Knowing a destination's characteristics can make a trip more interesting! Here is some basic information about Kanazawa, where you can enjoy beautiful traditional culture, a townscape full of nostalgia, and wonderful food. Why not deepen your understanding with this article?
What kind of place is Kanazawa?
In 1583, the feudal lord, Maeda Toshiie, entered (conquered) Kanazawa Castle, and since then, the town of Kanazawa developed as a castle town. It became a large city following Edo (today's Tokyo), Osaka, and Kyoto. The city today is a place that retains vestiges of its historic self, and a place where one can experience the beauty of Japanese culture. At the same time, there are many modern facilities, such as the renovated Kanazawa Station, and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, where you can go to enjoy art. Kanazawa is an alluring town where modern sensibilities blend with an atmospheric scenery that retains elements of the good, old days.
The flatlands of the Kaga region of Ishikawa, where Kanazawa is, has a relatively mild climate. In the winter, temperatures drop due to seasonal northwesterly winds resulting in quite a few snow days. In particular, there is a lot of snow in the mountains. The Noto area, which protrudes into the Sea of Japan, is cooler than Kanazawa in the summer, and has less snow in the winter.
People in Kanazawa tend to be friendly and laid back. Few people clearly state their opinions, and there is the impression that people are careful and quiet. They are also hardworking and hardy, and are diligent workers.
Dialects in Ishikawa, including the Kanazawa-ben dialect spoken in Kanazawa, are largely influenced by Kansai (a region in south-western Japan that includes Osaka and Kyoto) dialects, such as in the accents when words are pronounced. It is also characterized by its many words that sound gentle. One such word is "anyato," which means thank you.
Kanazawa is about 2.5 hours on the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo. it is also about 2.5 hours from Osaka on the limited express Thunderbird. If you want to fly, Komatsu Airport is the local airport. In addition to Haneda and Narita, there are flights that connect to Sapporo, Sendai, Fukuoka, and Naha. Internationally, there are direct flights from Taipei, Seoul, and Shanghai (Pudong). It is about 40 minutes by bus from the airport to Kanazawa Station.
Buses are the main mode of transportation in the city. The Kanazawa Loop Bus is the best service to use if you are visiting the major tourist sites. A retro bonnet bus circles around 12 locations starting from Kanazawa Station and goes to such places as the Higashi Chaya district, Kenrokuen Garden, and Omi-cho Market. The One Day Pass (500 JPY for adult, 250 JPY for child) is a great deal. The Kenrokuen Shuttle that runs between Kanazawa Station and Kenrokuen Garden is also convenient. Also, most destinations are in the city center, so rental bicycles are recommended as well.
Major Tourist Spots
A major tourist spot in Kanazawa is Kenrokuen Garden, which is one of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens. It was given the name, Kenrokuen, which means "having six factors," because it has the six attributes of a beautiful garden: spaciousness, tranquility, artifice, antiquity, springs, and a magnificent view. One of its attractions is that the atmosphere changes each season. Other must-see spots include the Higashi Chaya District, which is designated a Preservation District for Groups of Important Traditional Buildings by the national government, the Buke Yashiki district where samurai houses remain, and Myoryuji, which has hidden chambers and stairs and is referred to as "ninja temple."
Famous Meals to Try
Kanazawa is famous for its "Kaga Ryori," their regional cuisine made using local ingredients. It uses simple flavors with mass appeal, but is refined by the presentation in glamorous tableware. A representative dish is jibuni, a dish unique to Kanazawa made with duck or chicken cooked with vegetables and sudare-fu (fu is seitan) with salty-sweet flavors. The wasabi that is added at the end brings out the sweetness of the meat. The kaisendon seafood bowl with seasonal fish from Kanazawa Port is also a must try! Stop by Omi-cho Market, which sells an abundance of tasty ingredients and has many shops serving kaisendon.
Kanazawa is a city where many traditional crafts have been handed down over the generations. There are many beautiful crafts that demonstrate the artisans' skills, such as Kanazawa-shikki lacquerware, known for the brilliance of its gold lacquer paintings, the colorful silk dyes of Kaga Yuzen, and Kutaniyaki porcelain distinguished by its unique reds. Kaga Temari is popular as an affordable craft item. The temari handballs with vibrant embroidery have uniquely Japanese color patterns. Each temari has a bell inside so that it makes a cute jingling sound whenever it is moved. A temari is also said to act as an amulet and bring happiness, so it is popular as an auspicious gift.
The ancient city of Kanazawa, which once flourished as a castle town, is a place where you can experience good, old Japan. Please enjoy a trip where you can steep yourself in history and culture.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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