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Kanazawa City

Five Ways to Enjoy Kanazawa in Winter

Kanazawa is known for the beauty of each of its seasons, but the winter is particularly spectacular. Here are five ways to enjoy Kanazawa in the winter.

1. Enjoy a Spectacular Snowscape

There are many places in Kanazawa that retain historic streetscapes. The atmospheric scenery of such areas as Higashi Chaya district, with its many teahouses with red-painted bengaragoshi latticed facades lining both sides of the cobblestone streets and the Naga-machi Bukeyashiki district with mud walls and stone-paved streets become even more beautiful in the snow. Kanazawa Castle in the snow is also spectacular. The beautiful contrast between the snow-covered Kanazawa Castle and the bright blue sky is spellbinding, and you may be stopped in your tracks, oblivious of the cold.

Photo credit : Kanazawa City

Kanazawa Castle's Ishikawa-mon Gate that is designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan.

Photo credit : Kanazawa City

Snow fluttering over Higashi Chaya district

1. Enjoy a Spectacular Snowscape

1-1 Marunouchi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

2. Enjoy the Flavors of Winter

Kanazawa, which is close to both the sea and mountains, has wonderful flavors throughout the year, but winter is the high season of Kanazawa gourmet! Seafood such as the king of white fish, nodoguro (blackthroat seaperch), amaebi pink shrimp, winter amberjack, and oysters are in season. Winter Kanazawa specialties such as kabura-zushi and daikon-zushi make their appearance. There is so much good food it's hard to decide what to eat, but the Kanogani snow crab, dubbed the winter king of the Sea of Japan, is a must-try. The freshly caught crab is full of meat characterized by a springy texture and a sweetness that seems to melt in your mouth. Once you taste this scrumptious crab, you are sure to be hooked.

Kanogani and amberjack sashimi that are visually beautiful as well

3. Enjoy the Illuminations

Various spots in central Kanazawa are lit up from the fall to winter every year, painting the snow-covered town with a burst of colors. The gold-leaf yukizuri Kinpaku Kirara & Tree Fantasy Illumination around Musashigatsuji is a particular recommendation. Kinpaku Kirara are art objects of conical yukizuri ropes that support trees from the snow, decorated with gold snow crystals and made with the traditional Kanazawa craft of gold leaf. It has become a winter tradition in Kanazawa. The objects themselves are breathtaking, and the sight of gold leaf shimmering in the winter breeze has a dreamlike quality. In addition, approximately 27,000 LED lights are hung on trees near the Musashigatsuji Crossing, so that the city of Kanazawa is painted in gold, as if it has transformed into a land of gold.

*Schedule: October 21, 2016 (Fri.) - February 12, 2017 (Sun.)

3. Enjoy the Illuminations

15-1 Musashimachi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

4. Go to Kenrokuen with the Yukizuri

Kenrokuen is one of Kanazawa's representative tourist destinations. As would be expected of a garden chosen as one of the three noted gardens in Japan, it is beautiful at any time of the year, but its beauty is enhanced in the winter. The pine trees with yukizuri ropes strung to protect them from the snow adds a different flavor to the snow-covered garden. In addition, it is lit up at night for a limited time during the winter, offering a dreamlike view unlike the daytime. The breathtaking beauty of the golden threads of yukizuri pine trees glimmering in the dark and reflected on the pond is an image you'll want to retain forever.

*Light up period: January 27, 2017 (Fri.) - February 4, 2017 (Sat.)

Photo credit : Kanazawa City

4. Go to Kenrokuen with the Yukizuri

1 Kenroku-cho, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

5. Enjoy Local Sake from Ishikawa

The rice-producing prefecture of Ishikawa is also famous as a sake producer. The harsh winter is the busiest time of the year for sake producers as it is the time they prep their sake. It is also the time that new sake are introduced. Almost all restaurants in Kanazawa have local sake, so why not try some new sake with Kanazawa's specialty foods? The long-standing sake maker established in 1625, Fukumitsuya, offers tours of the cellars during the sake-making season (October to April) every year, with a film regarding sake making, a tour of the mother water and cellars, and tastings of freshly made sake and limited-offer seasonal sake. Your appreciation of sake is sure to be enhanced by seeing the dedication of the toji (the master sake maker) and kurabito (sake makers working under the toji) as they work through the harsh winter.

Sake cellar tours are from 3:00 pm every Monday and Friday and take about 90 minutes. The cost is 1,000 JPY (includes a 500 JPY coupon for purchases). Reservations must be made at least ten days in advance.
Available in English and French.

Photo credit : Kanazawa City

5. Enjoy Local Sake from Ishikawa

2-8-3 Ishibiki, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

In Kanazawa, there are many great things to do particularly in the winter. Don't be scared of the cold and go and enjoy yourselves. You are sure to find beautiful scenery that will take your breath away.
Winter weather in Kanazawa is volatile, so be sure to be fully prepared for the cold, and don't forget your umbrella.

*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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