A Taste of Traditional Japan in a Beautiful Yamanaka Hot Spring Town Kaga, ISHIKAWA 4 Days 5 Nights
  • Day 1
  • Arrive at Kagaonsen Station / Komatsu Airport
At Kagaonsen Station or Komatsu airport, you will be welcomed by a driver, who will drive you to The Kayotei by private car.
*Please book in advance.

*From Kyoto, it is about 1 hour and 45 minutes by limited express train.
*From Tokyo, it is about 1 hour by air.
*You may also come from Tokyo by shinkansen bullet train; this journey takes about 3 hours.

In recent years, the Japanese lifestyle has become increasingly Westernized, and traditional Japan is fading into the background.
However, at a ryokan traditional Japanese inn, the unique aesthetic sense of Japan can still be experienced. Staying at a ryokan is the best way to savor the serene beauty of the traditional Japanese lifestyle.

Check in at The Kayotei

As you pass through the entrance of The Kayotei, you quickly realize that this is a very special Japanese inn. The ryokan is located in the small hot spring village of Yamanaka in Ishikawa Prefecture, which remains much the same as it has been for many years, seemingly untouched by time. The inn is situated amid majestic trees and lovingly nurtured gardens surrounded by thickly forested hills.

~The Artisans & Organic Food Producers Group of The Kayotei~

More than 20 local artisans and craftsmen affiliated with The Kayotei belong to this Ishikawa region group. The members of the group are dedicated to protecting and preserving the ancient culture of Ishikawa and maintaining the traditional production techniques.

They produce any number of products, including natural, chemical-free foods and sake, wooden bowls, washi (Japanese paper), and traditional wooden furnishings, all of which are fundamental to Japanese-style interior design.

All the members are devoted to creating work with compassion and consideration for the user's health. While honoring and respecting tradition, they make products that are gentle to the body. In many cases, their craftsmanship has extended for several generations. The wealth of culture that Ishikawa has conveyed should be further recognized around the world.

As a traditional luxury ryokan, The Kayotei staff see themselves as the inheritors and keepers of the region’s traditions -- as a “vessel to showcase the region that surrounds us.”

The Kayotei offers its guests the opportunity to participate in producing captivating and charming creations firsthand. As you discover new environments, they provide you with the high level of personalized service that one come to expect at Yamanaka Onsen.

Visits to studios and craftmen's workshops can be arranged upon request.
*Advance booking is required.
・Wood turner's studio and private gallery
・Kutani porcelain master’s studio and private gallery
・Japanese Tea Ceremony at a master's private home
・Wooden furniture artist’s studio
・Washi, Japanese paper making studio
・Maki-e lacquerware studio
・Tatami mat maker’s workshop

Food producers
・Matsuura Sake brewery

・Yamanaka Shoyu (soy sauce) brewery

・Wagashi (Japanese sweets) maker
・Tofu maker
・Aigamo (duck) method organic rice farm

・Soba maker
  • Day 2
  • Yamanaka Onsen
In the morning depart for an exclusive tour with the Kayotei management team.

=Private visit to the studio of a takumi -- a highly skilled traditional craftsman=

Satake Lacquerware Studio – A private studio tour to visit wood turner Yasuhiro Satake. The third-generation owner, Satake-san learned his trade from his father, and the family’s fine craftsmanship has been cherished and handed down for 50 years.

Kutaniyaki Porcelain Studio – Yamanaka has developed into one of the most prominent producers of lacquerware in Japan and is especially known for Kutaniyaki porcelain. In the early Edo era, this new kind of porcelain was created in the village of Kutani, Enuma-gun. You will have a chance to visit the private studio of Shigeo Fujisawa.

Kaga Maki-e Studio – Maki-e is a painting technique that uses powder and thin layers of gold, silver and shells combined with lacquer for adorning lacquer boxes, dishes, trays, furniture and many other items, including modern products such as fountain pens and watches. * You can try a maki-e making lesson to produce your own souvenir maki-e.

*Advance booking is required.
*Availability is subject to season.

For lunch, you can try some Italian dishes cooked with local specialties. The local restaurant Alla Contadina is run by owner Koji Sakamoto, who grew up in Yamanaka and had chef training in Venice, Italy. He is now a member of the Organic Food Producers Group of the Kayotei. Enjoy his unique fusion of Kaga and Italian cuisine.

Return to The Kayotei and relax.

Savor a fine Kaga-style kaiseki dinner, served on locally crafted dishes.
Kanazawa and Kaga are close to the Sea of Japan, so you can enjoy the finest quality seafood. Kaga-style kaiseki ryori Japanese haute cuisine is famous all over Japan.
  • Day 3
  • Day trip to Shirayama Hime Shrine at Mount Hakusan and Eiheiji Temple
Today you might like to join the tour to discover Japan's holy mountains or explore the neighborhood of Yamanaka Onsen.

=Day trip to Mount Hakusan and Eiheiji Temple=

This trip gives you a chance to visit a Japanese holy mountain, accompanied by the owner or ryokan staff. In Japan, there are three holy mountains -- Mt. Fuji, Mt. Tateyama and Mt. Hakusan. As Mount Hakusan is the source of several great rivers, the deity is believed to have divine power over water, which ensures bountiful harvests.

Shirayama Hime Shrine is home to the god Izanagi and goddess Izanami, and is dedicated to the holy mountain Hakusan. The temple grounds are serene and beautifully tended, with magnificent 1,000-year-old cedar trees lining the path up to the shrine buildings.

Eiheiji Temple is the head temple of the Soto Sect of Zen Buddhism. This temple was founded by the famous Buddhist scholar Dogen Zenji, after he finished his Soto Zen studies in China. It consists of over 70 buildings and structures, all of them connected by covered walkways. It is still an active monastery, with around 150 practicing Zen monks. Eiheiji is a working temple; there are many monks training there, but you may have a chance to get a glimpse of their daily life.

The town of Eiheiji is a lovely, tranquil place nestled in the mountains along a river – a pleasant place for a stroll or a quiet lunch.

=Explore Yamanaka Onsen town=

Kakusenkei Nature walk

You might try the 2.9km (1.8 mile) Kakusenkei Gorge walking course, or the 4.8km (3.0 mile) jogging course along the rim of the gorge. This route includes the beautiful 1.3km footpath to the Kurotani Bridge.

There are several famous historic sites along the walking route next to Kakusenkei Gorge.

The famous haiku poet Basho visited Yamanaka and enjoyed the scenic beauty of this spot. The Basho-do is a hut similar to the one where he stayed, and there is a small image of Basho inside.

Ayatori Hashi (Cat's Cradle Bridge)

The grand master of the Sogetsu school of flower arranging, Hiroshi Teshigahara, designed this unique bridge, with its S-shape and red-purple color.

This Samurai villa, built at the end of the Meiji era, houses a lovely collection of arts and crafts.

Korogi Bridge (Cricket Bridge)

There are various legends regarding the origin of this bridge's name. One of them notes the extremely narrow and steep mountainous roads of Yamanaka and how one misstep could mean disaster. Hence the name "Korogi," which literally means "dangerous road."

Yuge Kaido street

This is the main street running through the town of Yamanaka Onsen. It starts from Kiku No You public hot spring bath. You will find lots of shops, galleries featuring local arts and crafts, as well as restaurants on both sides of the street.

Return to The Kayotei and relax. You could try a shiatsu traditional Japanese massage treatment.

Return to The Kayotei.
  • Day 4
  • Day trip to Kanazawa
Take a day trip to Kanazawa by private car with English-speaking guide.

During the Edo Period, Kanazawa was the seat of the Maeda Clan, the second most powerful feudal clan after the Tokugawa. As a result, Kanazawa became a place of great cultural achievements, rivaling Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo).

Today, Kanazawa is still an important city and the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture. The city boasts many historical attractions, such as restored residences and districts, as well as modern museums. But Kanazawa's main attraction is Kenrokuen, one of Japan's "three best landscape gardens," and which many consider the most beautiful of them all.

The first place to visit is Kenrokuen Garden & Kanazawa Castle Park, originally a private garden next to Kanazawa Castle, and was later developed in the 1620s to 1840s. It is a landscape garden spreading over 100,000 sq.. meters, with Kasumigaike Pond at its center and a variety of hills, streams, smaller ponds and waterfalls to enhance its beauty. Next to Kenrokuen Garden is Kanazawa Castle Park, one of the great symbols of the city’s traditional culture, and a legacy of the rich history of arts patronage by the local feudal clan.

Next stop is the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. This impressive museum, designed by Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the SANAA architect office, focuses on works produced since 1980 that “propose new values.” The museum’s collection includes works by such artists as: Francis Alys, Matthew Barney, Tony Cragg, Olafur Eliasson, James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama and many more.

In the Higashi Chaya District, you can find traditional geisha houses lining both sides of the street. “Chaya” means teahouse, and geisha -- the famous female entertainers who are icons of Japan, especially Kyoto -- were once a common sight in this area. Some of the wooden houses have been designated as an important preservation district of historic buildings; a few of the teahouses were built as long as 200 years ago and are still in use.

You could also visit the Nagamachi Samurai District. This was a district at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle, where Samurai and their families lived during the Edo period. The area now preserves the atmosphere of the time, with its remaining Samurai residences, private entrance gates, narrow lanes and canals. One of the main attractions of the district is the centrally located Nomura-ke, a restored residence displaying the lifestyle and artifacts of the time when Samurai prospered.

Return to The Kayotei
  • Day 5
  • Departure from Kagaonsen Station / Komatsu Airport
Check out from The Kayotei and transfer to Kagaonsen Station or Komatsu airport by private car.

To get to Tokyo, there are two options: transfer to Komatsu airport by private car, or go on the shinkansen bullet train, which takes approximately 3 hours.

You might also continue to Kyoto by limited express train. It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.