Written by Jasmine O
Yamashiro Onsen - Teatime, Artisanal Crafts, And Hot Springs In Ishikawa
Ishikawa Prefecture's Yamashiro Onsen is a hidden gem of hot springs, cute cafes, and shops selling Kutani ceramics and handmade goods. Ideal for a day trip, learn about how to get to Yamashiro Onsen, what to do there, including visiting Hazuchio, a cafe and shop great for a relaxing break.
Yamashiro Onsen - A Town of Hot Springs, Cafes, and Art in Ishikawa
Looking for a relaxing afternoon? Head to Yamashiro Onsen, a historic hot springs town part of the renowned Kaga Onsen area in Ishikawa Prefecture. Around 45 minutes away from Kanazawa, this is the ideal place to come for a break from the stresses of every day and explore a different, slower side of Japan.
Hazuchio, located in the center of Yamashiro Onsen, is a must-visit site, as guests can enjoy local flavors and artwork not seen anywhere else. Continue reading to learn about Hazuchio and things to do in the surrounding area.
Hazuchio - Relaxing Japanese Teatime and Kutani Ceramics
Hazuchio is a complex in the middle of Yamashiro Onsen, famous for its hot springs, which have been used since the Edo Period (1603–1868). Hazuchio contains multiple facilities, including a cafe and store, opened to support the surrounding community. Visitors can enjoy Japanese sweets, lunch, and tea at the cafe, and shopping for Kutani ceramics and unique, locally-made souvenirs at the shop.
Hazuchio is full of charm and special detail, from the landscaped exterior and gardens to the warm welcome signs and interior design. Plan to spend a couple of hours here to enjoy the peaceful environment.
Taste Japanese Sweets and Sip on Tea
Hazuchio's cafe specializes in Japanese sweets and dishes using local ingredients. Popular menu items include the Kusamochi Zenzai (1,000 yen), a sweet azuki (red bean) soup with house-made mochi containing mugwort. The Kaga Parfait (950 yen), a regional decadent ice cream dessert with pumpkin, roasted green tea, and other special flavors, is another recommendation.
Pictured above is the Kusamochi Zenzai. The mochi is chewy and pairs deliciously with the sweetness of the red bean soup. On the side is Kaga Bocha, a regional specialty of green tea, and kelp as a palate cleanser. It is the ideal way to warm up during the fall and winter.
With other options such as vegetable curry, specially-brewed coffee, and soft-serve ice cream, this is a spot great for coming with friends.
The cafe has an old-fashioned Japanese fireplace, or irori, which customers can sit around. The walls are decorated with charming accents that will make you feel welcome at the cafe.
There is a menu with English and pictures to help you order easier, but please note an English-speaking employee is ordinarily not at the cafe.
Find the Perfect Gift at Ninuriya - Artisanal Crafts Shopping
Shopping is another recommended way to spend time at Hazuchio. Located across from the cafe is Ninuriya, a shop carrying Kutani ceramics, pieces by local artists, and souvenirs from Yamashiro Onsen and Ishikawa Prefecture. Each item here is displayed with care, conveying how special it is. Visitors will want to want to take their time looking carefully.
Pictured above are some pieces by local artisans. The upper bowls are made by Bitoen, a group of artists in the Ishikawa area, and the adorable animal dishes on the bottom-left are by Ayaka Kogen, a local artist. The earrings and accessories on the lower-right are designed by Izumi Fukudaya. These are all handmade, hard-to-find pieces that would make a thoughtful gift for a loved one.
Adorable Kutani ceramic magnets are also sold for those looking to take home something small. Other merchandise includes self-care items, like bath additives. A large number of tenugui handkerchiefs are also sold, ideal for those who want something light.
Other Great Things to Do at Yamashiro Onsen
Yamashiro Onsen is most known for its natural hot springs. As mentioned earlier, the waters here have been used since the Edo Period for their therapeutic health benefits; in the past, people would come to spend long periods of time at hot spring towns hoping to help relieve any health ailments they had. Today, a number of ryokan (Japanese inns) line the townscape, including the luxurious Hoshino Resorts Kai Kaga.
Next door to Hazuchio is Kosoyu, a historic bathhouse from the Meiji Period (1868–1912) that has been renovated. On the inside, bathers can enjoy an elegant atmosphere, with stained-glass windows and colorful Kutani porcelain tiles. The waters at Kosoyu are very soothing and still thought to be very beneficial to health.
Yakuoin Onsenji Temple is nearby, connected to the hot springs and built to protect the town. Yunogawa, a majestic building where the Soyu, or main bathhouse, is also a must-visit.
Yamashiro Onsen is fairly compact. Be sure to try out the soothing hot springs here and peek into small shops, selling souvenirs like Japanese sweets. Hazuchio is in the center of most sightseeing here, making it easy to navigate around after your visit.
How to Get to Yamashiro Onsen and Hazuchio
Yamashiro Onsen is easiest accessed via bus from JR Kaga Onsen Station, which is around 25 minutes from Kanazawa Station riding the JR express train, Thunderbird.
Once at JR Kaga Onsen Station, using the Kaga Loop Bus CANBUS is most convenient, as it allows users to ride the bus multiple times for a set price. A one-day, all-you-can-ride pass costs 1,000 yen. If you ride the CANBUS, get off at Yamashiro Onsen Soyu/Koyu or Yamashiro Onsen Higashi Guchi.
Step Off the Beaten Path in Ishikawa
Ishikawa is well-known for its capital of Kanazawa, but places like Hazuchio in Yamashiro Onsen are great for day trips of exploring areas most travelers don't know of. Take a quiet trip to refresh and enjoy historic Yamashiro Onsen and its surrounding areas. Be sure to stop by for a relaxing break of delicious food and great shopping at Hazuchio during the journey.
In cooperation with Hazuchio