Kanazawa Sightseeing & Attractions
Our top picks of things to see and do
The historical city of Kanazawa has much to offer to the explorer. A samurai district, entertainment district which has survived hundreds of years with little change, one of Japan’s top 3 gardens, the alpine villages of Shirakawa and more.
Agreed as one out of three top gardens in Japan, the Kenrokuen is the gem in Kanazawa’s crown. It is described as the Garden of Six Attributes, which make it the quintessential traditional garden:
Admission is 300 yen but is free during the cherry blossom season. And for an additional few hundred yen you can enjoy some tea and snacks in one of the tea houses within the garden.
Kenrokuen, Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa
For a little bit of fun and variety it is highly recommended that explorers visit the Ninjadera, or ‘Ninjya Temple’ as it is translated (but actually named Myoryuji Temple) . It is in fact a standard and real temple but with the added features of traps, secrete passage ways, trap doors, a suicide room, and others.
You can only check out the temple by taking an hour tour, which is only in Japanese. English guide books are provided however. The tour is 800 yen.
Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 921-8031, Japan
One of the charms of Kanazawa are its finely preserved geisha districts, or ‘chaya’ as they are called, which literally means ‘tea house’. Here patrons will be given a song and dance, conversation, tea and sweets. With paved streets and wooden houses, the chaya take one back hundreds of years into the Edo Period.
Of the three chaya in Kanazawa (Higashi-Chayamachi, Kazuemachi and Nishi-Chayamachi), Higashi Chaya is the largest and most impressive. It features cafes, shops and two Chaya which are open to the public.
In addition to the Chaya (Geisha Districts) Kanazawa also has maintained Nagamachi, an old samurai district located at the base of the old Kanazawa Castle. Nagamachi is home to a handful of intriguing museums and homes on display with Nomura-ke and Shinise Kinenkan being at the top of the list.
http://www.nomurake.com/ (old samurai residence and Japanese garden)
Kanazawa長町, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0865, Japan
http://www.kanazawa-cci.or.jp/shinise/memorialhall/ (old pharmacy museum)
Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0865, Japan
While the castle has burnt down several times through out history the only original part that still stands is the castle gate. Reconstruction of the castle has been on going since the early 1800s. The gate and walls of the castle have been rebuilt however the keep is yet to be reconstructed. Until then travelers can find great pleasure in admiring the mote, gate and gardens of the castle grounds. It is open for the public with a fee of 300 yen.
More than the Hida Folk outdoor Museum, Shirakawa is the real deal, a living and breathing network of ancient towns located twenty five miles South East of Kanazawa. The region is accessible by bus or car only.
The landscape is dotted with the regions signature Gassho-zukuri homes: farm houses with extremely steeped roofs (in order to curtail the heavy snow fall), reminiscent of the Chalets of the Swiss. Grass and straw are used to make the roof thatching and are over 20 inches thick.
The region of Shirakawa go features many villiages including the main attraction: Ogimachi. Additionally you can visit the Gokayama region for smaller and less tourist swamped villages such as: Suganuma and Ainokura.
Fresh seafood just brought in from the Sea of Japan and sold for your convenience. But its not just fish, the market also has an excellent assortment of fruits and veggies.
As you would assume the earlier you get there the better (if you want sea food) otherwise you can come in the afternoon and still find plenty of things to peruse at the 200 plus stalls and shops.
Aokusa-machi, Kanazawa, Japan