Kanazawa Travel Guide 金沢
A Breath of Fresh Art
It is said that one day a peasant digging in the soil planting potatoes found gold nuggets in the province of Kaga. This amazing discovery brought many curious people, who christened the city Kanazawa, "the golden marsh."
But gold is not the only thing that glitters. The sea also sparkles in the eyes of people living in Kanazawa, lulled by the waves. Each morning, the daily catch of fresh fish and shellfish is brought in from the port. For later in the day it will served on the plates of local restaurants, offering culinary specialties of the region. Your mouth will salivate before fresh food on offer, each dish more delicious than the last.
The fineness of the warrior
The province had long played a strategic role in the organization of the country, headed by the Maeda clan since the sixteenth century. It was one of the most powerful areas in Japan, rivaling Osaka and Kyoto. These facts can explain the fate of the city: that general Maeda Toshiie (1539-1599), who is still revered in Oyama Jinja Shrine, originally pursued a large scale cultural policy aimed at developing arts and crafts in Kanazawa.
This momentum continues today and makes the region one of the great centers of Japanese refinement. The production of lacquers, silk, decorative gold leaf and pottery swell with pride in Kanazawa people and can be admired at the the prefectural museum of traditional crafts.
The curious can go see the remains of the historical old samurai quarters, including the residence of the Takada family. The modern will in turn be delighted by the huge art museum of the twenty-first century, whose activity stimulates artistic creation around the entire country. You'll understand that in Kanazawa, art breathes deeply.
But the true reason why Kanazawa attracts so many visitors lies in its garden, Kenroku-in. Strolling amidst this natural paradise is a delight for the senses. The hustle and bustle in Kanazawa are not absent, however, and the city remains a lively place to live and visit.
But a quite atmosphere can be found again as you enter Kazuemachi, one of three former geisha districts of the city. These streets lined with wooded okiya once sounded with the clatter of geta (high wooden clogs) of YAMAGUSHI Kinu (1892 -?), the heroine of Yuki Inoue’s biographical novel Memoirs of a Geisha.
Note: Spring 2015 saw the inauguration of a new shinkansen line (the Japanese high speed train) linking Kanazawa and Tokyo.