Japan, October 6 - 8: Kanazawa

Kanazawa is a medium-sized city near the sea of Japan in the north central part of Honshu, the main island of Japan. We had a hotel booked for two nights in Kanazawa. We had to take the bus to the train to get there.


Nancy's all ready to board the train for Kanazawa.


This is our hotel room at Kikonoya in Kanazawa. We found this place via the wonderful internet. It turned out to be a really nice little Japanese B & B type hotel, situated in a cute little back alley filled with fashion boutiques, a delicious french bakery, an arcade and even a laundromat!


Some high school kids parked their monkey-bike mini motorcycles near us and Nancy just had to try one on for size.


Nancy managed to locate some figs of several varieties for sale nearby. The verdict: not bad.


Here's Bryan enjoying a Neo-Geo game at one of the many Japanese arcades near our hotel. The arcades in Japan were numerous and of high quality, which very much pleased Bryan.


We found Kanazawa's day market and set off to explore.


What follows are many photos from the Kanazawa day market. It was teeming with activity and although all of the prices were typical for Japan - i.e. very high - the produce and meat were all of superior quality.

Anyone have any idea what this strange and rather repulsive sea creature is in this styrofoam box? We didn't have a clue ...


For lunch we stopped on a side street at a small cafe. Our "lunch box" lunches were tasty and quite cheap by Japanese standards. All in all we were pleased and ready for our next destination: the famous Kenrokuen garden.


The garden is one of the three most famous Japanese gardens in Japan. The weather was perfect - warm and sunny - and we looked forward to several hours' wandering in the garden.

There's actually not a lot to say about the garden. It was nice but a little overrun with visitors. Also it wasn't quite what we were expecting from a famous Japanese garden. It was more like a big green park and less like a highly groomed small garden than we expected. But it was nice nonetheless.


After the garden we made a brief stop at a small history museum. It contained artifacts from the Honda family, one of the most powerful families in Japan for hundreds of years, and not related in any way to the Honda Motor Company.


On our way back to the bus station we happened upon an "International Friendship Festival" being staged by a local school. This popular event consisted of many booths, each representing one particular country, some with food or souvenirs from that particular country, and all offering information on the country in question. In addition, live events were planned throughout the day to represent the culture of different countries of the world.


A Spanish flamenco dance show was performed by a local dance school.


In attendance were some very cute dogs and babies.


This was a Japanese drum performance.


Our next stop was a historical neighborhood of Kanazawa with traditional Japanese streets and homes. This area of Kanazawa was a comfortable walk from our hotel. Both of us formed the opinion that Kanazawa was a fantastic city - clean, friendly, small enough to be comfortable yet large enough to be interesting, and with an abundance of charm and personality. It was probably our favorite city in Japan.


The old section of town featured an authentic Shogunate house. Here's a fire pit within the house used for boiling tea water.
In the back yard was a lovely garden.
This meditation room was used for relaxation.
The house also included an office used by the Shogunate as kind of a bank for the local people that he presided over, and a second floor with a small museum of Shogun clothing and dishware, but unfortunately we didn't get photos of any of that.


Outside of the Shogun house we found an area of small alleyways with beautifully maintained traditional Japanese houses. It was interesting that the architecture was in some ways like Chinese architecture, especially the walls, which looked very Chinese, but with one important and striking difference: they were all yellow, whereas in China they were always red.


This is a street near our hotel, outside the arcade, to be exact. This photo doesn't really do justice to the cute and busy side streets of Kanazawa.


When walking back to our hotel we happened upon an outdoor jazz concert. It seems that wherever we wandered in Kanazawa, something interesting was going on. What else would they serve but edamame and broiled squid. Yum!


A dinner and a breakfast was included in the hotel price (the first evening we went to a sushi bar instead, but neglected to take any photos). Here's Nancy enjoying another Calamyrna fig before dinner was served. These figs were scrumptious!


This time the dinner was served directly in our hotel room. This made it very convenient as we didn't even have to leave our room to enjoy our meal! We felt a little bad for the hostess who had to go up and down the steps outside of our door a half a dozen times to get everything up to us.


As you can see, the spread was amazing (as usual) and of course very tasty.


Japanese meals tend to consist of very small portions of a variety of dishes served each in its own small plate or bowl.


The next morning we said goodbye to our great little hotel, its wonderfully nice husband and wife host and hostess team, and the fantastic city of Kanazawa. Here we are on the steps of the hotel before making our way back to the train station and on to our next destination.


Back to: Japan, October 4 - 5: Ogimachi

On to: Japan, October 8 - 10: Sasayama

Back to Bryan and Nancy's Trip to China Main Page