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Travel Guide to Kanazawa, Japan

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All the cities of Japan are deemed to be great hubs. They accommodate excellent gourmet facilities, have exceptional restaurants and top-tier attractions, and render infinite shopping opportunities. However, some cities are home to unique landmarks and experiences you can only find if you visit. Kanazawa is no exception!


The capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa, is situated on Japan's central Honshu Island. In Edo time, Kanazawa was home to the wealthy Maeda clan. Since then, it has been populated by artists and craftsmen and has become a hot spot cultural center. Kanazawa is one of the top attractions of Japan due to its mesmerizing historical sites and its flawless natural beauty.

Best Attractions in Kanazawa

Kenroku-en


Kenroku-en, located in the heart of Kanazawa, Ishikawa, is a private garden famed for its beauty and infinite peace. It is listed in the books of Japan as one of the top three national gardens, and the literal meaning of Kenrokuen is 'Garden of six attributes'. These six attributes are derived from an ancient Chinese book that says a perfect garden has six features. The haunting memory of this garden is that it depicts a different landscape in each converting season and has infinite breathtaking spots for you to take pictures and self-clicks. Dotted with artificial ponds, well-protected natural hills, and perfectly built tiny houses, the Kenrokuen Garden offers tranquillity and antique magnificence. If you are planning a trip in November, be ready to be dazzled by snow-covered landscapes.

Kanazawa Castle


The castle has a medieval history, and it was home to the wealthy Maeda clan, who were the rulers of Kaga Province. This lavish castle met its sad fate many times. It was burnt down and later used for various purposes such as tennis court, military barracks and university campus. Then alas, the government took control of the Castle grounds, restored it to its original and historic beauty, and finally opened it to the public in 1996. Today, the Kanazawa Castle stands as the main attraction of Kanazawa. You can go there, explore the grounds, get a ticket and enjoy a breathtaking view of the city from the castle windows. Feel the majestic air of the prevalent times as soon as you enter the castle. Loosen the reins of your imagination and treat yourself to a luxurious Castle trip. The same tour that brings you to the Kenroku-en Garden also brings you to the Kanazawa Castle, find out more by clicking the link below.

Nomura Clan Samurai House


This again is a historic house hosting a charming garden where you can feel the bells of infinite peace and tranquil serenity. This house was in the ownership of the Namura clan, which was a powerful Samurai family servicing the Maeda clan for many centuries in the Kaga Province. But over the years, the house met a tragic end. It was totally destroyed until, in the early 20th century, a wealthy businessman bought it and restored it to great glory. Up to this date, the house is known as one of the major attractions of Kanazawa. You can also feel the ancient vibes of the Samurai family whilst having tea in the lively tea room. It is a really worthwhile place to visit if you are in Kanazawa. The great part is, that you can hit this location on that same full-day tour mentioned above.

Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Arts


Also known as IPMA, the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Arts started up in 1959 and has a colossal fine arts and crafts collection, including cultural art pieces and fine works from many local artists and craftsmen. This Museum of Art hosts a group of five centuries dating back from the Maeda family collection to modern-day art of the 20th century. Stroll down the galleries and be awed by the magnificent antiques, sculptures, oil paintings, war artifacts, Buddha scrolls, old ceramics, etc. It is a treasure trove for art lovers. You can travel through time and history by just walking down the sophisticated modern galleries boasting a touch of timeless history written in the masterpieces they host.

Higashi Chaya District


This place also held historical value and was a place of entertainment and fun. Since the Edo period, this district was used for performing dances and playing traditional Japanese musical instruments. East of Omicho Market and Kanazawa Castle Park lies the Higashi Chaya District, the biggest of the three well maintained and well-preserved chaya districts in Kanazawa. There are plenty of small restaurants and cafes here plus many sweet shops. Also, you can stroll through several interesting crafts shops and small stores.

Omicho Market


Another fascinating place to see in Kanazawa is the Omicho market. It is situated in the center of Kanazawa and has almost 170 stalls of fresh food. It is the primary market for trying all sorts of food. You can find fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, seafood, dried food, pickles, and many other eating items. Some stalls and shops also offer food which you can eat while standing on the street. It also has all kinds of spices available if you wish to cook up a Japanese menu or one of your own countries.

Myoryuji Temple


Breathing history within its very walls, the Myoryuji Temple was made to provide escape routes and was used as a secret outpost for the media lords. The temple served as a defensive strategy and had countless secret passages, trapdoors, watchtowers, and pitfalls. The temple gives the deception of a two-story building when looked at from the front. But as soon as you enter it, you realize that it is actually a four-story building with 23 rooms and 29 staircases. Suppose you want to visit the Myoryuji Temple and feel the pulsating breath of history inside you. In that case, you need to make a prior appointment.

Mount Status


This is one of the most favourite hiking spots of travellers and much preferred, and you can actually see the whole city view from on top of it. Along the way, there are many beautiful shrines and impressive trials. It is one of the peak top spots in the city and one of the best attractions of Kanazawa.

Best Day Trips to Take From Kanazawa


In Kanazawa, you have plenty of day trip options available. All you need is a guide and transportation to take you to some of the best locations from Kanazawa. Here we have laid out some of the best day trips for you if you visit Kanazawa.

Kanazawa to Shirakawago


This is a four-hour tour package to the remote hamlet of Shirakawago. It is surrounded by beautiful cottages, huts and houses and is dotted with eye-soothing greenery. Breeze through the exotic UNESCO World Heritage site and let the calm serenity of the quiet spot sink in inside you. This small yet majestic place showcases traditional Gassho Zukuri farmhouses that are more than 250 years old. This trip will commence when you take the weekend only bus tour from Kanazawa Station to Shirakawago and conclude the journey in 6 hours. Once you reach there, stroll along the serene countryside.

Kanazawa to Takayama


Takayama is one of Japan's most picturesque and dazzling towns and offers the most scenic views. It is dotted with tiny houses made in the Edo Period. Many small museums also add historical and cultural value to this small picturesque town. Just a little walk down to the city's center, Hida no Sato is a small attractive group of thatch roof houses. The Sanmachi Suji District in Takayama is also a must-visit and lies east of the Miya Gawa River. Suppose you are travelling in April or October. In that case, you can see the great Matsuri Festival, one of Japan's most lavish festivals. During this festival, gorgeous 11 floats are pulled through the town of Takayama. Near Festival Floats Hall, you can visit the Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine.

Kanazawa to Toyama


Toyama is one of the most glorious attractions in Japan due to its hiking and sightseeing mountain ranges. Let the luxurious feel of blooming flowers and abundant attractions sink into your mood. Be prepared to be uplifted by the tranquil and peaceful vibes surrounding the place. Toyama can be easily reached by getting a train from the Kanazawa station.


Arrange for a full six to seven-hour day tour to conveniently visit the main attractions of Toyoma. One of the best places to visit in Toyoma is the Toyoma Castle which was originally built in 1543 and later rebuilt in 1959. As you stroll down the breathtaking castle grounds, you can view the mesmerizing castle garden and the magnificent castle interiors. Inside, you can also find a local history museum to help you with the town's history.


9 minutes' walk away from the Toyama Castle is the Toyoma Glass art museum. The museum was initially constructed by Kengo Kuma and is famed for its construction. The museum's architecture deserves the best applause as it is made from the most pleasing finish. As you go inside the museum, you will witness an indescribable collection of contemporary glass art. While visiting the art collection, you can also visit the Toyoma City Public library, which is housed in the same building. The visit is worthwhile and as it opens up to you a splendid showcase of magnificent art.


Enjoy a silent boat trip on the Matkusawa River in Toyama. Although it is a little costly, it is one of the most enjoyable tours in Toyoma. The boat will sail through sweet honey blossoms and take you swiftly to your destination.

Kanazawa to Komatsu


Just 17 minutes away from Kanazawa by express train lies the third biggest city of Ishikawa – Komatsu. The first sushi restaurant in Kanazawa was opened up in Komatsu. The Komatsu Castle was built in 1640 by the Kanazawa's third Maeda lord, Yoshitsune. Today a glamorous Rojou Park now stands in its place.
Another beautiful gem of Komatsu is the Forest of Wisdom in the Hiyomachi town. It is a tiny town hosting only seven houses that strive to maintain and protect this beautiful moss garden named the Forest of Wisdom. This natural heritage is a gem and needs excellent effort and groundwork for its protection.


Another fascinating attraction of Komatsu is Natadera. Although there are many majestic shrines and temples in Japan, there is none that matches Natadera. Situated on a natural rock boundary spot and shrined in peace and static quietude, this shrine can be climbed carefully or enjoyed from a distance.

Since it maintains its natural elegance and earth elements and insists on using no artificiality in its construction, you have to be extra careful when climbing it as there are no railings and no perfect staircases. But due to its scenic natural beauty, it offers many magical spots for pictures and memories. However, if you are taking old people or children along, it is best to make them wear sneakers and flat shoes to climb the mountainous range safely. Natera has been well preserved by the Komatsu authorities because of its historical value.

Kanazawa to Noto Peninsula Tour


From Kanazawa to Noto is a 9-hour private tour with different stops on the way. Stride down the Wajima market and then on a fascinating trip to Senmaida rice fields. The one thousand-year-old market is a must-see as it holds historical value and sells fresh meat, fish, vegetables, spices, and dry items. Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the busy marketplace and enjoy the stall lining the streets. Next facing the sea, behold 2000 green rice paddies in the Senmaida rice fields. Behold an extravagant bright landscape on this field which is also an ideal spot for photography.


Next, you can visit the famous Okunoto salt farm. There you can witness the 500-year-old method of natural salt production with rich minerals. Next, continue to the Chirihama driveway, a breathtaking drive along the Imahama Beach to Hakui – Gun's Chirihama Beach. The mesmerizing Noto is a beautiful secluded region and one of Japan's most famous tourist attractions. It is must visit if you wish to see some of the most delicate highlights of Japan.

Best Places to Eat in Kanazawa


Kanazawa is one of the most bustling cities in Japan and is famous for its food and delicious cuisines. It is the heart of laughter and social and cultural heritage. If you are a food lover, you can luckily find some of the finest places to eat during your visit.


Here is a list of must-visit eateries which you need to watch out for if you are touring the busy Kanazawa:

Cottage


As the name suggests, the place offers friendly and homely vibes and is known for serving homemade and fresh pasta. You can also get freshly baked pizza here with the most flavoursome taste and the best crust. The Irish spiked restaurant is owned by Tony and Momo. They are always busy behind the counters baking a fresh menu for you. They are famed for their hospitality and their politeness. You can instantly feel at home while you are there. If you are a vegetarian, you can ask for special requests. Tony and Momo will be more than pleased to comply with your wishes. Since there is an excellent beverage variety, you can stuff in a whole meal at this small yet most delicious place in Kanazawa.

Fuwari


Fuwari is a famed dining spot of Kanazawa and one of the most tourists visited ever. Fuwari offers a regional menu but always has new fresh ideas and dishes for its customers. If you are looking for a taste of traditional and something exotic, Fuwari is just the place for you. Behold one of the tastiest sashimi plates and the softest octopus tempura ever. The beef Ponzu is also a must-have if you are in Fuwari. Since it serves the best beef grills in town, it is also one of the busiest restaurants, and you may have to get a prior reservation if you plan to eat there.

Seimensho – Curry udon


Focusing entirely on the quality of food, Seimensho serves one of Kanazawa's best and freshest menus. All the ingredients are ordered locally, and seasonal fresh vegetables are from a nearby town, Ono. Siemens serves the best curry udon in the city, and it is the restaurant's highlight. The noodles and tempura are also very crispy and tasty, and the vegetables are flavorful. Although it is a little expensive, its prices are relatively lower than those of others when compared. The curry is so addictive that you will repeatedly want to come to his place.

Coil


Try Coil for fun and a totally creative style of eating hosomaki sushi. Get ready to be welcomed with contemporary décor with a touch of traditional theme. The unique feature of this restaurant is that, unlike other restaurants, you can custom make your own sushi and roll it up too. Filling options include many varieties of fish, including salmon roe to plum jellyfish. You can also try different vegetables such as radish, avocados and pickled ginger. Mexican beans and camembert combinations are also available for a more upbeat flavour. The presentation of the served menu is so artistic and mouthwatering that you can hardly keep your fingers to yourself. Now rolling up your own hosomaki sushi definitely requires some talent, especially if you do it the first time. Still, it indeed adds more excitement and flavour to your meal. Coil gives you a flavorful fun edge with a deliciously crispy and fresh meal.


The relaxed and welcoming atmosphere means that you and your family can enjoy leisure lunch or dinner whenever you want an awe-inspiring experience and some golden memories to etch in your memory box.

Jiyuken


Founded in 1909, Jiyuken is a Japanese restaurant that prepares traditional food and Western-inspired food. The unique recipes handed over for generations are matchless and taste unforgettably delicious. The special demi-glaze sauce is a fantastic sauce that enriches the restaurant's menu. The rice omelette made by frying rice and beef and then wrapping it artistically in a fried egg is a menu item that is going to be an unforgettable flavour of your life. You can also order homemade hamburgers, potato croquettes, and fried shrimp in béchamel sauce for lunchtime and dinnertime. Cream croquettes are also very delicious. Overall, the eating experience is not only relaxed and friendly but gives you the feeling of importance and homely love.

Full of beans


Now this place speaks of sparkle and joy and happy chatter. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions and the best place for the delicious menu. Their menu is constantly changing to provide fun variety and unique flavours to their customers. Their vegetarian and dessert list is a must-try. Their steak sets and lunch plates boost your energy and electrify your tastebuds. Full of beans offers lunch and dinner at reasonable rates; therefore, it is more popular amongst the town's youth. You will be able to see the young and dashing couple enjoying fresh meals day after day. This small restaurant is one of the best places to eat in Kanazawa.

Gyoshoan


This restaurant is famed for its Japanese cuisine and having fresh seafood delivered directly from Ishikawa's leading ports. They also have their own fish tank, so you can choose your own live seafood and have it cooked on order. Their seafood delicacies include local fish in grilled, steamed and dried forms. Well known for their beautifully arranged and stuffed fresh sashimi, Gyoshoan is an exclusive place to eat lunch or dinner if you are a seafood lover. Delicious food served in an exotic manner combined with friendly and welcoming staff makes Gyoshoan a worthwhile place to visit if you are in Kanazawa. You can have lunch or dinner ordered at your convenience. But since the restaurant is a busy little place most of the time, it is best to make reservations beforehand.

Conclusion


Experience a magical time in Kanazawa with our travel advice and make your memories worthwhile with Kanazawa's bounteous attractions and alluring sites. Besides, don't forget to share this article with others, so the knowledge can't be limited.

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