Tucked in between the Sea of Japan and the Japanese Alps, flanked by the Sai and Asano rivers, Kanazawa might be an unfamiliar destination, but it’s sure to become an unexpected favorite. Translated literally Kanazawa means "marsh of gold," and the city produces approximately 98% of the gold leaf in Japan. Find a small jar to take home or try it sprinkled on ice cream. Gold aside, Kanazawa is also a jewel in Japan’s historical crown. Founded in the late 1500s as a castle town, the city has been relatively untouched from the ravages of World War II and natural disasters. Once a powerful and strategic city for the Maeda clan, it is now a comparatively small city with a calm, comfortable feel.

Stroll over the small bridges of the Naga-machi Buke Yashiki (samurai district) or admire the charming tiled streets and weathered wooden buildings of the Higashi Chaya (geisha district.) Stop into a traditional tea house, tended by geisha, or any number of artisan shops, where you’ll find fine handcrafted items such as wooden chopsticks.

Discover Tera-machi, Temple Town, where you’ll find 70 temples grouped together. Visit the D.T. Suzuki Museum, a peaceful homage to Zen Buddhism, or the giant glass walls of the 21st Century Museum of Modern Art, shaped like a UFO. Be sure to sample the region’s sake, known for it superior quality. Explore the small bustling alleys of the colorful Omichi Market, which dates back nearly 300 years, always overflowing with local vendors. Discover something new and interesting or savor the familiar delight of plenty of fresh seafood—crab, broiled scallop or eel, and oysters or sea urchins right from the shells. Sample fruit and ice cream, and linger over tea.

Myoryuji Temple

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Myoryuji Temple

Myoryuji Temple

Myoryuji Temple, commonly known as Ninjadera, or simply Ninja Temple, was built in 1585 as a traditional temple by the Maeda lords who ruled the region during the Edo Period. It was later fortified to protect the clan from Tokugawa shogunate intruders in 1643 and is now arguably one of the most interesting buildings in Japan. The temple is not actually devoted to ninjas, but earned the name from the clever ways in which it defended against intruders or attack. Explore a labyrinth of corridors, staircases, hidden tunnels, secret rooms, and traps. Some say it even links to the Kanawaza Castle by tunnel.

Kanazawa Castle

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Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle

Built in 1580, the beautiful Kanazawa Castle housed the ruling Maeda Clan for 14 generations. It was destroyed by fire in 1881, but has been partially restored. Surrounded by a large park and a moat, you’ll find lovely views from the watchtower. Explore the grounds and learn about the history of Kanazawa and this powerful family.

Kenroku-en Japanese Garden

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Kenroku-en Japanese Garden

Kenroku-en Japanese Garden

Dating back to the Edo period (1603–1868), the Kenroku-en Garden is one of the top three gardens in Japan. Originally used as the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, the grounds were constructed over a period of nearly two centuries. Famous for the Yukitsuri, ropes arranged over the trees like umbrellas to protect their branches from snow damage, the garden features a variety of flowering trees, notably cherry and plum, ensuring that the grounds change with the season. Wander, rest your feet, or discover a teahouse tucked away and participate in a Japanese tea ceremony. Peaceful, green, and lush, Kenroku-en is a stunning highlight.

Kanazawa, Japan At a glance

Current Weather:
-4°C / 25 °F
Fair (Day)
Fair (Day)
Light Snow Showers
Partly Cloudy (Day)
Current Time:
2:13:31 am2018/03/21 02:13:31 am
Wednesday, March 21
UTC/GMT +09:00
Japanese Yen
Exchange Rates:
  • 0.01
  • 0.01
  • 0.01
  • 0.01
  • 0.01
  • 0.57
  • 0.03
  • 0.17
Local Details:
GPS: 36°29'39.48"N 136°44'58.43"E
Size: 467.77 KM2 (180.61 MI2)
Population: 462,478
Density: 989 Pop/KM2 (382 Pop/MI2)
Country Code: +81

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