Kanazawa - Japan Travel Guide - Japanspecialist


An exquisite slice of Japan's finest culture.

About Kanazawa
Kanazawa is located in the middle of Japan’s main island of Honshu, next to the beautiful Sea of Japan and about 2½ hours by train from Kyoto. The name, meaning "marsh of gold", comes from the city’s extremely wealthy status during Japan’s feudal era. Today it is a modern metropolis, yet one can still feel the samurai spirit here. After Kyoto, this is the second-largest city to be left unscathed by the bombings of World War II, and so many treasures remain here. Note that Kanazawa experiences more rainfall than the rest of Japan and that the area is also a little cooler than Tokyo and Kyoto.

Ninja, geisha, samurai - and classical gardens
Don’t miss the almost 400-year-old Kenrokuen, possibly the most beautiful classical garden in Japan. Its layout is based on the ancient Chinese principles of perfection. The Seisonkaku Villa, located right next door, is a beautiful example of the sophisticated atmosphere that prevailed in the old days. Within walking distance, past the Hirosaka street where exclusive bowls of lacquer and ceramics are sold, you will find the samurai district of Nagamachi. Stroll through the streets of this elegant area and visit the Nomura House, a samurai residence with a beautiful courtyard. To the north is Higashi Chaya-gai, the entertainment district where at night, you can hear the sound of geisha singing and dancing behind closed doors. In the southern part of the city is Myoryuji, also known as the Ninja Temple with hidden halls and secret rooms. To see these, you have to participate in the guided tour which is in Japanese (reservations are recommended). You also must sample Kanazawa’s intricate food culture – it almost matches that of Kyoto.

Other attractions in Kanazawa
To the south is Eiheiji, one of Japan's most important Zen temples. Towards the north is the Noto Peninsula with small, well-preserved old towns. Finally, there is the compelling 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the most interesting modern art museums in Japan.

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