Getting Oriented in the Japan Alps and the North Chubu Coast

“Japan Alps” refers to the mountains in Chubu, with nine prefectures in the heart of Honshu. Gifu, Nagano, and Yamanashi make up the central highlands. Between the Alps and the Sea of Japan is Hokuriku, a narrow coastal belt comprised of Kanazawa, Fukui, and the rugged coastline of the Noto Peninsula. Niigata and Sado Island form the northeastern coast.

  • The Japan Alps. The Alps are divided into three ranges: the northern Hida Mountains, the central Kiso range, and the southern Alps. The northern region is the most popular for hiking and skiing, and is easily accessed from Matsumoto or Nagano. Hot springs are scattered throughout this volcanic region.
  • Kanazawa and the North Chubu Coast. Ishikawa Prefecture stretches from the northern Noto Peninsula to the southern Kaga region. Kanazawa, the administrative, economic, and cultural center of Kaga, is renowned for traditional crafts. The Noto Peninsula has rugged cliffs on its northern Sea of Japan side and calmer bays in the south.

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