanazawa and create an elegant atmosphere that lets guests escape from reality. The beds are equipped with mattresses and pillows from airweave, a reputable Japanese bedding manufacturer known for their comfort and support.
One of the highlights of the ryokan is the large natural hot spring, as the natural hot spring water that bubbles up at the foot of Kanazawa Castle is another regional rarity, known for its thick consistency and coffee-like color. It is said to be effective in removing unnecessary keratin from the skin and dirt from the pores. After warming your body, you can’t go wrong with a refreshing hand treatment at the spa.
The restaurant features a range of local flavors, but the highlight is arguably the breakfast. The buffet, which offers a wide variety of Japanese, Western, and Chinese dishes that incorporate fresh local ingredients, has won first place in the Ishikawa Prefecture division of a travel agency's "Breakfast Festival" for four consecutive years.
Popular tourist spots such as Kenrokuen Garden are within walking distance, but if you are unsure of where else to visit in Kanazawa, the knowledgeable concierge will provide you with the latest information along with sightseeing maps and special travel offers.
7. Maki No Oto Kanazawa
Feel the history and charms of Kanazawa at the exclusive Maki No Oto Kanazawa in its Higashi Chaya District. Only four groups a day can stay and enjoy the unprecedented avant-garde cuisine that spectacularly combines local seasonal elements with carefully sourced ingredients from all over Japan.
The private dining room is recommended for those who value privacy, but there is also another counter-style dining option if you are looking to converse with the chef and also enjoy a feast for the eyes. The hotel is also able to introduce guests to Kanazawa's gastronomy as it is partnered with many famous restaurants that are difficult to book and can help guests staying for consecutive nights get reservations. Breakfast is served with smoothies, salads, soups, and other vegetable-rich dishes.
Guest rooms are located in a building separate from the main building of the inn. Available options include tatami mat rooms with separate living rooms and bedrooms, rooms with distinctive lattice doors, and other spacious and comfortable modern Japanese-style rooms.
As is typical of an inn located in a teahouse district, there are also special plans that allow guests to experience a geisha performance and immerse themselves in Kanazawa's culture.
8. Houshi Ryokan
Houshi, which was founded at the same time Awazu Onsen was discovered more than 1,300 years ago, is one of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in the world. It has been run solely by one family for 46 generations, making it a true anomaly. Kobori Enshu, the tea ceremony instructor for the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu, is said to have stayed at the ryokan regularly, which further emphasizes the lengthy history of the hotel.
One of the most prized features of the ryokan is the atmospheric Japanese garden that changes along with the seasons, embellished with elegant trees, rolling hills, a pond where carp play, and crane and tortoise stones that symbolize perpetual youth and longevity. The garden is surrounded by a series of four accommodation buildings, each named after one of the four seasons. The Enmeikaku, a special room made from cypress in a separate building, was built by elite carpenters in the Meiji period (1868 - 1912) and is designated as a Tangible Cultural Property of Japan. It is used by members of the imperial family and distinguished guests from various fields whenever they come to visit.
The large bath is the oldest hot spring in the Hokuriku region and is made of "Shakudani" tuff stone and Indian sandstone to create a softer spring quality. Private baths can also be reserved.
Believing that "dining is one of the best parts of traveling," the long-established ryokan offers kaiseki cuisine that is of unrivaled quality. In winter, a luxurious plan featuring snow crab, the king of Hokuriku's delicacies, is sure to enthrall the palates of all who visit.
9. Noto Kaishu
Noto Kaishu is a new hotel that recently opened in 2021 in the prestigious Wakura Onsen. Many areas of the hotel are comfortably furnished with tatami mats, and relaxing on the lobby terrace overlooking Nanao Bay is a favorite activity among guests.
The standard guest room is a Japanese-Western twin and is equipped with a natural open-air hot spring bath made of Japanese cypress. In addition, you can choose from special rooms, including the three on the first floor facing the ocean, or separate types ideal for families or groups.
There are two large baths: the "Pure Japanese Style Bath" where you can enjoy the sunrise, and the "New Japanese Style Bath," where you can enjoy the sunset. Both offer panoramic views of Nanao Bay, allowing you to compare the different ocean scenery at different times of the day.
There are three different types of private open-air baths: cypress, rock, and ceramic. If available, they can be used without a reservation. Another nice touch is that after taking a soak, you can relish an ice pop at night, or milk or "amazake" (sweet drink made from fermented rice) in the morning.
Music plays in the background of the restaurant, and you can enjoy gorgeous seasonal kaiseki cuisine while reveling in Kaga traditions. If you feel your tummy rumbling late at night, try the "Yonaki Soba" (soy sauce ramen) as a midnight snack.
Located in Yamashiro Onsen, one of the Hokuriku region's leading hot springs, Hatori is an onsen ryokan that embraces themes of relaxation, gentleness, and the warmth of nature. Various artworks are displayed throughout the inn, making it a fun place to stroll around and explore.
Guest rooms are warm and inviting Japanese-style spaces made of natural materials. A wide variety of room types are available to suit your travel style, from luxurious suites with open-air baths to Japanese-style rooms with nostalgic atmospheres, and even rooms for just one person.
Yamashiro Onsen, also known as the "Crow's Hot Spring" due to a 1,300-year-old local legend in which a crow was found here healing its wounds in the hot spring, has been beloved by many prominent figures. At Hatori, you can soak in two large baths, one made of natural cypress and the other of stone. Wash away the fatigue of your trip by bathing in the open-air bath, as well as the sauna and Jacuzzi. After taking a bath, you can enjoy free gelato available in the lobby.
For dinner, you can feast on creative kaiseki cuisine that is served in a dining room decorated with natural materials such as wood and bamboo. It is best when paired with a glass of local sake.
You’ll need reservations while in Japan. See our writers’ top picks!
Experience the Wonders of Ishikawa Prefecture at These Ryokan
There is much more to Ishikawa Prefecture than just Kanazawa, including numerous inns with unbeatable charms. Most areas are only about an hour away from Kanazawa, so if you combine your visit with Kanazawa, you’re in for an unforgettable time!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.