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About Suzu

Located at the tip of the Noto Peninsula, the city of Suzu in Ishikawa Prefecture is surrounded on three sides by the sea and prospered as a port of call for exchanges with the continent and Kitamae ships during the period when maritime traffic was prosperous. With a population of 12,000, it is the smallest city in Honshu, but has a rich Satoyama nature and seaside landscape and culture that has been recognized as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, GIAHS, and life there offers us many insights.


A sea with two faces

Photo: Kichiro Okamura

It has two contrasting seas – “Sotoura”, with its rough waves and rocky shores, and “Uchiura”, with its gentle waves and sandy beaches - and is formed by a beautiful coastline and a landscape of villages and mountains with sheer mountains falling into the sea.


Food culture of the Suzu

Suzu is a like treasure trove of foodstuffs from both the sea and the mountains. Foodstuffs vary according to the season. As well as fish such as bluefin tuna, anglerfish and octopus, abalone and turban shells, seaweed such as wakame and kelp are also abundant. The city is famous for its “Ishiru hotpot” using fish sauce “Ishiru”, vegetarian cuisine “Kuzukiri”. There are three main sake breweries in the city, which produce not only sake but also shochu and other locally brewed liquors. The city has a unique food culture, including fermented food, Noto-Toji and Yobare.

Kiriko festivals

Every autumn, a festival is held almost every day in one of the villages. The Kiriko lanterns, Toro-yama and Hiki-yama are particularly famous, with different characteristics in different districts. Some of the largest Kiriko are over 15 m high and were recognized as a Japan Heritage in 2015. During the festival, there is a custom of “Yobare”, where each house serves a meal, and food from the Satoyama nature and the sea is served to relatives, friends and acquaintances in Wajima-nuri gozen.

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The fried beach method of salt production

Traditional of Suzu

Agricultural rituals such as 'Ae-no-koto', in which the gods presiding over the fields are brought to the house to pray for a good harvest, which is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, are still carried on today. Suzu ware, a black-grey pottery without glaze, is representative of medieval pottery, which was abandoned in the Muromachi period (1336-1573) and subsequently disappeared for about 400 years. It was revived by local people in 1978. It is popular as vases for flowers, sake, bowls and other tableware. Salt production, one of the traditional industries, is carried out using the 'Agehama-shiki' salt production method, in which seawater is pumped up from the sea, and has been preserved and handed down despite being in danger of disappearing.

​Oku-Noto Triennale

The theme of the Oku-Noto Triennale, which has been held every three years since 2017, is 'The most advanced art festival, the cutting edge of art'. So far, 112 groups from 22 countries and regions have participated in the Triennale. Based on a tour of the cape, the artists discover the potential of Suzu. TheTriennale is held as a singular point of hope in a place where the life and culture of all parts of Japan are concentrated and their origins spring forth.

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Hiroyuki Okumura "Wind and Wave"

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