The rugged Noto Kongo coast is an attraction in itself on the Noto Peninsula. Amongst the important sights on this rough stretch of coastline is Hatago Iwa. Hatago Iwa is a pair of beautiful, weathered rocks sticking out of the water just a few meters off the coast. The two rocks are tied together by a shimenawa rope, and on the larger of the two rocks is located a small shrine. The rocks are said to be a “married” couple, one male and one female.
Shimenawa is a type of rope used for purification in the traditional Japanese shinto religion. The rope is often seen in sacred places, and can indicate the presence of sacred spirits in objects, like trees and rocks. It is believed that the rope can keep away evil spirits.
The Hatago Iwa rocks are very beautiful around sunset. The dim light of the early evening really highlights the unusual shape of the rock formations. That said, it’s a beautiful sight at any time of the day.
Hatago Iwa is also called Noto Futami because of its resemblance to the famous Meoto Iwa rocks near Futami on the Shima peninsula, 300 km south of Noto.
The legend of Hatago Iwa
Legend has it that these rocks were created when the “god” of textile was surprised by bandits in the mountains. He threw his textiles into the sea, and they turned into the rocks we see today. This legend indirectly reveals a bit of the history of the Noto peninsula. Textile has been an important export item for the Noto peninsula for hundreds of years. Especially during the Edo period, Noto was known to produce some of the highest-quality fabrics in all of Japan.
By car: I highly recommend to take a car to Hatago Iwa. There is a small parking area just across the road. If you arrive from the south then you should make sure to leave the 249 main road where it crosses road 36. Parking coordinates: 37.122606, 136.727487
By bus: while it is possible to get to Hatago Iwa by bus, it isn’t very flexible.
- Local bus: I recommend a bus stop called “Urukami Bus Stop” (生神 in Japanese) about 800m south east of Hatago Iwa. You can get to “Urukami Bus Stop” from Hakui Station in 60 minutes (¥1060 in 2018) or from Togi Bus Stop in 5 minutes (¥220 in 2018). Busses leave approximately every 90 minutes so check the schedule carefully.
- Express busses: The nearest larger bus stop would be Togi about 2.2km (1.3mi) north of Hatago Iwa. Express busses, operated by Hokutetsu can take you from Kanazawa (or other places on the Noto Peninsula) to Togi. Take the Kanazawa-Monzen line to get to Togi. From Togi, take a local bus to “Urukami Bus Stop” or walk the 2.2km if the wait for the local bus is too long.
- Train: the most convenient train station with bus connections to “Urukami Bus Stop” is Hakui Train Station. You can get to Hakui from Kanazawa in 31 minutes on the JR Ltd. Express Noto Kagaribi line or 51 minutes on the JR Nanao Line. Both these lines are covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
- Not sure how to take a bus in Japan? Read my post “how to take a bus in Japan“
Recommended route (public transportation) from Kanazawa:
Kanazawa —(Ltd. Express Noto Kagaribi; 31 minutes)—> Hakui
Hakui —(Local bus; 60 minutes)—> Urukami Bus Stop
Planning a trip to the Noto region? Then check out all the other articles about the Noto Peninsula.