Have you heard of the Noto Peninsula? It juts into the Sea of Japan from Ishikawa in center of Japan, a gem many rave about. Right at its heart is Nanao City, cradling the tranquil Nanao Bay. Besides its calm waves and picture-perfect views, it’s the seafood bounty that has foodies talking. And now, it’s catching the attention of global travelers.
Join us as we dive into Nanao’s marine adventures—from deep-sea fishing to navigating underwater drones and embarking on dreamy night cruises. And don’t worry, we’ve got tips on getting around Nanao City, so you won’t miss a thing!
Fishing charters are fabulous fun in this seaside city!
Situated along the Sea of Japan, Nanao City nestles itself on the eastern edge of the striking Noto Peninsula. Smack in the middle of its expansive bay, you’ll find Noto Island, artfully dividing the waters into northern, western, and southern sections. The geography here is a real blessing, giving you smooth sailing conditions all year round.
Ready to take it up a notch? Why not join in the ultimate marine experience with a fishing charter? Head down to Nanao Port, tucked away in the southern part of the bay. Hop aboard, and we’re off for a three-hour fishing escapade! No worries if you’re a newbie—the crew’s got all your fishing gear sorted. Just don’t forget your sun essentials—think hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and UV protective clothing. Trust us, you’ll be thanking the sun gods, but you don’t want them to scorch you.
Now, rev your sea-loving hearts because we’re cruising to Koguchi Seto—a gem of an inlet just about a half-hour away from South Nanao Bay. The captain swears this is the hot spot for fishing, and who are we to doubt his years of seaworthy wisdom? Feel that? That’s the invigorating sea breeze as we zoom through the waters!
As our journey continues, you’ll pass by a number of charming fishing villages. Notice the houses sporting those stunning dark “Notokawara” roof tiles? Not only are they a Nanao City specialty, but these sleek, black tiles are also engineered to brave the tough winds and snows of northern Japan. Ah, the contrast they create against the sparkling sea—it’s just poetic!
Enjoy your Japan sea fishing adventure while chatting with the English-speaking staff!
Once we reached the fishing grounds, the boat staff carefully explained how to use the fishing equipment. They can set the lures and lines for you, and English-speaking staff can interpret for the rest of the crew, so you can enjoy fishing even if it’s your first time.
And now, the moment of truth—the epic showdown between man and fish! After the lure descends to the ocean’s depths, we haul it back up, only to cast it out again. Our wise captain says fishing is a game of “patience and smiles.” There’s no set time for when a fish will decide to take the bait. So, until that happens, we bask in the joy of good conversation, easygoing waits, and plenty of smiles. Believe it or not, there’s a certain serenity in this waiting game, gently swayed by the rhythmic dance of the waves.
Finally, a fish! Measuring over 30 cm long, it’s...?
Suddenly, there was a mighty tug at one of our fishing poles! Reeling it in, we could tell there was something at the end of the line. Something had taken the bait! The trick to reeling it in is to let the fish run when it’s mad, then reel it in when it gets tired. With support from the staff, we reeled one in!
Would you look at that! A hefty catch, over 30 cm long. We caught a young Japanese amberjack, or a hamachi in Japanese. People of the Noto Peninsula also call these fukuragi. It felt like a real accomplishment to have brought in such a heavy fish.
But there was no time to celebrate: the bites kept coming. This yellow specimen we caught is a red-spotted grouper (kijihata), an expensive fish that apparently sells for around 1,000 yen each. Red sea bream and marbled rockfish are also consistent catches around here. But the thing about fishing is that there are some days when the bites never stop and some days when the bites never come. You’ll have more fun fishing if you bring more patience than passion.
When you make your reservation, trips can be customized to your liking. If you’d prefer to cruise around the bay more, there might be a custom plan for that. Also, feel free to negotiate the length and content of your fishing trip.
If you have inquiries to send via email or otherwise, contact the Koushinmaru Group in English.
More marine activities for the modern age! Explore the underwater world with submersible drones
Who says charter boats are just for fishing? Have you ever wondered what’s lurking below those sparkling waves? Well, with cutting-edge submersible drones, you’re about to find out! These nifty underwater rovers come equipped with cameras, offering you a window to the deep via a live video feed. Given how crystal-clear these open waters are, you’ll be blown away by the quality of the visuals. Keep those eyes peeled—you just might catch a glimpse of marine life in their natural setting!
Also, there are Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins that call the uppermost part of North Nanao Bay their home, and dolphin-watching tours that depart from Noto Island to go see them. In 2001, only two dolphins lived in the bay, but their family has grown to 10 individuals, each with their own name. The dolphin tours bring you close enough to watch them, but not so close as to intrude on their lives. As the dolphin’s lives are well documented, the tour boats have an excellent chance of finding them.
Witness the amazing green bay waters on a night cruise
Nanao City’s marine activities continue into the night. Another popular choice for tourists is night cruises, which allow you to explore the nighttime sights of the bay.
Night cruises depart Nanao Port for the waters off Wakura Onsen and then return. The adventurous thrills of nighttime sailing is an experience unlike anything you get during the day. It’s the best way to see the beautiful lights that decorate Notojima Bridge, which connects Nanao City’s Ishizaki-machi to Noto Island.
Once the night cruise ship reaches Wakura Onsen, it comes to a stop. The lights of hotels and traditional inns in this hot spring town make for a magnificent nightscape. This, too, is the kind of memorable scenery that you can only see out in the bay.
On night cruises, you’ll also get to see lights gleaming from under the water. Night cruise charters are equipped with underwater lamps used to attract fish for night fishing. When the underwater lamps are on, the sea glows emerald green, making a mystical kind of spectacle. You’ll also spot fish swimming about beneath the boat. It’s fun to try and keep an eye on them as they come to and fro – “Look, there’s another one!”
With the combined glow of the underwater lamps and glittering lights of Wakura Onsen, this is a great moment to take a romantic photograph.
Enjoy the first catch of the day in the morning! Fresh seafood at Noto Shokusai Ichiba
For fresh seafood and famous local products, visit Noto Shokusai Ichiba, about a ten-minute walk from JR Nanao Station. You can eat seafood cuisine at the facility’s food court.
The fish market sells all Nanao Bay has to offer. Much of the seafood available for sale will have been caught that very morning.
If seeing all this fresh seafood has you salivating, you can grill anything you buy at the market in their famous hamayaki section. The Shokusai Ichiba Set is 3,300 yen for two people. The set includes local delicacies like blackthroat seaperch, red shrimp, and squid, plus seasonal shellfish, fish, or dried seafood.
What’s more, you can enjoy seafood and other specialty products with your grilled seafood. At 500 yen for a pack of four, the sushi is a great deal! Their cuts of fish are fresh and generously thick.
The direct heat of the grill really brings out the aroma of seafood. Every morsel is juicy and delicious! Savoring and comparing the flavors, you’ll run out of things to grill before long.
Once you’re filled up, you can go outside the market for a seaside walk. These kinds of timeless vistas put one’s mind at ease, something different from the views you get on the waves.
To get around Nanao City, we recommend their buses and electric minicars
One defining feature of Nanao City is its compact size and many conveniences. It’s a breeze to tour. To move about the city to sightsee, their bus transit system is the smoothest option. The Notojima Kotsu Bus makes 17 trips a day from Nanao City to Noto Island and back, making stops at Nanao Station, Shokusai Ichiba, and Wakura Onsen. Noto Island has attractions like the Notojima Aquarium and the Notojima Glass Art Museum, so you’ll want to keep Noto Island in mind for things to do besides marine activities.
Also, at Wakura Onsen Omatsuri Hall, you can rent single-rider electric minicars. They drive like regular cars and are allowed on standard roads. Their maximum speed is 60 km/h with a range of 50 km. It’s a lovely experience to feel the sea breeze as you drive along the coast. It’s 1,000 yen to rent a minicar for half a day and 1,500 yen for the full day. (Please note that you will need to have either a valid international driving permit or a Japanese driver's license. Learn more about driving in Japan here.)
All kinds of marine activities await you at Nanao City, just a bit north of Kanazawa!
So that’s Nanao City, with its charter fishing, night cruises, and other marine activities. Shokusai Ichiba and other eateries in the city all provide freshly caught seafood. It’s no challenge to get here, either. It’s only an hour by express train from Kanazawa Station, directly connected to Tokyo via the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train. If you stay overnight, we recommend an inn with a view of the ocean in Wakura Onsen. Set course for Nanao City, the sights and tastes of the Sea of Japan, and have a once-in-a-lifetime oceanic adventure!
If you have inquiries to send via email or otherwise, contact the Koushinmaru Group in English at email@example.com
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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