Also known at “Little Kyoto”, Kanazawa is a stunning destination in Japan and place well worth visiting. This was the second stop on our Geckos Adventures Discover Japan tour and we spent our time here exploring some of Japan’s best gardens, unique museums, most well preserved traditional neighbourhoods and tasting a lot of yummy food!
What makes Kanazawa unique?
Kanazawa is known for three things: gold, geisha and gardens. Almost all the gold in Japan comes from Kanazawa – even the city’s name Kanazawa means ‘stream of gold’. Flakes of gold are even sprinkled onto icecream (of course we had to try some) and into coffee cups (again, had to have a taste).
Another big drawing point is the geisha culture. Two geisha districts either side of the city attract crowds of visitors to see the preserved buildings, as well as for live shows such as dances and shamisen performances. The gardens are also stunning; the most famous one, Kenrokuen, is up on a hill giving incredible views over the city.
Almost 12 hectares (29 acres) in size, Kenrokuen is located on a hill in the central part of the city and is regarded as one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens. We spent an afternoon strolling through the garden taking way too many photos, trying matcha tea at a local tea house and trying the famous gold flaked icecream from one of the side vendors.
Kanazawa Castle is located just across the Ishikawa bridge from Kenrokuen Garden. The castle was originally built in 1583, and has been burnt down a number of times. Traditional construction methods were employed in the renovation from the original building plans of Kanazawa Castle. Traditional carpenters from Kyoto were brought in to teach the local craftsmen in the old techniques.
It is one beautiful castle, and even more so during cherry blossom season or on a snowy day.
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
We’re not really musuem kind of people, however the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art has an installation we just had to see!
In one of the museum’s courtyards is a swimming pool. When viewed from the deck, the pool appears to be filled with water. However, only a layer of water about 10cm deep is suspended over transparent glass. Below the glass is an empty space with aquamarine walls that visitors can enter. Such a cool exhibit!
Also known as the Samurai District, the Nagamachi district of Kanazawa was once home to all of the samurai loyal to the Kaga clan. The area is now beautifully preserved so that you can wander the ancient streets and have a window into daily samurai life.
Sushi & Souffle Pancakes
Some of the best sushi we had on our Japan trip was in Kanazawa! You need to check out Mori Mori Sushi – it is so delicious and cheap.
Another food we became obsessed with here was their souffle pancakes. To make them super light and fluffy they whisk the egg whites and fold them into the batter to make a soft pancake that tastes like you’re eating a cloud.
NEXT STOP: KYOTO
Want to explore Japan? Make sure you check out Geckos Adventures 10 Day Discover Japan Tour
Thanks to Geckos Adventure for allowing us to be apart of your ambassador program for 2017!