One day visit to Kanazawa 金沢
A day in "little Kyoto"
Kanazawa: capital of Ishikawa prefecture, 2 hr 30 min from Tokyo by shinkansen and 2 hr 20 min from Kyoto, at times called "little Kyoto", in its authenticity, with a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere.
Tokyo, 8:12 am, hop in a Shinkansen Kagayaki 521 at Tokyo station: towards Kanazawa.
Kyoto, 8:10 am, board a Limited Express Thunderbird 3 train for Kanazawa.
The past and future
11 am: after having strolled through the two hundred shops in the Omichô market, a stone's throw away from Kanazawa station, it's time to head to the Oyama Jinja shrine to find some peace and tranquility. This Shinto shrine, built in 1599 in honor of the first lord of the Maeda, testifies to the importance of this family in the cultural and artistic development of the city. Blending Asian and Dutch influences, the entrance door to the sanctuary opens onto a large green space. The silence, the greenery, and the lake with its bridge in the shape of a biwa (Japanese musical instrument) allow you to recharge your mind and body for further adventure.
12 noon: the Museum of the 21st Century, Kanazawa's contemporary art museum, wakes up slowly. Its architecture in the shape of a flying saucer and its park alone is worth the trip. But it is the playful works and the special orders that make the richness and the worldwide reputation of this establishment. The most popular installation: Leandro Erlich's swimming pool, a fake pool that allows visitors to walk underwater!
The garden of wonders
1 pm: after a detour to Kanazawa castle and a small snack on the road, head towards Kenroku-en. This park is considered one of the three most beautiful gardens in the country. Hills, pavilions, and flowerbeds draw this unique landscape which extends over more than 11 hectares. The Kenroku-en is also renowned for the application of the yukitsuri technique. Used during the winter months, it consists of supporting tree branches with bamboo stems so that they do not bend under the weight of the snow.
From geishas to samurai
Afternoon: stroll through the heart of the city. A walk in the geisha district is a must. Higashi Chaya takes its name from the many teahouses (chaya in Japanese) lining its arteries. This district, recognized cultural heritage of Japan, immerses the visitor in an incomparable traditional atmosphere with its tea houses on floors and the sound of the shamisen which resounds in its alleys. Even today, it is possible to see a geisha performance. Here, you will also discover the wealth of the famed Kanazawa craftsmanship: silk work, lacquer objects, dyeing, or gold leaf work. Many workshops open their doors to the most curious to witness the ancestral techniques passed down from generation to generation.
After the geishas, make way for the samurai. To discover the old quarter of its high dignitaries, you have to go to Naga-machi. The narrow streets lined with ocher-colored adobe walls form a labyrinth leading to the famous Nomura house. This residence of high dignitaries faithfully recreates the intimate life of the samurai in the old days.
Hungry by now? Kanazawa also boasts of its high-quality food culture. So why not indulge in the fresh produce of Sushi Ippei restaurant? A great place to eat for all sushi lovers.
Stay the night and you can discover more of the city the next day, for example, a visit to the castle or an excursion to the Noto peninsula or to one of the small alpine villages designated as World Heritage by UNESCO such as Shirakawago.
Those in a hurry can return to Tokyo with a Hakutaka 574 shinkansen departing at 6:09 pm or to Kyoto with a Limited Express Thunderbird 94 departing at 6:06 pm. All that in just two full days!
Découvrez Kanazawa avec un guide !
Address, timetable & access
TimetableOmicho market: Musashigatsuji bus stop on the Machi, Kenrokuen Shuttle and Kanazawa loop bus lines
Oyama Jinja shrine: Minami-chô bus stop on the Kanazawa loop line
Kenroku-en garden: Kenroku-en stop on the Kanazawa Loop and Kenroku lines - in Shuttle, or Kenroku-en shita on the Hokutetsu line
Nomura Residence: Nagamachi district, Kôrinbô bus stop on the Kanazawa Loop line.
PriceOmicho Market and Oyama jinja Shrine: free admission
21st Century Museum: adult 350 yen, students and groups under 20 people 280 yen, free for children under 18
Kenroku-en Garden: 300 yen
Nomura Residence: 500 yen.
AccessOmichô market: from 8 am to around 6 pm (varies depending on the store). Closed: public holidays, from January 1 to 4 and around August 15.
Oyama jinja shrine: open daily from dawn to sunset.
21st Century Museum: open from 10 am to 6 pm daily, except Fridays or Saturdays when the museum is open until 8 pm. Closed Mondays (Tuesdays if Monday is a holiday) and from December 29 to January 1.
Kenroku-en Garden: daily from 7 am to 6 pm October to February, 8 .m to 5 pm
Nomura Residence: every day from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (4:30 pm during winter).