Kanazawa Things to Do

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    Kenrokuen Garden
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Most Recent Things to Do in Kanazawa

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    A Castle in the Park

    by Orchid Written Jul 17, 2014
    Ishikawa Gate
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    Kanazawa castle stands in a large park and commands wonderful views of the city and the surrounding countryside from its battlements. The Ishikawa-mon entrance gate is opposite Kenroku-en, accessed by a bridge across a busy main road lined with cherry trees.

    Inside, the restored whitewashed castle turrets (Hishi Yagura and Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura), topped with lead tiles, guard their moats across a wide green field. The two turrets are joined by the long Gojikken Nagaya, once a warehouse built of smooth golden cypress beams. Inside, interpretive displays detail castle construction methods. The buildings are not original, having been burned down and rebuilt numerous times during its 500 year lifespan. One notable building which is also worth a look is the Sanjukken Nagaya, a 50m long turret, still boasting its original timbers - not as rectilinear and those in the reconstructed buildings.

    There are fine views from the battlements (which demonstrate a wide variety of stonemasonry, from smooth, finely shaped and fitted walls, to walls of roughly fitted natural stones), and wild gardens to wander through.

    There is an entrance charge (310 Yen in 2014) for the buildings, but one is free to wander the grounds. The park is open all year, from 7am to 6pm (shorter hours in winter).

    The loop bus service from JR Kanazawa provides good service to the park.

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    Kenroku-en - a garden of delight

    by Orchid Written Jul 8, 2014
    Kimono tourists
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    Kenroku-en, one of the three great gardens of Japan was our first destination for the day, which had dawned gloriously blueskied and sunny. The loop bus (500 Yen day pass) to the garden stop (Kenroku-en ***a), between Kenroku-en and the restored Kanazawa castle. This particular weekend was predicted to be the prime cherry-blossom viewing time for the city of Kanazawa, and indeed this was the case. As an added bonus, for reasons which are unclear, admission was free for the day.

    The garden included many sections, from mossy woodland, to ornamental lakes and streams, criss-crossed by picturesque bridges, with care taken to create beautiful vistas from many directions and aspects. Indeed the garden fulfils the aim of its creators, the Edo era Kaga lords, ensuring that the six features desirable in a landscape garden are witnessed by the visitor: spaciousness & seclusion, artifice & antiquity, water-courses & panoramas.

    The plantings are designed to be ever-changing with the seasons, whether it is snow laden pines, supported by guy ropes in the winter, the profusion of cherry blossoms we were gifted, or the plums and irises which were ready to take over once the time of the sakura had passed. No doubt the colours of autumn are awesome as well. Maybe another time.

    The garden is perfect for strolling and enjoying, or for sitting and watching the world pass by There were most certainly many people doing just that, whether they be tourists like us, school students on the prowl, or couples having their wedding photos taken. There are snack stalls on the outer edges of the garden close to the entrance if you need to refuel during your strolls.

    Opening hours:
    ◆Mar. 1 through Oct.15 : 7:00 – 18:00
    ◆Oct.16 through Feb.28/29 : 8:00 – 17:00
    Admission is 310 Yen for adults

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    Nomura Samurai House

    by hebaemam Written May 11, 2014

    This samurai house in nagamachi is a must to visit. I was really facinated by the scenery there.
    A small house, with a huge artistic taste.
    500 yen for adults and 300 en if you want to have a tea cermony.

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    you might see Geisha here

    by hebaemam Written Feb 7, 2012

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    well I have a believe that Its easier to see some one of your country walking in the streets of japan more than a geisha girl. In kanazawa chaya district is were Geisha performs, so you can go and I hope you would be lucky to meet one.
    it was a short street with vintage japanese houses, and there is around 3 green tea shops where giesha performs i think. it would cost around 400 en- 800 en.

    at the entrace you will find an japanese Icecream shop, I enjoyed the mochi iceream ball.

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    Kenrokuen Garden

    by Rabbityama Written Jan 18, 2012

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    Kenrokuen Garden
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    Kenrokuen Garden is one of Japan's official top three gardens (along with Korakuen in Okayama and Kairakuen in Mito). It was built by the ruling Maeda to accompany Kanazawa Castle. The garden's construction began in 1774 after a previous garden burned down. Much of the garden was constructed in 1822 by lord Narinaga, although some of the garden's features were added even later.

    It's an excellent example of a typical Japanese strolling garden and the grounds are quite large! The most famous view is of the Kotojitoro Lantern overlooking Kasumigaike Pond and the famous pines which were grown from seeds planted here by one of the Maeda lords. The garden's fountain may look like it's being pumped up, but it's actually completely natural and the oldest fountain in Japan.The garden features a plum grove, cherry tree grove, streams, monuments, teahouses, and many other plants. There is also a traditional crafts museum and the Seisonkaku Villa (the villa requires an additional fee).

    From November 1 through the winter, ropes are attached to the pine branches in order to help keep their shape and prevent the heavy snow from damaging them. The view of the roped pines is another iconic feature of the garden, so it's definitely worth a winter visit (particularly when there is snow). There are many areas to explore in the garden so use the map and don't miss any! It can take 2 hours to see it all and even more if you take time to browse the museum and enter the villa.

    Kenrokuen is such a beautiful garden, it has definitely earned its title as one of the top three in the nation. It may be out of the way for many travelers to Japan but it's well worth the visit!

    Entrance is 300 yen. The Traditional Products and Crafts Museum within the garden grounds is free, but those who want to enter the Seisonkaku Villa need to pay an additional 700 yen.

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    Myoryuji Temple

    by Rabbityama Written Jan 18, 2012
    Myoryuji Temple
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    More popularly known as Ninja-dera (Ninja Temple), Myoryuji is a fascinating temple full of hidden doors and traps. The temple was moved here to be near Kanazawa Castle by the Maeda Lord (Toshitsune) in 1643. During that time, the shogunate had tried to decrease the power of local lords and also dictated that no building could be higher than 3 stories tall. The Maeda, who ruled over the Kaga Domain, did not want their powers diminished so they created such secret places in order to more easily find and eliminate any Tokugawa spies and quell any attempted invasions of Kanazawa Castle.

    The temple has rooms for hiding samurai, hidden staircases can be found throughout, the money-offering box doubles as defense (if you step on it, it will collapse under you and likely break your leg), hidden passageways, and hidden rooms. From the outside the temple seems to be a two-story building but in actuality it was a violation of the 3-story limit, because there is a hidden fourth story! All of these traps and passageways were created to allow those working here in secret to escape any attempted raids if they were discovered.

    The well is rumored to contain an underground passageway that leads all the way to Kanazawa Castle, although no one has verified that claim.

    The nickname "Ninja-dera" is strictly a nickname given because ninja homes are known for having these sorts of secret passageways, traps, etc. but this was never a ninja home. Actually, many people get so focused on all the secrets of the place they forget Myoryuji is a legitimate temple. In spite of its secret functions, it is still and always was a temple! I think that makes it an even more fascinating place!

    Entrance is 800 yen and you can only enter as part of a temple tour. You can call ahead to book a tour or try to merge into a tour upon arrival (which is usually not a problem). A booklet of English translations is provided for you to use as you tour if you don't know Japanese so you can follow along. Those traveling with babies or small, potentially disruptive children are not permitted on the tours.

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    21st Century Museum

    by Rabbityama Written Jan 17, 2012

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    21st Century Museum
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    The 21st Century Museum is a museum featuring very modern art by very modern artists (21st century as the name states). There are some exhibits that you can visit without paying. All of the outside exhibits, including the tri-colored Colour Activity House, which appears to change colors depending on where you view it from. Inside, "The Swimming Pool" by Leandro Erlich is probably the museum's most famous work. If it's not raining or snowing heavily, you can look into the pool to see the people down below. It's a really interesting feeling and looks like a real pool!

    Visitors who pay to see the exhibits can enter the pool from the bottom and look up. This is also a really intersting feeling although no one was at the top when I went due to the snow. Many of the exhibits are interactive and able to be touched, which makes it fun, although not all of them are so if you're not sure ask one of the employees at the exhibit. (Keep in mind exhibits change, so I can't guarantee they will always be interactive, but the museum has an interest in modern art that you can "experience".)

    Any fan of modern art and interactive art should make an effort to make this a part of your Kanazawa visit! The set-up of the museum can be a bit difficult to navigate, so make sure you don't miss anything.

    Entrance varies by exhibit but should be around 1000-1500 yen.

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    Kanazawa Castle

    by Rabbityama Written Jan 17, 2012

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    Kanazawa Castle's Ishikawamon Gate
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    Kanazawa Castle is the former home of the Maeda family who ruled over the Kaga Domain (modern Ishikawa and Toyama Prefectures). From the Meiji Period to the end of World War II the grounds were used as a military base, and they were then made a part of Kanazawa University. In 1995 it became a public space for the first time in its history.

    Today, the Ishikawamon Gate (1788) and Sanjikken Nagaya Storehouse (1858) are the only structures that remain from the old castle. The gate is one of the more scenic parts of the castle, though and does have a turret. The structures within the castle grounds are 21st century reconstructions so they lack historic value but are still nice to look at. You can enter and because it's so new it is handicap accessible. There are only a few artifacts currently inside. Even if you don't enter though, it's still worth a walk around the area.

    The castle grounds are free. Entrance to the inner turrets (Hishi Yagura) is 300 yen. You purchase your ticket in the building outside the entrance not inside.

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    Oyama Shrine

    by Rabbityama Written Jan 16, 2012

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    Oyama Shrine Gate
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    Oyama Shrine is part of the former Maeda villa, built in 1599, and moved here in 1873. The shrine is most famous for its gate, built in 1875 by a Dutch architect. You can easily see the Chinese and European influences in the shape and stained-glass windows. It's definitely unique among Japanese shrines.

    Within the shrine grounds is also a nice little garden which was also moved here from the Maeda villa was constructed in the Edo Period. It has a pond with an island lantern. You can walk to it on the wooden planks or admire the view from around the edge.

    The shrine is free and near Kanazawa Castle, so it makes a nice stop when traveling to or from the castle area.

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    Saigawa Ohashi Bridge

    by Rabbityama Written Jan 16, 2012

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    Saigawa Ohashi Bridge

    The Saigawa Ohashi Bridge was built in 1924, a year after the Great Kanto Earthquake. Although the bridge is not very long (62.3 meters) but it is an iron bridge and bridges of this type were not common at that time. It was registered as a National Tangible Property in 2000.

    Unless you are a fan of bridges, it wouldn't be worth it to come just to see this however, if you are going to the Teramachi area (where Myoryuji the "ninja temple" is located), you will probably cross this bridge so it's interesting to note that it is actually a historic site.

    The bridge is part of Hyakumangoku-dori Street, the main shopping street in Kanazawa.

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    Omi-cho Market

    by Rabbityama Written Jan 16, 2012

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    Crabs at Omi-cho Market
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    Omi-cho Market is Kanazawa's fish market. There are many fresh fish however, the main attraction here are the crabs, which are a famous Kanazawa delicacy. The market has been here since the Edo Period, although today it is enclosed in a more modern shopping space. There are other shops here, as well, but it's not a place to shop for souvenirs (unless you want to buy the seafood). There are a few restaurants here where you can get food made with the local seafood.

    It's not far from the station and you can enter from the main shopping street (Hyakumangoku-dori). It's not a must-visit place but if you're walking by the area then it's worth a brief detour.

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    Ishikawa zoo

    by hebaemam Updated Aug 25, 2011

    It was so much fun for my family, and the most unique thing about it is that it have a lot of animals in relativly small space, which is really important so you wont get tired out of walking by the end of the day, specially kids. Better go from the early morrning to avoid the nap time of the animals around 11.30, most of animals where not moving and may be due to hot weather. i saw the seal, sea lion, some mammals, 4 types of monkeys, Eagle, lion, tiger, leopard, puma, gangaroo, petting zoo for kids, falmingo, picock, other birds, giraffe, zebra, elphante, chimpanzee, hippoptamus, and other few animals i dont remember their names.
    there is a restaurant, that have japanese food and other few snakes like fried potatos.
    from9- 5 pm and closed in tuesdays,
    810 yen for adults and 400 for 3 years old and above kids

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    Kanazawa Castle

    by dancinbudgie Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    View of Castle
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    Kanazawa Castle was originally built in 1580 but has been entirely reconstructed. It had been one of the largest castles in Feudal times, but was burned down in 1881. The oldest part of the castle now is the entrance (Ishikawa-mon) which was rebuilt in 1788. The castle grounds are nice to have a wander around in, and inside the castle itself offers some great views over the city. There is also an interesting model of the castle and a plan of the surrounding area inside, which offers an insight into how the castle was built and how life was ordered. It costs 300yen to go inside the castle, but is free to wander around the grounds.

    More pics in the travelogue.

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    Myoryuji Ninja Temple

    by akikonomu Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Myoryuji is nicknamed ninja-dera (ninja-temple) not because it had any relations with ninjas, but due to its complex structure and secret rooms and traps. Situated in the Teramachi temple district along a quiet road lined with many other temples and a few souvenir shops, the temple looks like any ordinary temple from the exterior with 2 storeys (in line with the building regulations then).

    However, there are actually 7 layers in the temple with secret rooms and stairways. The main purpose was to protect the Maeda lords who visited the temple. The drawback is that you need to make prior appointment for a guided tour of the temple, otherwise you would not be able to explore the secret rooms on your own. All explanations in Japanese, although they also have English manuals explaining the layout.

    To get there, alight at the bus stop of the tourist loop bus deisgnated for the Teramachi and Nishi chaya geisha district. Walk along the river in the direction of traffic, cross the big bridge and walk straight upslope (do not deviate towards the slope on the left after the bridge) until you come to a traffic light with a pharmacy across the road.

    Turn left from the pharmacy for about 100m until you come to a small sliproad, if you turned right from the pharmacy, you would end up at the Nishi chaya district.

    Some interesting traps and room: hidden stairway and room that could be revealed only when the plank concealing the room and doubling as the floor below a sliding door is removed (you've to open the sliding door aforehand though); steps lined with paper and constructed over a secret room - samurais hidden beneath the stairs could detect the movements from -shadows cast through the see-through paper; the seppuku room that could ony be opened from outside. The well in the courtyard purpotedly has a secret passage leading to Kanazawa castle though this has not been proven.

    The picture posted here is of another temple a stone's throw away from ninja-dera with a similar exterior.

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    Kanazawa’s most modern museum

    by Mr.Sparkle Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    One of the modern art pieces in the free section.
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    If you’re into modern art, check out the ultra hip 21st century museum. The museum has a large collection of “interesting” things that are free to view and play with. The inner exhibitions, which you must pay for, change periodically, so it’s a crap shoot. Might be good or maybe not.

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