Nami no hana (波の花), or “wave flowers,” is a phenomenon that occurs along the coast of the top of the Noto Peninsula, particularly around coasts of Wajima and Suzu, during the winter.
Video courtesy of Rachel Rasfeld.
Between mid-November and late February, the winds in the northern sea of Japan can reach 13 meters/second, while the waves are about 4 meters high.* The sea is cold and rough, and the mucus of the botanical plankton floating in the water turns into a white, foamy substance. This substance is white at the start of winter, but becomes yellow as it mixes with rock particles over the course of the season.
Although the wave flowers can be seen on clear days, it’s best to go on stormy days when the sea is violent to get the full effect.
Photos and directions after the cut.
I took this picture on 2 January 2011 around 3 pm at the Sosogi Coast near the Tarumi waterfall (曽々木海岸垂水の滝前海岸), between Wajima and Suzu on the 249. The weather was cloudy but the sea was fairly calm.
In comparison, I took this photo on 25 December around 1 pm, also at Sosogi Coast. The weather was awful—there were high winds, hail, and snow all afternoon—and the sea was so violent that the foam was spraying up onto the road.
This is a fascinating natural phenomenon, so if you haven’t paid a visit to the Okunoto yet, now is the time!
Map: Sosogi Coast （曽々木海岸）
Directions: Take the 249 along the Sosogi Coast (曽々木海岸), which is between Suzu (珠洲) and Wajima (輪島).
This is a great scenic drive—you can also access Mitsukejima, “Battleship Rock” (見附島) and Nizami Coffee in Suzu (二三味珈琲); Malga Gelato, Flatt’s by the Sea and Flatt’s Bakery in Noto; Senmaida; and Wajima’s Morning Market (輪島朝市), Lacquerware Museum (輪島漆器), and Kiriko Museum (キリコ会館) (see prior link) if you drive the loop between Anamizu-Wajima-Suzu-Noto.
*Translated from 「波の花情報」on the Wajima City Website. (Japanese)
Leah Zoller is a second-year CIR in Anamizu and the editor of this blog. Rachel Rasfeld is an ALT in Wakayama-ken. They spent Christmas Day 2010 getting attacked by wave flowers and driving around the Okunoto.