Last month, as part of our two and half weeks in Japan, we visited somewhere completely new to us: Kanazawa. It’s located North-West of Tokyo, on the opposite side of the Honshu island and is the capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture.
Kanazawa has only relatively recently been served by a Shinkansen service to Tokyo and it seems to have experienced an upsurge in popularity with foreign visitors as a result. After we arrived from Kyoto, we were too early to check into our hotel, but they kindly looked after our luggage while we went for a wander.
The weather forecast was pretty grim, so we were determined to see some of the outdoor sights before the rain and wind prevented from going outdoors. (As it turns out, the really bad weather seemed to miss Kanazawa, but we weren’t going to take any chances).
The first thing you see when you arrive in Kanazawa by train is the impressive front of the train station. There’s the massive Tsuzumi Gate, dwarfing everything around it. Unfortunately, due to its placement and the speeding traffic on the nearby road, it’s a bit challenging to get a clear photo of the entire structure. But there are my attempts anyway.
It’s a beautiful example of how design can be woven into something as pedestrian as a train station, brightening up a whole neighbourhood in the process. And I know I wasn’t eh only person taking plenty of photos and admiring the structure.
We then walked across town towards Kanazawa castle but, figuring we could visit that on a later, rainier day we continued past it and went to the famous Kenrokuen Garden. Listed as one of the top three gardens in Japan, it didn’t disappoint.
We spent hours wandering around and while the photos below look a little dull – the lighting was terrible due to the fast moving clouds above us – it really was a beautiful spot.
Despite the crowds, we were able to find many peaceful and secluded spots along the way. The nice thing was the pace that everyone was moving at: slow and appreciative. It kept the gardens very relaxing and enjoyable.