The natural beauty of Noto Peninsula and the foot of Mt. Hakusan is unlike anything you will see in Kanazawa. Most tourists visit these areas via bus or taxi, but with the limited number of buses and the price of taxis, neither is ideal for travel in the countryside. Instead, why not rent a car? Although somewhat expensive for a solo outing, when split among a group of 3-4 it is a very reasonable option. For example, the fee of a compact car for a day trip from 8am to 8pm is about 6,000 yen. Even if you drove 300 kilometers (186 miles), gas would only cost 2,400 yen. A group of four could enjoy a full day of travel for less than 2,500 yen per person. The advantage of renting a car is not only the price. By renting a car, one can leisurely explore the countryside and take the time to get a glimpse of the daily life of the locals. Wouldn’t you love to take a road trip through nature, with stops here and there for picnics on the beach, and breaks at roadside cafes?
There are many car rental companies throughout Kanazawa and Ishikawa. Some of them let you return the car to a location different from where you borrowed it from for no additional cost. For example, start your trip from Kanazawa Station, rent a car and drive along the ocean coast of Noto to the tip of the peninsula. Wind back to Wakura Onsen, return the car, and spend a relaxing night at a hot spring resort. You can take a bus or train straight back to Kanazawa the next day. If you have to get back to Tokyo, you can enjoy a drive around Noto and return the car to Noto Airport before flying back to the big city. Another popular road trip from Kanazawa is to the mountain villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama. You can drop the car off in Takayama at the end. During the summer and autumn, Hakusan Super Rindo toll road offers a spectacular view of Mt. Hakusan, one of Japan’s three most famous mountains.