Japanese Food

The Chubu region is located in the middle of Japan’s main island, Honshu. Home to coastal prefectures such as Ishikawa and Fukui, as well as the mountainous rural landscapes of Gifu, Chubu boasts many unique delights. From tasty seafood fresh from the Sea of Japan to breathtakingly beautiful sightseeing spots such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go, there are plenty of amazing experiences to be had in the Chubu region. 

The Japan National Tourism Organization's “Unveiling a New Japan | Captivating Experiences” campaign introduces exciting trip itineraries that are suitable even for seasoned travellers of Japan. This 5-day and 4-night itinerary highlights the Chubu region, including top spots in Ishikawa, Fukui and Gifu prefectures. Experience Kanazawa’s rich history and traditional craft; enjoy lush nature, spectacular views and fabulous onsen hot springs in Fukui; and indulge in gourmet specialities in Gifu. Ishikawa, Fukui and Gifu prefectures are packed full of culture and nature guaranteed to charm all visitors. So, if you have never visited the Chubu region before or are looking for new experiences in the region, give this itinerary a try!

Recommended 5-day and 4-night itinerary in the Chubu region:

Day 1

Tokyo or Osaka Station ⇒ Kanazawa Station ⇒ Overnight stay around Kanazawa Station

Day 2

Kanazawa Station ⇒ Gold Leaf Sakuda ⇒ Omicho Market ⇒ Kanazawa Kirara Kimono Rental and Rickshaw Experience ⇒ Overnight stay around Kanazawa Station

Day 3 

Kanazawa Station ⇒ Shirakawa-go and Hida Takayama Bus Tour ⇒ Overnight stay around Kanazawa Station

Day 4 

Kanazawa Station ⇒ Shijimaya-Honpo Samurai Experience ⇒ Kanazawa Station ⇒ Awara Onsen Station ⇒ Tojinbo and sightseeing boat ⇒ Visit Yukemuri Yokocho ⇒ Overnight stay in Awara Onsen

Day 5

Awara Yunomachi Station ⇒ Fukui Station ⇒ Dinosaur Museum and fossil excavation experience ⇒ Eiheiji Zen meditation experience ⇒ Overnight stay in Awara Onsen

A winter fantasy trip through a world of snow

Singapore: https://www.japan.travel/en/sg/japan-activities/chubu/itineraries-6/

Philippines: https://www.japan.travel/en/ph/japan-activities/chubu/itineraries-6/

Unveiling a New Japan | Captivating Experiences Official Website

Singapore: https://www.japan.travel/en/sg/japan-activities/

Philippines: https://www.japan.travel/en/ph/japan-activities/

Gold Leaf Sakuda Main Store: try your hand at a gold leaf decoration

Gold Leaf Sakuda Main Store

As soon as you arrive in Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture, you are sure to notice the abundance of gold leaf products and souvenirs, such as gold leaf hand cream to soft-serve ice cream wrapped in edible gold leaf. There’s a good reason for all this gold — Kanazawa began producing gold leaf in the Bunroku period (1592-1596) and now produces more than 99% of all gold leaf in Japan!

The gold leaf expertly produced at Gold Leaf Sakuda weighs only 0.02 grams and is only 1/10,000th of a millimetre thick, making each piece a magnificent work of art. Visitors to the main store can purchase gold leaf products and even try a gold leaf decoration workshop. Participants draw their own patterns on a piece of gold leaf, carefully cut it out, then paste it onto their chosen item from a selection of options, including mirrors, boxes, and plates. The result is a one-of-a-kind luxury souvenir that dazzles from every angle. This is, without a doubt, the best place to buy unique presents for friends and family back home.

Gold Leaf Sakuda Main Store

Gold Leaf Sakuda Main Store

Gold Leaf Sakuda Main Store

  • Address: 1-3-27 Higashiyama, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Access: 5 minutes’ walk from Hashiba-cho bus stop on the Hokuriku Tetsudo Line bus or JR bus from Kanazawa Station 

Omicho Market: feast on fresh and delicious seafood

Omicho Market

Located about a 15-minute walk from Kanazawa Station, Omicho Market is not only a bustling tourist spot but a beloved community icon where residents have been buying produce and dining out for over 300 years. With approximately 170 stores selling fresh seafood, local produce, processed foods and a dizzying array of other items, simply walking around and taking in the sights is entertainment in itself. Crabs, scallops and other delicacies line the stores’ shelves in a mouth-watering display of luxury gourmet foods freshly caught from the nearby Sea of Japan. Fresh seafood is especially popular among tourists, as it can be eaten on the spot! 


There are also plenty of sushi and seafood bowl restaurants inside the market, perfect for a relaxing lunch. If you visit in the winter, make sure to try snow crab caught in the Sea of Japan. Male snow crab, known as kanogani, is a luxury variety of crab exclusive to Ishikawa Prefecture. These rare male snow crabs contain particularly juicy meat with a buttery rich flavour. Female snow crabs, known as kabakogani, are much smaller but packed with tender meat. Plus, when the shell is opened, there are always eggs inside— a real gourmet delicacy. Because of the short fishing season, snow crab is only available for a few weeks each year from early November to late December, so don’t miss it!


Omicho Market

  • Address: 50 Kamiomicho, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Access: 15 minutes’ walk from Kanazawa Station

Kanazawa Kirara: dress in traditional kimono and ride a rickshaw to Higashi Chaya Geisha District

Higashi Chaya Geisha District

Higashi Chaya is a beautifully preserved geisha district that still retains the architectural stylings and nostalgic atmosphere of the Edo period (1603-1868). If you want to blend in with the aesthetics of this enchanting town, change into a traditional kimono. Kanazawa Kirara has a huge selection of rental kimono available to suit any taste, from “retro” styles with calm colours to bolder patterns and designs.


To take the experience to the next level, try a rickshaw ride. Not only is it a fun way to travel, but the rickshaw drivers also act as tour guides, introducing interesting facts about the Higashi Chaya district on the move. The elegantly designed rickshaws come with latticed windows for extra privacy and comfort, painting a striking image as they meander through the town. There is no doubt that this traditional method of transport is the perfect way to tour the picturesque area.


Kanazawa Kirara

  • Address: 1-3-18 Higashiyama, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Access: 5 minutes’ walk from Hashiba-cho bus stop on the Hokuriku Tetsudo Line bus or JR bus from Kanazawa Station

Explore the stunning geisha and samurai neighbourhoods of Kanazawa

Singapore: https://www.japan.travel/en/sg/japan-activities/activities/243/

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One-day bus tour of Shirakawa-go and Hida Takayama: visit a World Heritage Site and a beautiful old town


In December 1995, Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture and the Ainokura Gassho-zukuri Village in Toyama Prefecture were registered as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. These historical villages both utilise the same architectural style called gassho-zukuri, which means “constructed like hands in prayer”. The roofs of the wooden village houses are thatched in a steep, triangular style, which allows the heavy winter snowfall to slide right off. Residents of these villages have carefully preserved these striking buildings for more than 300 years, passing down these cultural relics from generation to generation, something that no doubt contributes to the overall calm and settled atmosphere. Shirakawa-go is a tranquil and peaceful countryside village where time moves slowly, and the everyday stresses of the modern world seem irrelevant.


Although it’s possible to visit Shirakawa-go by public transportation, the most convenient way to get there is to join a one-day bus tour. The tours leave from Kanazawa Station in the morning and return there in the evening. An English-speaking tour guide will be present on the trip, so there is no need to worry if you can’t understand Japanese. After arriving at Shirakawa-go, you will have plenty of time to take a leisurely stroll through the village and visit the Ogimachi Castle Observation Deck, which offers a stunning panoramic view of the village from above.


After lunch, the tour bus will take you to Hida Takayama, another jewel of Gifu prefecture. Takayama’s central Sanmachi-dori, a designated National Important Traditional Buildings Preservation District, is a classic relic of the old Edo period castle town and merchant settlement. The street consists of several areas, including Kamiichinomachi and Kamiisanomachi, with plenty of carefully preserved buildings of historical value. There are many old-fashioned shops selling traditional crafts and souvenirs, as well as amazing local restaurants and cafés where you can grab a quick bite. The Takayama region is also known for its high-quality rice and saké, thanks to the clear waters and favourable climate. There are plenty of long-established saké breweries in the area, many with traditional sugidama decorations hanging from the eaves. Some breweries will let you sample the saké, so be sure to take a look inside. 

Hida Takayama

Hida Takayama

At the end of the tour or on the way home, the tour guide can help show you where to buy the best senbei rice crackers for souvenirs, and you can even try a pancake-making workshop. Sample all the delicious street food you can, and enjoy the remainder of your exciting day before boarding the bus back to Kanazawa station.

Visit a traditional village in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture

Singapore: https://www.japan.travel/en/sg/japan-activities/activities/249/

Philippines: https://www.japan.travel/en/ph/japan-activities/activities/249/

Shijimaya-Honpo: experience Kanazawa samurai and ancient merchant culture


For local Kanazawa delicacies and an authentic cultural experience, look no further than Shijimaya-Honpo. This unique gem was established in 1875 and specialises in gourmet pickles and fermented foods. Locals love the kabura (turnip) sushi sold here, and there are plenty of other delicious products available, such as pickles, miso and gelato made from saké lees. 


However, Shijimaya-Honpo is not just any old pickles shop. Shop owner Masahisa Shijimaya is a direct descendant of samurai and a proud owner of five genuine nihonto, samurai swords, that have been passed down to him as family heirlooms.

Nihonto swords are known as the sharpest blades in the world, perfect for killing enemies in battle. They are forged by expert craftsmen using only the highest-quality parts of metals, then meticulously sharpened and polished. But these swords aren’t just tools of war; nihonto are a real art form, emphasised all the more by the intricate temper lines on the blades designed by craftsmen hundreds of years ago that still remain visually stunning today. It’s definitely worth making the trip to see the Shijimaya’s real swords up close.


After listening to an explanation of the sword’s history, participants can change into traditional samurai clothing called hakama and have their photo taken while holding a real samurai sword. Mr Shijimaya, who holds a level two qualification in Iaido (the art of drawing the Japanese sword), will demonstrate how to draw and manoeuvre the swords and deliver a nail-biting cutting performance on a rolled straw mat. 



  • Address: 1-17-28 Yayoi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Access: 5 minutes’ walk from Numatamachi bus stop on Hokuriku Railway bus from JR Kanazawa Station.

Where samurai culture meets the merchants of Kanazawa

Singapore: https://www.japan.travel/en/sg/japan-activities/activities/250/

Philippines: https://www.japan.travel/en/ph/japan-activities/activities/250/

Tojinbo: cruise on a sightseeing boat and climb Tojinbo Tower for multifaceted views of the amazing cliffs



Overlooking the majestic Sea of Japan, Tojinbo is a one-km-long stretch of jagged basalt cliffs composed of many dramatic vertical columns that tower over 20 m tall. This breath-taking natural wonder is best enjoyed from a variety of angles; board a sightseeing boat for close-up views of the cliff’s impressive geometric joint lines, and climb the Tojinbo Tower for a panoramic view of the sea and the cliffs together. From wherever you look, Tojinbo will be a breath-taking sight.


  • Address: Tojinbo, Mikuni-cho, Sakai-shi, Fukui Prefecture
  • Access: A short walk from Tojinbo bus stop on Keifuku Bus Tojinbo Line from JR Awara Onsen Station.

Awara Onsen: stay at a unique inn and eat tasty street food in Yukemuri Yokocho, the “steam alley”

Awara Onsen

Awara Onsen is located in Awara City in the north of Fukui Prefecture and is known throughout the region as “Kansai’s guest room”, thanks to its high number of annual visitors from nearby prefectures. The most attractive aspect of this onsen town is the sheer number of different hot springs. Almost every inn has a different type of spring water with its own various qualities. Don’t miss the free ashiyu foot baths by Awara Yunomachi station. This nostalgic-style onsen facility has five different foot baths to choose from inside, perfect for a quick break.

If your inn doesn’t serve dinner or you want to experience Japanese street food, head to Yukemuri Yokocho, which means “steam alley” in English. This bustling little gourmet facility houses ten restaurants that serve great local street foods, such as kushiage fried skewers, teppanyaki grills and stewed oden. Crimson paper lanterns line the walkways, giving the area a Showa period feel. Grab a drink and enjoy the atmosphere!

For a one-of-a-kind stay, book a room at Grandia Housen. Here, you can stay in a cute dinosaur-themed room or a room with a private outdoor bath on the balcony. At dinner, you will be served delicious melt-in-the-mouth local Wakasa wagyu beef. It doesn’t get better than this!

Wakasa wagyu beef

Awara Onsen Street Food Village Yukemuri Yokocho

  • Address: 1-207 Awara Onsen, Awara-shi, Fukui Prefecture
  • Access: A short walk from Awara Yunomachi Station on the Echizentetsudo-Mikuni-Awara Line 

Grandia Housen

Eiheiji Temple: relax with a meditation session at the head temple for Soto Zen Buddhism

Eiheiji Temple

Eiheiji Temple was founded in 1244 by Dogen, the man who founded the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism, as a place for Zen meditation practice. As the head temple of the Soto sect, Eiheiji enjoys high national prestige, drawing in many visitors from far and wide. Although the temple remains open to the public, Eiheiji still retains its role as a training hall for monks learning meditation. However, to make meditation more accessible to the general public, the temple offers meditation sessions three times a day. Close your eyes, straighten your posture and take a deep breath as you go on a profound internal journey for clarity and calm. 

Eiheiji Temple

Eiheiji Temple

After the meditation experience, visitors can walk down the corridor to pray at the temple alter if they wish. It’s worth having a walk around the grounds to take in the views, as many parts of the temple, including the temple building, zen lecture hall, and temple gate, have been designated as national important cultural properties. In the reception hall, 230 beautiful hand-painted pictures adorn the ceiling. Revel in the peaceful beauty of Eiheiji and come away feeling reset and refreshed.

Eiheiji Temple

  • Address: 5-15 Shihi, Eiheiji-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui Prefecture
  • Access: 5 minutes’ walk from the last stop on Keifuku buses bound for Eiheiji-monzen or Eiheji, departing from Eiheiji-guchi Station on the Echizentetsudo-Katsuyama-Eiheiji Line

Dinosaur Museum: become a brave dinosaur explorer and excavate real fossils!

Ever since numerous dinosaur fossils were recovered in the Katsuyama area of Fukui Prefecture, the region has become famous throughout Japan as a dinosaur hotspot. Any intrepid dinosaur explorers should head straight to Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, where various dinosaur bones, fossils, specimens and models are kept in a giant purpose-built domed facility that spreads over 4,500㎡. Stepping into the museum is like stepping back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth!

Dinosaur enthusiasts, be sure to also visit the neighbouring Katsuyama Dinopark for an unforgettable adventure! The park is covered with life-sized models of dinosaurs, many of which move and make sounds, to the delight of adults and children alike. There is also a fossil-excavation workshop, where visitors can use special tools to excavate rocks from the actual excavation site. The feelings of anticipation and excitement as to whether you will be able to uncover a genuine fossil will no doubt become a treasured memory, even if your excavation isn’t successful.

Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

※Closed until summer 2023

  • Address: Inside Katsuyama Dinopark, 51-11 Terao, Muroko-cho, Katsuyama-shi, Fukui Prefecture
  • Access: A short walk from the Dinosaur Museum bus stop on the Gururin bus bound for Chubu from Katsuyama Station on the Echizentetsudo-Katsuyama-Eiheiji Line

The Japan National Tourism Organization campaign, ‘Unveiling a New Japan | Captivating Experiences’ is showcasing many more exciting regional activities and must-see spots throughout Japan. See the website for more information and inspiration to make your return trip to Japan an unforgettable experience.

A winter fantasy trip through a world of snow

Singapore: https://www.japan.travel/en/sg/japan-activities/chubu/itineraries-6/

Philippines: https://www.japan.travel/en/ph/japan-activities/chubu/itineraries-6/

Unveiling a New Japan | Captivating Experiences Official Website

Singapore: https://www.japan.travel/en/sg/japan-activities/

Philippines: https://www.japan.travel/en/ph/japan-activities/