Hakusan Super Rindo Toll Road
For those looking to find that road “less traveled” around busy Kanazawa, Hakusanroku (白山麓) district is a welcome tonic, as it has been relatively untouched by modern tourism.
Hakusanroku literally means the foot of Mt. Hakusan (白山) . Standing on the boundary between Ishikawa and Gifu (岐阜) prefecture, the mountain has been known as one of Japan’s ”Three Sacred Mountains” along with Mt. Fuji (富士山) and Mt. Tateyama (立山) since ancient times.
Access to the Hakusanroku was once extremely difficult, but these days you can get around easily by vehicle. The itinerary contains plenty of attractions and activities to please even the most curious of travelers. The highlight is the Hakusan Super Rindo Toll Road (白山スーパー林道) that leads to the World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go (白川郷) .
Just an hour’s drive from Kanazawa, Hakusanroku feels like a world away.
From Kanazawa, head south to Tsurugi (鶴来), a small, old town at the foot of Mt. Hakusan (白山) along Route 157. Before hurrying to get to the remote mountainous area, make sure to visit Shirayama Hime Shrine (白山比咩神社) nestled on a cliff of river terraces in the south part of town. Shirayama Hime ShrineDedicated to the sacred Mt. Hakusan as the mountain of devotion, this historical shrine gathers the deep faith of people from all over the country. The call it “Shirayama-san”. Though read differently, Shirayama and Hakusan use the same characters 白山 in Japanese. The Kita Sando (north-side approach) car park gives easy access to the offering hall, however, we recommend parking the car at the Omote Sando (main approach) car park, as you can admire the tranquil atmosphere of the sacred precinct while ascending the stairs. At the offering hall, throw a coin into the offering box and make a wish. If you are not sure how to pray the standard way, just look at other people and copy their behavior!Tsurugi Yokomachi Furusato Urara-Kan Hall
You may also want to wander around the town center of Tsurugi which is dotted with lovely old houses and shops. Families with children may appreciate Sky Shishiku Park (スカイ獅子吼) more so, as it provides a great variety of outdoor activities.
Paraglider / Sky Shishiku Park
The road runs along the beautiful stream, enjoying diverse landscapes.
Route 157 runs parallel to the Tedori River (手取川), the longest river in the prefecture. The river has an 8-kilometer- (5-mile-) stretch of narrow, deep ravine called Tedori Gorge (手取峡谷). Several bridges over the river give brief glimpses down into the stunning chasm,while a few trails lead down the steep rock walls to the water below. Furobashi Bridge (不老橋) and Watagataki Waterfall (綿が滝) are must-visit spots. Park the car at Watagataki Ikoinomori Park (綿が滝いこいの森) on the other side of the river from Route 157 and hike along the trail.
Ubagataki Waterfall blessed in the colorful foliage
Drive up the winding forest road wrapped in glowing colors.
Route 157 becomes Route 360, and leads you to the highland area that encompasses hot spring and ski resorts such as Ichirino Kogen (一里野高原), and Chugu Onsen (中宮温泉). If you visit this area in autumn, the Hakusan Super Rindo toll road is not to be missed. Connecting Ishikawa and Shirakawa-go (白川郷) in Gifu, this well-maintained 33.3-kilometer (20.7-mile) toll road offers sweeping views of Mt. Hakusan. Here one can see and experience the main attractions along the toll road. Buy some food and drink at the michinoeki and head for the Chugu (中宮) toll gate!
Fukube-no-otaki WaterfallThe road winds through a v-shaped gorge in the Jadani (蛇谷) area. With the colorful autumn leaves outside of your window, prepare yourself for a number of waterfalls including the gently flowing Ubagataki (姥ケ滝)and Fukube-no-otaki (ふくべの大滝), the greatest waterfall of the area. Get out of the car and walk down the trail into the gorge to see the glacial Ubagataki waterfall up close. It takes around 15 minutes on foot from the Jadani Enchi Observation Park (蛇谷園地) through a steep set of stairs.
Beyond the road lies the World Heritage Site.
The list of must-see sites along the road goes on. With the elevation of 1,450 meters (4,757 feet), Sanpoiwa Parking Lot (三方岩駐車場) is the highest point along the toll road. From here, you can go trekking to the top of Mt. Sanpoiwadake (三方岩岳)at an elevation of 1,736 meters (5,695 feet) which offers possibly the most spectacular scenery in the area during foliage season. Stop at the Hakusan Tenbodai (白山展望台) observation deck that is surrounded by virgin beech forest to admire the view of Mt. Hakusan in the distance. Ren-nyo Chaya (蓮如茶屋) near the observation deck is the only rest stop along the toll road.The autumn colors along the Hakusan Super Rindo
After a 90-minute breathtaking drive, you’ll arrive at Shirakawa-go (白川郷). World Heritage site Ogimachi village (荻町) with its “praying hands” gasshozukuri farmhouses is 8 kilometers (5 mile) from the Magari (馬狩) toll gate. Beyond the enchanting scenery, there is a lot of history and culture waiting to be discovered and explored.
If you turn back to the Chugu toll gate without getting off at the Magari toll gate, only one-way fare is charged.
Start/Finish: Tsurugi to Ogimachi in Shirakawa-go
Distance: 64.2km (39.9miles)
Seasonal Highlights: Hakusan Super Rindo toll road is famous for its colorful foliage in autumn. In winter, with heavy snowfall annually, Hakusanroku attracts numerous enthusiasts to its winter sports facilities.
Hakusan Super Rindo Toll Road
Open: Early June-10 Nov.
Time: 7:00-18:00 (Jun-Aug., toll gates closed at 19:00), 8:00-17:00 (Sep-Nov., toll gates close at 18:00)
One-way Fare: Regular Vehicle ¥3,240, Light Vehicle ¥2,610
Round-trip Fare: Regular Vehicle ¥5,020, Light Vehicle ¥4,180 *If you turn back to the toll gate
you entered from without exiting a subsequent toll gate, only a one-way fare is charged.
URL: http://www.hakusan-rindo.jp/contents/gaikoku/english.pdf *The fares are current as of September 2014, but subject to change.
Profile | Katja Oshigami / from Germany
Katja, who is originally from Thuringia, Germany, works for Kahoku City Hall as a CIR (Coordinator of International Relations), using the Ishikawa-ben dialect freely.