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Immaculate gardens and Traditional Craft

With castles, crafts, and arguably Japan’s best landscape garden, Kanazawa is a treasure trove.

Discover Kanazawa

Perched along the coast of the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa is a gem of a city. Affectionately referred to as ‘Little Kyoto’ due to the abundance of historical and cultural charms found there, Kanazawa was the second biggest city to avoid destruction during WW2, meaning that it is still possible to admire the Edo-era castles, 17th-century gardens, and the samurai district, which have all endured.

Kanazawa is home to one of the ‘Three Great Gardens of Japan,’ though many believe that it is the very best. Kenroku-en is a stunning strolling-style garden, founded in the 1620s by a powerful local feudal clan. Spread over nearly 25 acres, the gardens comprise charming tea houses, an ancient fountain, ponds, and a web of pathways ready to be explored. A diverse range of flowering trees were planted in the garden to ensure that it is beautiful all year round, with an ever-changing landscape. In early spring, see plum trees bloom before the bright pink cherry blossoms take over. In autumn, the orange and gold maple trees create an enchanting view. In winter, there is naturally less foliage, but a selection of pine trees topped with powdered snow contributes to a festive effect. The gardens were originally part of the outer Kanazawa Castle. For history enthusiasts, the Kanazawa Castle Park and the adjacent Kanazawa Castle offer a glimpse into the city’s feudal past, with reconstructed castle buildings and sweeping views of the city from the watchtowers.

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Kanazawa as you explore the historical districts of Nagamachi and Higashi Chaya. In Nagamachi, stroll through narrow lanes lined with traditional samurai residences, witnessing the architectural elegance and historical significance of these well-preserved homes. Step into the world of geisha culture in Higashi Chaya, where beautifully adorned teahouses transport you to a bygone era. Experience the art of tea ceremony or simply wander through the charming streets, admiring the wooden lattice facades and the atmospheric ambiance.

Kanazawa is also considered the epicenter of traditional Japanese crafts, and UNESCO has designated Kanazawa a city for craft and folk art. Famous for its gold leaf, local gold masters will beat thin sheets of paper to less than a millimeter of thinness, so thin that it would disappear if rubbed between your fingers. Kaga yuzen dyeing is a process of painting vibrant, rich patterns onto natural fibers like silk, then processing them in a traditional way to create kimono. There are many places in Kanazawa to see this process and try on the final kimonos. The Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts provides a deep insight into more of the region’s traditional crafts, including lacquerware, and ceramics. For contemporary works, The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art showcases contemporary artworks from around the world and hosts innovative exhibitions and installations.

Indulge in Kanazawa’s renowned culinary delights, with a focus on fresh seafood and traditional local dishes. Explore Omicho Market, a bustling food market offering an abundance of seafood, produce, and local snacks. Savor the melt-in-your-mouth delicacy of Kanazawa’s prized seafood, such as the succulent snow crab and the delicate white shrimp. Don’t miss the chance to try Kanazawa’s signature dish, kaizen-don, a rice bowl topped with an array of fresh seafood.

Tours in Kanazawa

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