When the new Shinkansen (bullet train) route opens the prefecture of Ishikawa to the wider world, it will be a surprise to the majority of foreign visitors. One of the most historically rich and best-preserved regions anywhere in Japan, it has largely been bypassed in favour of other, easier-to-access areas. That’s now set to change – the new route will mean that visitors can arrive to Kanazawa, the prefecture’s largest city, from Tokyo by train quicker than they can by air.

With geisha districts, a grand castle and Kenroku-en, one of Japan’s very best traditional gardens, Kanazawa has enough to delay travellers for a long time, but wider Ishikawa offers so much more that staying still would be a mistake.

From towering Mount Hakusan to the Japan Sea on Honshu’s west coast, Ishikawa has a variety of landscape to match the variety of its revered cuisine.

It hasn’t been part of Japan’s traditional “golden route” but that may well be set to change. See it now before it gets too busy – this is your chance to experience all of Japan in miniature.

map Art Museum Cooking course and Soy factory Hyakumangoku festival Higashi Chaya Gold leaf shop Guitar shop Gyokusen Tei Kanazawa Castle Kenroku-en Kaga Yuzen Ohi Ware Art Museum Katamachi and around Suzuki Museum Morihachi Sweets Omicho Market  Kanazawa’s Shrines and Temples  Kanazawa’s Shrines and Temples  Kanazawa’s Shrines and Temples  Kanazawa’s Shrines and Temples The Wagasa Maker map Araya Ryokan Shobu-yu festival Tokuda Pottery Kakusenkei gorge trail Sake brewery Snow crab auction Soba making Yuwaku Hakusan Super Rindo map Wajima lacquerware Boat ride and coast line Noto’s seafood Glass blowing Not-o wine Rice fields Taiko at night Soji-ji Myoji-ji