top 5 kanazawa will hopefully add a wonderful japanese town to your wish list. i went to kanazawa for its contemporary art museum and i discovered a beautiful town full of exciting, unmissable attractions.
5. geisha district. a chaya is a traditional place where geishas entertain people. they have been performing dances and playing traditional musical instruments since the edo period. on saturdays, geisha shows are officially organized in each of the three chaya districts in town.
4. samurai quarters. do not misss the opportunity to visit the breath taking nomura samurai family residence! it is a traditional house, with rice paper walls and tatami rooms. you will be welcome by a samurai armour and by a cherry tree bonsai. but the absolute highlight is the back garden, with the stream full of koy fish. fabulous!
3. kanazawa castle is the dwelling of an ancient lord. it was burnt down and it has been only partially rebuilt. nowadays, the castle and its park are an excellent photo backdrop.
2. kenrokuen garden is one of the 3 greatest gardens in japan. the name means garden of 6 qualities: spaciousness, seclusion, air of antiquity, ingenuity, flowing water and views. originally, it was the garden of the castle across the street. it was first opened to the public in 1875 and it covers over 100,000 sqm.
an army of people takes care of the plants in unbelievable detail. they tie the tree branches so that the heavy snow won’t affect them. they groom every plant and every leaf. imagine that there is no grass on the ground, just perfect moss. somebody told me that she saw people sweeping the bottom of the little creek on site! and all this care is obvious at every step one takes in this manicured park. if you succeed to visit during sakura, you hit the japanese garden jackpot! (i can vouch for it, i was lucky to be there once during peak sakura)
reserve a few hours for the garden. there’s little chance that you will see such a beautiful place soon. explore the grounds, take in the fairy tale perfection and colours and take many, many pictures.
the circular building is by pritker prize winners sanaa. the permanent collection includes exquisite pieces such as a patrick blanc vertical garden, the colourful olafur eliasson pieces outside and jan fabre’s the man who measures the clouds on the roof.
this is leandro erlich’s swimming pool. the fake swimming pool is world famous and is actually an empty pool covered with 15cm of water on top of a sheet of plastic. it’s great for pictures! there is a long tunnel for visitors to go “underwater”. the perfect example of how fun art can be!
* the knotted legs running statue
* golden leaf craft. you can even get gold leaf ice cream. i’m not kidding!
* tsuzumi-mon. the huge red gate at the entrance of the very modern kanazawa railway station. impressive!
i hope my top 5 kanazawa convinced you. visit kanazawa and enjoy it!
photo credits: google search, kanazawa-tourism.com