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Thought to be named after an Ainu (indigenous Japanese) word for "nose," the Noto-hanto, a national park, juts out into the Nihon-kai and shelters the bays of both Nanao and Toyama. Steep, densely forested hills line the eroded west coast, which is wind- and wave-blasted in winter and ruggedly beautiful in other seasons. The eastern shoreline is lapped by calmer waters and has stunning
views of Tate-yama (Mt. Tate), the Hida Mountains, and even of some of Nagano's alpine peaks more than 105 km (70 miles) away.
A quick sightseeing circuit of the Noto-hanto, from Hakui to Nanao, can be done in six to eight hours, but to absorb the peninsula's remarkable scenery, stay two or three days, stopping in Wajima and at one of the minshuku along the coast; arrangements can be made through tourist information offices in Kanazawa, Nanao, or Wajima.
Fukui, the capital city of the small eponymous prefecture on the Sea of Japan, doesn't have much to draw foreign visitors beyond amazing seafood...
In the northwestern part of Nagano Prefecture, Hakuba Village lies beneath the magnificent Hakuba Range, the best of the northern Japan Alps...