The city of elegant and sophisticated culture : Kanazawa
As you’re approaching the city of Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture, the modern architecture of the Kanazawa station might fool you for a moment and made you think that you’re arriving to another “Tōkyō”, which is far away from the truth. If you immerse yourself in Japanese art and history, the city is crown-jewel city for you, you are in a city where buildings stand out against the historical streets of Japan.
This town is incredibly rich in art and history which reflect the Edo period of Japan very well. One of the best examples is the Nagamachi street, well-known as old samurai residences. Here you will be able to visit the famous samurai residences, Nomura family for example, surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden.
From here on, you can easily reach the traditional Higashi chaya district with its narrow streets and geisha houses, that will make you feel like you’ve entered the old feudal period of Japan. The reason why this area is known as the Chaya district because of the many preserved old tea houses (in Japanese known as “ochaya”), but be careful not to confuse this word with “chashitsu” or the “tea room”, the place where Japanese practice the traditional tea ceremony. Nowadays, these same houses are used as workshops for the talented artisans who continue to perpetuate the old tradition of the gold-leaf craft that emerged in the 16th century and recieved high evalutaion for the technique used in jewels, accessary, tablewares, and cosmetics. At the same period, porcelain products and “raku” pottery start to produce in Kanazawa which you will be able to see in the museum here, as well as in the shops all around the town. There are many picturesque shops that sell “chawan” (ceramic tea cups) used to drink “matcha” (powdered green tea) during the tea ceremony, some of which can be considered as the most expensive in Japan. It might be interesting to note that most of the traditional shops allow you to create your own work of art, so if you have any artistic inclinations, we warmly suggest you give it a try!
In the vicinity, you can enjoy a walk through the Kenrokuen garden, one of the three most outstanding gardens in Japan, a fantastic Japanese-style garden that has its colours changing every season, stretching across several hectares. Just in front of the garden, you will be able to admire the wonderful castle of Kanazawa, built in 1583.
At the Omicho market back at the city center, you will find an incredible variety of fresh vegetables, fish and other marine products, so don’t hesitate to taste the fine local gastronomical products. Kanazawa is truly a traditional city, but it is also known as the 21st century museum of contemporary art that exihibits masterpieces by famous artists from all over the world.
Before you back to your home, take a rest at onsen (hot spring) like Yamanaka onsen as there are many rich onsens in Ishikawa prefecture.
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