Kanazawa is a beautiful Japanese city with about 462,000 inhabitants. It is located in Ishikawa prefecture, west-northwest of Tokyo. It is well known for the beautiful Kenrokuen, a garden that is considered one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, Kanazawa Castle, pre-modern Higashi Chaya district, Kanazawa station and more.
On my trip to Japan in November 2014 I went to Kanazawa, visiting all the aforementioned spots and also the fish market.
The way to Kanazawa
We started our tour by car from Nagano. We headed north first. After some time we finally saw the beautiful Sea of Japan.
Close to Kanazawa we made a little detour in order to go to Chirihama beach, the only beach road in Japan. My girlfriend had always wanted to go there, so she was very excited! This was also where the picture shown in my about page was taken.
Find Chirihama beach here on Google maps.
Once we arrived in Kanazawa we visited Kanazawa station. While the station itself is nothing spectacular, the gate in front of the east entrance, Tsuzumimon, is. Finished in 2005, it is almost completely made out of wood. Its style is inspired by a traditional Japanese drum, the Tsuzumi. Hence the name.
Find Kanazawa station here on Google maps.
In the next morning we realized (or at least I did, my girlfriend probably already knew) that our hotel was close to the Omi-cho fish market. It was established in the mid 18th century and hosts about 170 stores, many of them selling fresh fish and seafood caught in the sea of Japan. We tried a lot of seafood and I would recommend anyone to do so too.
Omi-cho market can be reached from Kanazawa station by foot and, while being smaller than Tokyo’s giant Tsukiji fish market, should still definitely be on your list when visiting Kanazawa.
Find the Omi-cho market here on Google maps.
Higashi Chaya District
The Higashi Chaya district transports the flair of pre-modern Japanese times to the visitor. While Chaya means teahouse (making it the “east teahouse district”), usually Geishas would entertain the visitors. Nowadays two tea houses open to the public are still operating. Many of the old buildings have been renewed into restaurants and shops. Some door frames may still be a bit too low for you, so please watch your head.
Unfortunately I did not take many usable pictures in Higashi Chaya district. The one I added below was taken at dawn, so I complemented it with another picture of the same street from Wikimedia.
Find the Higashi Chaya district here on Google maps.
Kenrokuen, Yukitsuri and Kanazawa Castle
The next article, available here, will show you the famous Kenrokuen garden, Yukitsuri and Kanazawa castle.
For now, feel invited to share your favorite spots in Japan in the comment section below.