Comprising four hot spring towns surrounding Mount Hakusan, Kaga Onsen was discovered by visiting monks more than 1,300 years ago. This popular getaway destination boasts spectacular mountain hiking trails and scenic driving routes, together with therapeutic baths.
Things to do in Kaga
Hop between the hot spring towns of Yamanaka, Yamashiro, Awazu and Katayamazu, which all feature a central cluster of public baths. Bathe in the lakeside pools of Katayamazu, relax in the therapeutic waters of Yamanaka’s Kikunoyu bathhouse, then visit Awazu Onsen’s Hoshi Ryokan, the oldest hotel in the world.
Wander through the picturesque grounds of Natadera Temple, founded by a Buddhist monk in 717 AD. Admire the large statue of Kannon and the main shrine that’s been partially built into a cave, then take in the temple complex views from the observation deck of the three-storey pagoda.
Want to climb one of Japan’s most sacred peaks? Embark on the Kanko Shindo trail that leads up the slopes of Mount Hakusan. It follows a ridge that offers sweeping panoramas of the surrounding mountains, with views all the way to the Sea of Japan from the summit’s Shirayamahime shrine.
A short drive east of Kaga takes you to the Hakusan White Road, a winding mountain route that connects Hakusan City to Shirakawa-go. In addition to dramatic views and blazing autumn colours, it’s famed for the 86-metre-tall Fukubeno Otaki waterfall.
Getting around Kaga
Kaga is around five hours by train from Tokyo or 30 minutes’ drive from Komatsu Airport. Kaga Onsen Station is connected to the nearby hot spring towns by a loop bus, but having your own vehicle is best for exploring Mount Hakusan.