Ishikawa Prefecture lies on the west coast of Japan's main island, a part of Hokuriku in the larger Chubu, or "central", region. It is best-known perhaps for its capital city of Kanazawa, an old castle town rich in history and natural beauty and surprisingly compact in size (a good thing -- more on this later). Kanazawa offers a range of sightseeing destinations and cultural experiences -- not to mention the tasty food -- that will delight history buffs and artisans alike. Two popular destinations are the ruins of Kanazawa Castle and the famous garden of Kenrokuen.
As I came to find out on my most recent trip to the Hida region, the gassho-zukuri villages of Gokayama and Shirakawa and the old quarter of Takayama are not the only anachronistic hamlets hidden amongst this area's numerous mountains and valleys.