Nestled on the Sea of Japan coast, Kanazawa is a city steeped in history, adorned with exquisite gardens, and brimming with delectable cuisine. Tourists flock to Kanazawa all year round to indulge in the city’s authentic Japanese culture and awe-inspiring natural beauty. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, there’s something for everyone in Kanazawa. Here are 10 amazing things you absolutely must do when visiting this magnificent city.
Explore Kanazawa’s Rich History
Kanazawa is a city steeped in history and culture, and there is no better way to experience it than by immersing yourself in its iconic landmarks and districts.
Visit Kanazawa Castle
One of the most iconic landmarks in Kanazawa is the Kanazawa Castle, which dates back to the 16th century. Built by Lord Maeda Toshiie, this towering edifice boasts an impressive wooden gate, moats on three sides, and a stunning garden, Gyokusen-en. The castle’s turbulent history and architectural marvel make it an unmissable attraction, and the perfect place to start your Kanazawa adventure.
As you walk through the castle grounds, you will be transported back in time to the era of the samurai. The castle played a pivotal role in the political and military history of Japan, and its walls have witnessed countless battles and sieges. The castle’s museum houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits that offer a fascinating insight into the lives of the castle’s inhabitants and the city’s rich cultural heritage.
Step Back in Time at Higashi Chaya District
A stroll through Higashi Chaya District is like a trip back in time to the Edo period, when sweeping geisha houses and tea rooms dotted the streets. The district’s narrow alleys and traditional architecture are sure to transport you to a bygone era, and the unique shops and confectioneries are a treat for your taste buds!
As you wander through the district, you will encounter a variety of traditional crafts and arts, such as lacquerware, pottery, and silk weaving. The district is also home to a number of museums and galleries, where you can learn more about the history and culture of Kanazawa and its people.
Discover the Samurai District, Nagamachi
The Samurai District in Nagamachi is a testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage. This area was once home to Kanazawa’s samurai, and the elegant houses and gardens reveal their Zen influence. A visit to the Samurai District provides a fascinating insight into the lifestyle and customs of the Japanese nobility.
As you explore the district, you will be struck by the tranquility and serenity of the surroundings. The samurai houses, with their earthen walls and thatched roofs, are a stark contrast to the modern buildings that surround them. The district’s museums and galleries offer a wealth of information about the samurai way of life, and the district’s gardens and parks provide a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Overall, a visit to Kanazawa’s historic landmarks and districts is a must for anyone interested in Japanese history and culture. From the majestic Kanazawa Castle to the charming Higashi Chaya District and the serene Samurai District in Nagamachi, Kanazawa offers a wealth of experiences that are sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors.
Immerse Yourself in Nature
When it comes to experiencing the natural beauty of Kanazawa, there are few places that can compare to Kenrokuen Garden. This stunning garden is a true marvel of nature, boasting breathtaking landscapes throughout the year. With over 8,000 trees, including cherry blossoms, plum trees, and Japanese maples, Kenrokuen Garden is a feast for the eyes, no matter what time of year you visit.
But it’s not just the trees that make Kenrokuen Garden such a special place. The garden is also home to numerous tea houses, where visitors can stop for a cup of tea and a snack while taking in the stunning views. And if you visit in the winter, you’ll be treated to the sight of enchanting snow lanterns, which add an extra touch of magic to this already enchanting garden.
Of course, Kenrokuen Garden isn’t the only place to experience the natural beauty of Kanazawa. If you’re looking for a more relaxing and low-key way to enjoy the outdoors, consider taking a walk along the Asano River. This river flows through the heart of Kanazawa, offering a refreshing and peaceful ambience amid the hustle and bustle of the city. A leisurely stroll along the banks of the river is a delightful way to soak up the scenery, and take in the sights and sounds of Kanazawa.
And if you’re looking for a truly serene and picturesque oasis, be sure to visit the Gyokusen Inmaru Garden. Located within Kanazawa Castle, this charming garden features a central pond, a waterfall, and an array of vibrant flora. Whether you’re looking to take a moment to reflect, or simply enjoy the peaceful surroundings, the Gyokusen Inmaru Garden is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves nature.
So if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Kanazawa, be sure to check out these incredible destinations. With so much to see and do, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.
Experience Traditional Japanese Culture
Japan is a country steeped in tradition and culture, and Kanazawa is no exception. If you’re looking to experience the true essence of Japanese culture, there are a few things you simply can’t miss.
Participate in a Tea Ceremony at Gyokusen-en
One of the most quintessential Japanese experiences is participating in a traditional tea ceremony, and there’s no better place to do it than at Gyokusen-en. This zen garden is located within the grounds of Kanazawa Castle and provides an authentic Japanese tea ceremony that’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the city’s traditions. The ceremony involves much more than just drinking tea – it’s a carefully choreographed ritual that involves the preparation and presentation of the tea, as well as the appreciation of the tea’s taste and aroma. It’s a truly unique and immersive experience that you won’t forget anytime soon.
Learn About Kanazawa’s Gold Leaf Heritage
Kanazawa has been the capital of gold leaf production in Japan for over 400 years, and visitors can learn about the city’s gold refining and gilding methods at the Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum. The museum features workshops, exhibits, and even the opportunity to try your hand at gold leaf application. Making for a truly unique and memorable experience, you’ll get to see firsthand how gold leaf is made and how it’s used in traditional Japanese crafts such as lacquerware and pottery. You’ll also learn about the history of gold leaf production in Kanazawa, and how it has shaped the city’s culture and economy over the centuries.
Explore the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
If you’re looking for a more modern take on Japanese culture, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is the perfect destination. This world-renowned art museum houses a vast collection of contemporary art, from paintings and sculptures to installations and multimedia exhibits. The museum is famous for its unique circular design and interactive exhibits, making it a must-see destination for art enthusiasts and anyone interested in creative innovation. You’ll get to see works by some of the most famous contemporary artists from Japan and around the world, and you’ll leave feeling inspired and enlightened.
Overall, Kanazawa is a city that offers a perfect blend of traditional and modern Japanese culture. Whether you’re interested in tea ceremonies and gold leaf crafts, or contemporary art and cutting-edge design, there’s something for everyone here. So why not book your trip today and experience the best of what Kanazawa has to offer?
Savor Kanazawa’s Culinary Delights
Kanazawa is a city that is not only rich in history and culture, but also in culinary delights. From fresh seafood to traditional kaiseki dinners, Kanazawa’s food scene is sure to satisfy any foodie’s cravings.
Indulge in Fresh Seafood at Omicho Market
Omicho Market is a must-visit for any seafood lover. This bustling marketplace is located in the heart of Kanazawa and is home to a wide variety of fresh and delicious seafood catches. From succulent crab to plump oysters, visitors can find an array of fish and shellfish from the Sea of Japan that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.
But it’s not just the seafood that’s worth coming for. The market’s street food stalls offer delectable local culinary delights like kaisendon and seafood skewers. These mouth-watering treats are made fresh right in front of you and are the perfect snack to enjoy while exploring the market.
Taste Local Sweets and Snacks
For those with a sweet tooth, Kanazawa is the perfect destination. The city is famous for its sweets and snacks, like gold leaf ice cream, wagashi, and oyaki. Gold leaf ice cream is a local specialty that features a generous sprinkle of edible gold leaf on top of creamy soft serve. Wagashi, on the other hand, are traditional Japanese sweets that come in a variety of shapes and flavors. And if you’re looking for something savory, oyaki is a must-try. These steamed buns are filled with a variety of ingredients like vegetables or meat and are a popular snack in the region.
Try some authentic Japanese sweets at one of Kanazawa’s many tea rooms and confectioneries scattered throughout the city for a truly unique culinary experience.
Enjoy a Traditional Kaiseki Dinner
A traditional kaiseki dinner is a multi-course feast showcasing the artistry of Japanese cuisine. Kanazawa offers some of the most exquisite kaiseki restaurants in Japan, with chefs using only the freshest local ingredients like the famed Kaga vegetables. These vegetables are grown in the nearby Kaga region and are known for their unique flavor and texture.
Indulge in a delectable kaiseki meal, which typically includes a variety of dishes like sashimi, grilled fish, and simmered vegetables. Each dish is carefully crafted to showcase the flavors and textures of the ingredients, and the presentation is often just as beautiful as the taste.
Whether you’re seeking historical sites, natural beauty, traditional culture, or savory food, Kanazawa offers an abundance of unique and amazing experiences. This vibrant city is a true gem of Japan, and a destination that you simply can’t afford to miss. So, book your tickets and discover for yourself the 10 amazing things to do in Kanazawa!