Kanazawa is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, on Japan’s central Honshu Island. It’s known for well-preserved Edo-era districts, art museums and regional handicrafts. Kenrokuen Garden, begun in the 17th century, is celebrated for its classic landscape designs incorporating ponds and streams. Adjacent Kanazawa Castle was built in the 1580s, after the defeat of the Peasant’s Kingdom, Japan’s only Buddhist fiefdom.
Area: 180.6 mi²
Weather: 64°F (18°C), Wind NE at 7 mph (11 km/h), 84% Humidity
Local time: Friday 12:59 PM
Population: 462,361 (2010) UNdata
Prefecture: Ishikawa Prefecture
1. Kanazawa Station (JR railway)
Kanazawa Station is one of the gates of Kanazawa to visitors. The station has a huge glass dome called the Motenashi Dome. The Motenashi Dome looks like a huge umbrella and it is said that this dome is offering visitors an umbrella as Kanazawa has many rainy days. This shows a welcoming (“motenashi”) atmosphere to visitors.
There is a huge wooden gate called the Tsuzumimon in Kanazawa station. A tsuzumi is traditional Japanese hand drum, and “mon” means gate. When you arrive at Kanazawa station, you can feel the welcoming mood and historical atmosphere right away.
2. Kenrokuen (Traditional Japanese Garden)
It is said that there are 3 must-see Japanese Gardens in Japan. Kenrokuen is one of them. It is located next to Kanazawa Castle in the center of Kanazawa city. Kenrokuen used to belong to the Maeda family, who ruled the Kaga Clan from 16th century to 19th century.
You can feel the fresh air as you enjoy the ponds, fountains, and waterfalls in the garden and enjoy the traditional craftsmanship with beautiful stone bridges and stone lanterns. In the garden, there are many trees, like plum, cherry, pine and so on. You will be impressed by magnificent scenery in all seasons. In the winter, you can see yukiduri, the placement of some ropes from the top of the trees and branches in order to protect it from heavy snow.
Open: 7am to 6pm (8am to 5pm in winter)
Adult: 300 yen (free for those over 65)
Age 6-18: 100 yen
3. Nagamachi Yūzen-kan
In a non-traditional building at the edge of the Nagamachi district, the Nagamachi Yūzen-kan displays some splendid examples of Kaga Yūzen kimono dyeing and demonstrates the process. Enquire ahead about trying the silk-dyeing process yourself (¥4000).
4. Kanazawa Castle Park
In Kanazawa, there was a castle of the Lord Maeda Toshiie. Although the original castle was burned in a fire, some of the parts were rebuilt again and again. The Ishikawamon Gate and Sanjikken Nagaya (a storage house of about 50 yards) have both been designated as important cultural assets in Japan.
The place used to be as a base of Japanese army, then a university campus. The place was opened to the public in 1996.
Open: 7am to 6pm (8am to 5pm in winter)
Admission fee: free
5. The 21th Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
This museum was opened in 2004 and because of the uniqueness of its shape, which is round and made of glass walls, this is one of the must-see places for visitors to Kanazawa.
You can enter some of the museum exhibits for free. Since there are lots of hands-on exhibits, both adults and children can enjoy the time in this museum. This is also a good place to get Kanazawa souvenirs.
Open: 10am to 6pm (closed on Monday)
Admission fee: Changes depending on the exhibit
6. Visit a Geisha house
You can visit both places below or pick 1 of them as if your time is so short.
Kaikarō: In Higashi-chaya-gai, Kaikarō is an early-19th-century geisha house refinished with contemporary fittings and art including a red lacquered staircase.
Shima: An Important Cultural Asset, this well-known, traditional-style former geisha house dates from 1820 and has an impressive collection of elaborate combs and shamisen picks.
7. Higashi Chayamachi
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