Top Ten Japan Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Kayak the Bent Finger
By Brent Madison

Visit Japanese hot springs, small bays and charming villages by kayak. Paddle the coast around Noto's bent finger, which juts out from Ishikawa Prefecture, for a view of Japanese rural life like no other. Framed by a dramatic and rugged western coastline, you will be dwarfed by the sea and the towering mountains that fill the peninsula.

Skip Noto's tightly curved east coast—though calm and protected, it's also more touristed—and head to the weather-beaten northern and western coasts. Lug your gear to the small town of Himi on the peninsula's eastern base, and begin the 360-mile trek around this stretch of coast. As you poke along in gentle seas on the trip north, explore inlets, picturesque lighthouses and even the famous Senmaida, 1,000 ricefields vista. Overnight in local hostels or Japanese minshuku, and spend your mornings checking out local life in the area's markets.


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