city in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan

Wajima (輪島) is a small town in Japan, on the Noto Peninsula, north of Kanazawa. The Wajima morning market, which was one of the town's most famous attractions, was destroyed by fires in the 2024 Noto earthquake. The Wajima Market website contains information about how to donate to rebuild the market.


Understand

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Two creative kokeshi dolls

Since the middle ages, Wajima has been famous for lacquerware (漆器 shikki) production, to an extent that "Japan" used to mean lacquerware in the same sense that "China" meant porcelain ware. Japan's finest lacquerware still comes from this town, although industrial lacquerware production (of perceived lower quality) is distributed around the nation.

Tourist information site

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The city government and the local tourist association have a Japanese-only guide site.

Get in

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By train

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Trains to Wajima have stopped running, although you can still get as far as Nanao by JR and Anamizu on the private Noto Railway.

By bus

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There are a few direct buses daily from Kanazawa. There are also some regular guided bus tours for local tourists.

By plane

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  • 1 Noto Airport (NTQ  IATA). All Nippon Airways from Tokyo-Haneda, Seasonal Charter with China Airlines from Taipei-Taoyuan.    
  • Wajima Kobo Nagaya (輪島工房長屋) In the north of the town, 200m from the ocean, is a small "lacquerware production village" for tourists. In it, a chain of 8 artisans required to produce a rice bowl are illustrating their jobs and explaining it to visitors. A translator for non-Japanese is also available. The location is directly west to the Juzo shrine.
  • Wajima Kiriko Art Museum (輪島キリコ会館) A little out east, there is a great "lantern hall". Lantern (kiriko) means carry-able by up to 80 men and up to 15m in size (not been in use for a while; since electrical lines came up, they are generally restricted to 6m). Once a year a big festival is held where all the quarters of the town compete with each other on who has the best lantern.
  • Wajima morning market (asaichi) (輪島朝市). 8:00-12:00; Closed 2nd and 4th Wed (in addition 1st to 3rd Jan). The morning market was one of the town's best-known attractions until it burned down in the fires that engulfed the city center during the 2024 Noto earthquake. Residents would like to rebuild and are accepting donations on their website.

Drink

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Sleep

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No youth hostels, but a good number of ryokan (Japanese inns) and a modern hotel (Hotel RouteInn Wajima). These are more expensive than elsewhere (e.g. Kanazawa) because competition is less and it is more remote.

Connect

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Go next

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