I’ve been driving out to Chugu Onsen for ten years now. The view along Route 157 heading to Chugu Onsen from Kanazawa has been completely etched in my memory. I’m disappointed to see the traffic volume gradually decreasing. The number of cars on the road after passing Tsurugi has also decreased dramatically.

I always stop at Negoro in Kinameri and go to the mochi shop. It’s fun to talk with the older woman there. I hear that she’s a wonderful grandmother the same age as Empress Michiko. I hope she stays in good health. This time I purchased six kusamochi (rice cakes). I ate one while driving. The fresh sticky kusamochi stretches out easily, so pulling it left and right will stretch it out more than 50 cm. It tastes really good with the scent of yomogi (mugwort) and the flavor of azuki (red beans).

Negoro Confectionery
Ishikawa-ken, Hakusan-shi, Naka 60 Kinameri, 920-2326
Tel: 076-255-5415
Open: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Occasionally closed but no regular days off. Always closed January 1 to January 4

While automobile traffic on the roads is decreasing, the number of wild animal sightings, especially groups of monkeys, are increasing. This time I even thought I saw bear dung on the roadway near the Hakusan Nature Conservation Center. I stopped and went back to double check. I was right. Once in my mountain climbing days, a veteran hiker showed me how to spot bear dung.

Chugu Onsen opens for business in late April every year and closes again in late November. In just a month these famous hot springs will be closed for the winter. I wonder how many more visits I’ll be able to make….

Hakusan Natural Park – Chugu Onsen
Nishiyama Ryokan – member of the Society for the Preservation of Japan’s Hidden Hot Springs
Ishikawa Prefecture, Hakusan-shi, Chugu Onsen 920-2324
About 50 km from the center of Kanazawa
Tel: 076-256-7219 (main)
Fax: 076-256-7643
Toll free: 0120-86-721
Hot springs are available for daytime visitors 10 am – 3 pm
Open every day
Adults: 550 yen