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Kanazawa is the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.Kanazawa sits on the Sea of Japan, bordered by the Japan Alps,Hakusan National Park and Noto Peninsula National Park.The city sits between the Sai and Asano rivers. Its total area is 467.77 km2.

The centre of the castle town was the castle.While many castle towns in Japan had the castle placed to one side of the city, Kanazawa spread out concentrically from the castle site.Kanazawa Castle itself largely burned down in 1888, but there are a few buildings remaining, notably the Ishikawa Gate and the Sanjikken Longhouse, and one large section has been painstakingly rebuilt to authentic standards of construction.The castle site dates back to the fifteenth century, when it was the centre of power for the Ikko-ikki, which was a Buddhist sect that had overthrown the old regional governors, the Togashi clan, and established what is called “The Peasant’s Kingdom” in the district of Kaga, the southern part of present-day Ishikawa Prefecture.

The modern city of Kanazawa was created on April 1, 1889.On March 25, 2007, a large earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture, resulting in at least 1 death and over 160 people injured. though Kanazawa was not shaken.Hyakumangoku Matsuri and Asano-gawa Enyukai are the major festivals held in Kanazawa.

Kanazawa-Haku is gold which is beaten into a paper-like sheet.Gold leaf plays a prominent part in the city's cultural crafts, to the extent that there is a gold leaf museum (Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum).It is found throughout Kanazawa and Ishikawa, and Kanazawa produces 99% of Japan's high-quality gold leaf: the gold leaf that covers the famous Golden Pavilion in Kyoto was produced in Kanazawa.Gold leaf is even put into food.The city is famous for tea with gold flakes, which is considered by the Japanese people to be good for health and vitality.Kanazawa lacquerware (Kanazawa shikki), a high-quality lacquerware traditionally decorated with gold dust, is also well-known.'Cultural landscape in Kanazawa.Tradition and culture in the castle town' has been designated an Important Cultural Landscape.

The geisha house, or ‘tea house’ as it is commonly called, is superficially similar to the merchant houses, in the same way the samurai houses are superficially similar to farmhouses.However unlike the merchant houses, where the second floor at the front was for storage only, and thus very low, the second story of tea houses are much higher, because the upper floor was used as the main entertaining area.The upper floors are faced with sliding wooden shutters which would be open in the day or when there was a party going on, and the bottom floor is faced with the unique, extremely fine latticework that is known as ‘Kaga lattice’The standard of decor was also far higher than most merchant houses, at least to the extent allowed by the various Sumptuary Laws that the Shogunate passed.Due in part to the long gloomy winters, Kaga decor is far brighter than the drab earth browns and greens and ochres of Kyoto style: bold bright scarlets (benigara) and ultramarines were popular.The upper floor of the Seisonkaku Villa in Kenrokuen is particularly boldly-decorated, with purple and black walls as well.

How to Reach

By Air

The nearest airport serving Kanazawa is in the city of Komatsu (IATA: KMQ).JAL offers flights into Komatsu Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and from Okinawa.ANA flies into Komatsu from Tokyo Haneda and Narita Airports, as well as Sapporo Chitose, Sendai and Fukuoka.Internationally, Komatsu serves Seoul (four times a week) and Shanghai (three times a week).From Komatsu airport, buses run directly to Kanazawa (50 minutes, ¥1100).Or you could take a bus to Komatsu Station and a JR train from there, which is somewhat cheaper and, depending on your luck with connections, not much longer.Taxis are frequent though not cheap, and there are several rental car places in the area.

By Train

Kanazawa is served by the JR West Hokuriku Main Line and the Hokuriku Railroad.From Tokyo Station, there are two routes that can be used to reach Kanazawa.One way is to take the hourly Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari train and transfer at Maibara to the Shirasagi limited express for the run to Kanazawa.This takes approximately 4 1/4 hours, and a regular ticket for this run costs around ¥15000.The journey is fully covered under the Japan Rail Pass.In addition, this route allows the lucky traveller a glimpse of Mount Fuji when the clouds are kind enough not to obstruct the view.

By Car

Kanazawa is served by the Hokuriku Expressway, which runs through the western edge of the city. It has three interchanges: Kanazawa East and Kanazawa West feed into National Route 8, and Kanazawa Morimoto feeds into the Mountainside Loop Road (Yamagawa kanjo-sen).The cost for a normal car from Kyoto-East via Maibara is ¥5500, and the distance is 245 km (to Kanazawa West). From Osaka, ¥6850 and 296 km; Niigata ¥6350 and 293 km. From the capital city, expect ¥11,800 and 585 km.

By Bus

Several bus companies make runs from Tokyo to Kanazawa.JR Bus runs two daytime buses and two night buses run from Shinjuku and Ikebukuro (more runs added on Weekends and Holidays). One bus also runs at night from Tokyo Station.The cost for all of these buses is the same (¥7840 each way) and the trip takes about 8 1/2 hours.Discount bus operators Willer Express and Star Express operate buses from Shinjuku to Kanazawa; fares start at ¥5000 each way.

Key places to visit
Kenroku-en Garden, Kanazawa Castle, Mount Utatsu, Nagamachi Samurai District, Kinkaku-ji, Oyama Shrine, Honda Forest, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art


Places to Visit

Kenroku-en Garden

located in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan, is an old private garden developed from the 1620s to 1840s by the Maeda clan, the daimyo who ruled the former Kaga Domain.Along with Kairaku-en and Koraku-en, Kenroku-en is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.It is open year-round during daylight hours and famous for its beauty in all seasons an admission fee is charged.

Kanazawa Castle

Is a large, well-restored castle in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.It is located adjacent to the celebrated Kenroku-en Garden, which once formed the castle's private outer garden.The castle sits within extensive grounds, currently organized as large, well-kept lawns and informal wooded areas, with various large walls, gates, and outbuildings.Until 1989, Kanazawa University was located on the castle grounds.The large campus is now on the edge of town in an area called Kakuma.Prior to World War II, the grounds served as headquarters of the 9th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army.

Mount Utatsu

Is a mountain in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.It is also known by a number of other names, including Mount Mukai,Mount Muko,Mount Garyu and Mount Kasuga.It is visible to the east of Kanazawa Castle and has Toyokuni Shrine located on its slopes.The summit of Mount Utatsu is used as a secondary triangulation point (named "Kanazawa") by the Geographical Survey Institute of Japan.

Nagamachi Samurai District

Towards the coast from Oyama Shrine, this is an area of a few streets where considerable effort has been expended in order to recreate the feel of the samurai housing areas.The fact that almost none of the actual samurai houses remain does little to daunt the enthusiasm of the tourists.While historically dubious, it is a pleasant area to stroll, and the one of the best of the remaining samurai districts in Japan.In Nagamachi, the Nomura House is open to the public (¥500), and boasts a small but exquisite garden.A short walk from there the city has relocated and restored two ashigaru (the lowest rank of samurai) houses that are open for free, and provide a lovely place to rest and enjoy the peace of a traditional Japanese house.Towards the Asano River to the north, there are a couple more samurai houses, not preserved or set aside as museum pieces, but actually lived in (and not open to the public).


Also known as Rokuon-ji (Deer Garden Temple) is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan.The garden complex is an excellent example of Muromachi period garden design.It is designated as a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape, and it is one of 17 locations comprising the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site.It is also one of the most popular buildings in Japan, attracting a large number of visitors annually.It has also been made widely familiar as being featured in a photograph in the desktop picture art of Apple's OS X computer operating system, labeled simply as "Golden Palace".

Oyama Shrine

Is a Shinto shrine in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan.The shrine was established in 1599 in Utatsuyama, east of Kanazawa.It was moved to its present location in 1873 and renamed to Oyama-jinja.The main gate was constructed in 1875.This gate is a peculiar mix of traditional Japanese, Chinese, and European religious architectural elements.The gate is 25 metres (82 ft) high including the lightning rod.The third floor is particular famous for its Dutch stained-glass windows.It is said that the third floor was also used as a lighthouse.The gate was designated an Important Cultural Asset on August 29, 1950.

Right Time to Visit

January - April
August - October
December - January


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