If you’ve come a long way to Japan you have definitely been charmed by its culture, dense of tradition. The geisha and the samurai actually existed and sometimes you can meet them again, especially in Kanazawa, a small town in the north, just a few hours from Tokyo!
Me and my beardy boy, still dazed after our days in Tokyo, stayed one night in Kanazawa to taste the real Japan for 2 whole days!
Where to sleep:
In Kanazawa we stayed at “The Share Hotel Hatchi”, a hostel / hotel truly fabulous! The palace was built only 50 years ago and before being modernized, converted into a hotel and opened in March 2016, it was used as a Buddhist altars store. The shop had inside a restaurant whose neon signs have been retained in the current structure. The hostel has many dorms with 8 to 20 beds (female only or mixed) and luxurious private rooms of two different types. The communal kitchen is very spacious and bright, equipped with stereo and plasma TV.
If you have the JR pass, of which I have already spoken here, in Kamakura there are two lines of bus operated by JR that you can use for free. If you do not have the JR pass, you’d better buy a day pass for buses (500 JPY) otherwise the price for a single fare is 200 yen. The bus service ends very early (around 6 pm)!
Where to eat:
On the 6th floor of the shopping center just outside Kanazawa Station, you will find all the restaurants you could want. I recommend the Chibo, I had already mentioned it on my Tokyo post. The specialty of this place is the famous okonomiyaki, a Japanese-giant pancake consisting of cabbage, cheese and okonomiyaki sauce. At Chibo the okonomiyaki was revised in 1000 different ways and you can sample it with bacon, eggs, squid, oysters or anything you have in mind! If you like, you can also cook it yourself !!!
Alternatively the famous Ohmi-cho fish market offers a multitude of local specialties you cannot miss !!
In the morning head to the botanical garden Kenrokuen.
We all know that the Japanese gardens are truly wonderful, when my dad came to visit me in London the first place where I brought him was the zen garden in holland park and he felt in love! He is a gardener, he knows something about gardens 🙂
The Kenrokuen in Kanazawa is one of the 3 most beautiful botanical gardens in Japan. Inside you will find beautiful lakes where colorful carp dominate among the water lilies in bloom, Japanese lanterns and a lovely wooden house reflected on the water. You really can not miss this place!
In the afternoon head to the Kanazawa Castle (accessible only with passport and reservation) and don’t forget to visit the beautiful gardens of the castle!
In Kanazawa there are two of the most beautiful districts in Japan, the samurai and the geisha district.
Me and my beardy boy visited them both one in the morning and one in the afternoon and I can say they are very special!
The “Nagamachi Samurai District” is relatively small and can be visited quite quickly. Here you will find the ancient samurai houses. Many are accessible for free but the most beautiful, the house of the Nomura family is not. The interior garden is an idyllic and ideal place to sit back, close your eyes and savor the taste of relaxation. There is so much silence that will make yourself breathe. If you like, you can also join the tea ceremony (for an additional fee of 600 JPY).
The “Higashi Chaya District” of Kanazawa is certainly the most beautiful in Japan, and in my opinion much more impressive than the geisha neighborhood “Gion” in Kyoto. In the main street, surrounded by a beautiful mountain scenery, you can take the best pictures of your trip! Do not forget to visit the old house of the Geisha “Shima”. Here you will be revealed the ancient secrets of these particular women and you can enjoy lots of videos about the famous dance of the geisha.
Before setting off on a new journey stop at the golden leaves store. At the entrance you will be served the famous tea with golden leaves and you can watch the their truly amazing work for free!
Kanazawa is a magical place, not to be missed !!
Next week I’ll talk about Kyoto and its infinite beauty!
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