Another great festival
Another great festival that I’ve had the privilege of participating in is the Mikawa spring festival. It’s a held in mid May when its traditional for the gods to visit. Special portable shrines are either carried or pulled around the town.
In the case of Mikawa, a dozen or so Dashis are pulled around town, going from house to house eating and drinking. Its quite the event and loads of fun, especially if you’re pulling the dashi and getting loaded.
Mikawa can be easily reached from Kanazawa by train, only 10 to 15 minutes away. The festival takes places very close to the train station. Follow your nose.
Amongst the places I visited during this trip, Takayama and Gokayama grabbed most of my attention for its peaceful environs. Yet on thinking back, Kanazawa posseses many little memorable stuff that slowly grows on you as you reminisce - the peaceful walk through the Higashi and Nishi chaya district with its old geisha houses and gold leaf shops; delectable dessert in the downtown shopping area; ancient samurai district hidden right behind the modern street selling the aforementioned delectable dessert; the quirky Myoryuji (ninja-dera) and even the shopping arcade near the train station.
Very much alike Kyoto, the modern facade of the city disguises remnants of old Japan. It's not difficult to turn the corner and find yourself wandering down narrow streets lined with old teahouses or temples, something you would not have expected as the cars zoom past behind you on the main roads.
Although downtown traffic can be pretty chaotic, you can easily find quiet solitude at the streets a short walk away from the main road. This is especially so for the Teramachi samurai district.
Kenrokuen is highly lauded as one of the best gardens in Japan - I can't exactly figure out why but the sprawling grounds also make for a peaceful stroll. Enjoying green tea and a small snack at the teahouse seems somewhat kitsch but makes for a good rest.
So that's Kanazawa for you - a mix of new and old, past and present. It really reminds me very much of Kyoto.