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Japan is finally going to have a new shinkansen line in the Hokuriku area, which is the northern part of the Honshu island. The shinkansen “Kagayaki” will run starting March 14th, 2015. It will take just 2.5 hours from Tokyo to Kanazawa, one of the most beautiful cities in Japan.Keiko Shih/Flickr
Kanazawa is an old city. It flourished in the late 16th century under great leadership of the Maeda family. Kanazawa is a small city, but you can discover all kinds of Japanese traditional culture, food, and arts in Kanazawa.
As there are so many places to explore in the city, it might be difficult for you to choose where to go. For your information, here are top 7 places you must visit.
1. Kanazawa Station (JR railway)
Kanazawa Station is one of the gates of Kanazawa to visitors. The station has a huge glass dome called the Motenashi Dome. The Motenashi Dome looks like a huge umbrella and it is said that this dome is offering visitors an umbrella as Kanazawa has many rainy days. This shows a welcoming (“motenashi”) atmosphere to visitors.
There is a huge wooden gate called the Tsuzumimon in Kanazawa station. A tsuzumi is traditional Japanese hand drum, and “mon” means gate. When you arrive at Kanazawa station, you can feel the welcoming mood and historical atmosphere right away.淳平 筈井/Flickr
2. Kenrokuen (Traditional Japanese Garden)
It is said that there are 3 must-see Japanese Gardens in Japan. Kenrokuen is one of them. It is located next to Kanazawa Castle in the center of Kanazawa city. Kenrokuen used to belong to the Maeda family, who ruled the Kaga Clan from 16th century to 19th century.
You can feel the fresh air as you enjoy the ponds, fountains, and waterfalls in the garden and enjoy the traditional craftsmanship with beautiful stone bridges and stone lanterns. In the garden, there are many trees, like plum, cherry, pine and so on. You will be impressed by magnificent scenery in all seasons. In the winter, you can see yukiduri, the placement of some ropes from the top of the trees and branches in order to protect it from heavy snow.
Open: 7am to 6pm (8am to 5pm in winter)
Adult: 300 yen (free for those over 65)
Age 6-18: 100 yenYoshihide Urushihara/Flickr
3. Kanazawa Castle Park
In Kanazawa, there was a castle of the Lord Maeda Toshiie. Although the original castle was burned in a fire, some of the parts were rebuilt again and again. The Ishikawamon Gate and Sanjikken Nagaya (a storage house of about 50 yards) have both been designated as important cultural assets in Japan.
The place used to be as a base of Japanese army, then a university campus. The place was opened to the public in 1996.
Open: 7am to 6pm (8am to 5pm in winter)
Admission fee: free
4. The 21th Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
This museum was opened in 2004 and because of the uniqueness of its shape, which is round and made of glass walls, this is one of the must-see places for visitors to Kanazawa.
You can enter some of the museum exhibits for free. Since there are lots of hands-on exhibits, both adults and children can enjoy the time in this museum. This is also a good place to get Kanazawa souvenirs.
Open: 10am to 6pm (closed on Monday)
Admission fee: Changes depending on the exhibit
5. Higashi Chayagai
A chaya is a house where visitors enjoy feasts and Japanese traditional performances, like Japanese dance and live performances of Japanese instruments like the koto or the shamisen. Areas where there are many chaya is called a “chayamachi”. There are 3 famous chayamachi in Kanazawa, and the Higashi Chayamachi is the biggest one. It has also been designated as a Japanese cultural assets.
In the Higashi Chayamachi, there is a house called Shima. Shima has also been designated as a national important cultural asset. At Shima, everything has been left the same as it was in the Edo period, so you can truly feel the atmosphere of the early 19th century.
Shima’s hours: 9am to 6pm
Adults (high school and up): 400 yen
6. Omicho Market
Omicho Market has been in the center of Kanazawa for more than 280 years. In the market, there are large numbers of stores,including fish stores, vegetable stores, grocery stores, and so on.
In some fish stores, they offer a special sushi where you can taste fresh fish caught in the Sea of Japan. You may also find unique Kaga vegetables grown in the Hokuriku area.
Omicho Market is always very crowded, but you must visit.
Open: ~8am to ~6pm (depending on the store)Richard, enjoy my life!/Flickr
7. Myouryuji Temple(Ninja-dera temple)
There are many temples in Kanazawa and one of the temples is Myouryuji Temple. The Maeda family regarded those temples as shields from sudden attack of Tokugawa Shogunate. In Myouryuji temple, there were many tricks to escape from emergency attack and it still remains in its original shape. You can enjoy real ninja tricks in this temple.
Open: 9am to 4:30pm Advance reservatin required. Call 076-241-0888.
Adult: 800 yen
Children: 600 yen
Children under preschool age are not admitted.Kentaro Ohno/Flickr
You can visit all 7 of these places on the Kanazawa Loop bus, for which you can buy a travel pass that costs 500 yen for one day.
If you want to know more about Kanazawa, also check: