A Trip Up North

It’s been a while since the last time I’ve posted here; the busy season is starting to ease up, and there’s finally time to share a little bit of my personal life on here.

Last September, my wife and I took advantage of the long weekend to explore the Noto Peninsula in northern Ishikawa — for whatever reason, we’d somehow never gotten around to visiting most of Noto, and there’s a lot up there to enjoy.

The Chirihama Beach Driveway is a popular destination, and for good reason: it’s a lot of fun to drive your car on a beach! (Incidentally, having a car made safely traveling during the pandemic a lot easier, especially because we made a point of doing things like eating meals at weird hours to avoid crowds whenever possible.)

Being able to drive directly on the beach seems like it shouldn’t be that exciting, but somehow it’s a really unique experience. The sand is, unsurprisingly, exceptionally hard, to the point where if you stomp on it, the most it might do is crack.

We stopped at a roadside rest area near the Chirihama Beach Driveway, to take advantage of their free car shower (to wash off the sand), and found a collection of fun sand sculptures!

In addition to this large main one by the entrance, there were a number of others around, presumably all sculpted by taking advantage of the incredibly fine, hard sand.

We continued our trip up along the coast with a late lunch at a charming little restaurant with an exceptional view and (importantly!) outdoor seating. What I didn’t expect was how they presented their menu:

Udon noodles with nori seaweed: ¥650.

Incidentally, their “business cards” were also small stones with their name and address hand-painted on. Very charming!

We finished our drive along the coast with a stop at an old-fashioned Agehama-style salt farm. In addition to the “real” hands-on experience, they also have a bucket of water where anyone can try out the technique they use to sprinkle the seawater onto the sand (so they can concentrate the saltiness before washing it off and cooking it out into salt). It’s much harder than it looks — you need to twist your wrist as you throw out the water! (Special thanks to my lovely wife, for serving as the model in this video)

If you’re ever in Noto, I definitely recommend stopping by and trying this out in particular! I could have spent all afternoon trying to perfect my saltwater-throwing technique. And of course, there’s plenty more to see and do in Noto, but that’ll have to wait for another day.