Smacked in between Tokyo and Osaka, a 2.5 hours train ride away from both vastly popular cities, Kanazawa is the beautiful city that often get dismissed by travellers. It is for this reason that the city has managed to maintain its quaint charm of yesteryears, coupled with the fact that it was spared from the air raids during World War II. Perhaps the inaccessibility of the city had also contributed to it being less popular than its neighbouring counterparts. And so, with the introduction of the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo in 2015, it has gained popularity amongst locals looking for a day trip.
In this post, we will share some of the lure of this forgotten city with both its tourist attractions and food offerings.
Well planned city
Kanazawa’s two main tourist attractions is that of the Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen Park. Both of which have other attractions strategically located within a 1-2km radius from them. This is thus good news for those avid travellers keen to explore the city on foot. And for those who don’t, there’s always the option of a well developed bus system that travels either clockwise or anti clockwise around the castle.
Operating hours: March 1st – October 15th: 7am – 6pm, October 16th – end of February: 8am – 5pm
Admission fees: free
Directions: Walk 20-25 minute south east of Kanazawa Station or take the loop buses from the station
Kanazawa Castle Kenrokuen Park
Well preserved city of a unique heritage of history and culture
Beside the tourist flocked Kyoto, Kanazawa also had most of its Edo era architecture well preserved for those looking to peer into Japan’s past. The tea districts of Higashi Chaya tells of a past where Geishas roam the streets and serve wealthy patrons in lavish tearooms. Where it used to be the entertainment district, is now restaurants, souvenir shops and museum.
Directions: Take the right loop of the Kanazawa Loop Bus from Kanazawa Station. Get off at Hashibacho (Koban-mae) bus stop (number RL5), from where the district can be reached in a five minute walk.
Higashi Chaya district
In addition to Geishas, you could learn more about Samurais, who were once living at the Nagamachi Samurai District, a short walk from the Kanazawa Castle. Being the best place to know more about Samurais, walking through the winding streets feel like a throwback in time to feudal Japan.
Nagamachi Samurai District
Being on the coast of the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa has no lack of seafood, and it is no wonder that Kaisendon, rice with fresh seafood, is a must-try in Kanazawa. Its beautiful arrangement of the expensive ingredient is definitely both a treat to the eyes and anybody’s Facebook or Instagram feed.
There are many other must try food such as the ramen from Kagura and takikomi gohan from Ikkon. For desserts, try the ice cream with gold flakes from Hakuichi, and Kintsuba’s fried red bean paste or red bean covered mochi from Enpachi.
Whether you are a fan with nostalgic taste or have an eye for insta-worthy places and food, Kanazawa will satisfy you without draining you of your energy because your pace will naturally slow down in the tranquility it brings.