During the Edo Period Kanazawa rivaled Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo) in its size, power, and cultural importance. Today the city is a beautiful destination where Japanese history and culture is well preserved and presented for tourists. The main attraction of the city is the Kenrokuen Garden which is one of Japan’s 3 most beautiful gardens.
Kanazawa can be reached in under 3 hours by car from Hakuba (185km) and under 4 hours by train from Hakuba Station. Those taking the train will need to switch to the Shinkansen train in Itoigawa.
Kanazawa Castle is a large partially restored castle that was first built in the 16th century. It has been destroyed several times by natural disasters and war and was last restored in 2020. The castle is only a short walk from Kanazawa Station.
Formerly the outer grounds for the Kanazawa Castle, the Kenroren Garden is a beautifully landscaped space and has been designated one of Japan’s 3 most beautiful gardens.
Higashi Chaya Geisha District
A Chaya is a tea house where guests traditionally could relax with tea while being entertained by a geisha. Today there are two Chaya in this area open to the public: the Shima Tea House and Kaikaro Tea House.
Nakamachi Samurai District
This area is at the foot of the Kanazawa Castle grounds and once served as the location where samurai and their families lived. The area is well preserved with narrow roads and water canals dominated the space. You can visit the Nomura-ke which is a restored samurai residence to see what daily life was like for the warrior class and their families. Also nearby is the Shinike Kinenkan Museum which is a restored pharmacy documentation the life of the Edo Period merchant class.
Omicho Market has been in continuous operation for hundreds of years and is still Kanazawa’s largest market with over 200 stalls. While this vibrant marketplace has a wide variety vendors, the most prominent food item is rice bowls topped with fresh Kanazawa sea food.