Kanazawa – Sightseeing and Festival

During the history, Kanazawa used to be an important city in Japan. Sadly today, many people skip this beautiful city, which is the capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture. The most famous attraction is the Kanazawa Castle and the Kenrokuen Garden but there are even more points of interest in Kanazawa.

Kanazawa Facts

  • Used to be Japan 2nd biggest city (after Kyoto) during World War II
  • Is located about 150 km North of Nagoya
  • Modern City of Kanazawa was created in 1889
  • literally translated, the name means Marsh of gold

Nagamachi Samurai District

Where? Near Korinbo Bus Station

Firstly, there is the old Samurai District. You can find Museums and even restored Sumarai Residences, which show you how life was like back in the Samurai time. Many of the facilities have an entrance fee though. (Between 100 – 550 Yen (ca. $ 0,80 – $ 4,40) But you will also find some houses that you can visit for free.

Kanazawa Castle Park

schloss kanazawa vicki viaja

Opening Time: 7 am – 6 pm (October – February: 8 am – 5 pm)

Entrance Fee: free of charge

After seeing the Sumarai Area, you can have a nice walk through the beautiful castle park. The park is located next to the castle (what a surprise!). A visit is highly recommended as it is perfect for taking walks and enjoy the nature of the big city of Kanazawa.

Kenrokuen Garden Kanazawa

schlossgarten kanazawa vicki viaja

Opening Time: 7 am – 6 pm (October – February: 8 am – 5 pm)

Entrance Fee: 310 Yen (ca. 2,50 € / $ 2,75)

On the other side of the castle, you can find this amazing Garden, which is known to be one of the three Perfect Gardens in Japan.

Inside of the Garden, you can find a big pond, that even has its own little island. We were totally impressed by the beauty of this traditional Japanese Garden.

Kanazawa Castle

schloss kanazawa vicki viaja

Opening Time: 7 am – 6 pm (October – February: 8 am – 5 pm)

Entrance Fee: 310 Yen (ca. 2,50 € / $ 2,75)

Inside of the Kenrokuen Garden, you can find the Kanazawa Castle. Impressive from the outside, the inside actually disappointed us a little, to be honest.

Inside of the castle were really few exhibits and information displayed so that the wooden corridors of the castle looked pretty empty. After seeing the castle of Matsumoto, I guess we had higher expectations.

However, from the outside you can see the castle beautifully and free of charge 😉

The Geisha Districts in Kanazawa

Where? Higashi Chaya-Gai District, Nishi Chaya-Gai District & Kazue Machi-District

Another attraction of Kanazawa are the three Geisha Districts. While in all of them you have a chance to meet real Geishas they offer different experiences for their visitors. In the Higashi-Chaya area, for instance, you can find many traditional Japanese Tea-Houses. In the Nishi Chaya-Gai District, however, you there are many luxury Japanese restaurants located. (Ryotei)

The Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Matsuri Festival

kanazawa parade vicki viaja

When: On the first Saturday in June (since 2007)

The most popular part of the Hyakumangoku Matsuri in Kanazawa is the Hyakumangoku Parade through the whole city center. It lasts for around two hours. This parade represents the entrance of Lord Maeda Toshiie and his following into Kanazawa.

parade samurai vicki viaja kanazawa

Many people are joining this popular parade. Besides several clubs, you can listen to a lot of music, see Geishas and even Samurais. Furthermore, some of the clubs give little presentations of their skills, so you can enjoy some traditional dances, arts and similar things along those lines. It will even make you forget how cold Kanazawa can be at this time of the year while sitting on the street for two hours 😉

parade samurai kanazawa vicki viaja

After the official parade is over, there are more and more people joining in the city center. Especially, in front of the main station, there is a lot going on. Everyone dances, sings and walks together through the streets of Kanazawa.

 Okonomiyaki

okonomiyaki vicki viaja

The second night, we decided to go out together and have some Okonomiyaki. I can just highly recommend you to try this amazing dish if you get the chance.

In the middle of the table there is a plate similar to a Barbecue. The original Okonomiyaki is from Osaka by the way. I would maybe describe it as a kind of grilled omelette.

Besides the Osaka version, you can also find the Tokyo- and Hiroshima Style. We had the chance to try all three kinds of them in Kanazawa. How lucky we were! 🙂

The Tokyo Style is mostly veggies and cheese. This one was my favorite. Eduardo was more into the Hiroshima version. Which was served with noodles and seafood.

But all in all, all three kinds of Okonomiyaki are totally recommended by us.

Personal experience in Kanazawa

After arriving in Kanazawa, we first had to realize that it was clearly colder than in the other areas of Japan that we have visited before. (In avaerage, around 2 °C colder than Tokyo)

Moreover, the rain lasted for the whole afternoon with small breaks in between. When the rain got too strong we flew into one of the dozen convenience stores that dominate Japan’s streets. And we got some Matcha Latte. Yummy. I can just highly recommend you to try this delicious popular drink when you visit Japan.

When the rain subsided a little, we could finally keep on walking. After some kilometers with our heavy backpacks, we decided to take a train from the nearest train station to our host’s place.

Our Hosts

okonomiyaki vicki viaja

If you have some of my other Japan posts, you might have realized that we couchsurfed a lot throughout Japan. Therefore, we also stayed in Kanazawa  with a super cute little family.

The parents are around Eduardo’s age. But the actual center of attention clearly was Sara, the three year old daughter.

Even though, she might have said hi for the first time while shyly hiding behind her mom, but some hours later she introduced us to every single toy in her room. (and trust me, there were a lot!)

So we spent some hours with her playing with every single toy she owns, building towers and having a lot of fun until she fell asleep next to her Mickey Mouse Teddy.

Funny how children don’t care whether you can speak their language, don’t you think?

Anyway, the true sunshine of the family was definitely the mom. She was smiling without a break. Although, we could mostly just communicate through her translator app, we had a great time together. And they helped us a lot by giving us many information and recommendations for our tour through Kanazawa.

We could even have dinner and breakfast with them and they helped us washing our laundry. I can just repeat myself by recommending Couchsurfing to everyone as you can meet so many amazing people out there and get totally new experiences in the country you travel to.

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About me

Vicki

Hi, my name is Vicki. Here you can accompany my boyfriend Eduardo and me on our way through different countries of this world. Let's travel together!

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