Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture is a popular tourist city where traditional culture remains strong like Kyoto and Nara. Kanazawa, also called Little Kyoto, fascinates visitors with its fusion of history, culture and beautiful nature. The main attraction is Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s three great gardens. In addition, there are many attractions such as the Chayamachi district with its beautiful traditional townscape and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, one of Japan’s leading contemporary art museums. On this page, we will introduce carefully selected travel information such as attractions of Kanazawa, sightseeing spots to visit, and things to do.
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Outline of Kanazawa
Kanazawa is located in Ishikawa prefecture in the Honshu region of Japan, an area of the Japanese coast in the Chubu region, also known as the Hokuriku region. It is the prefectural capital of Ishikawa Prefecture and the largest city in the Hokuriku region.
Kanazawa is a traditional city called Little Kyoto. A castle town that prospered as the base of the Maeda family of the Kaga clan, it has survived major disasters and war damage to this day. The main attractions are compactly gathered in the center of the town, so you can fully enjoy walking around the town.
Highway Bus: There are highway buses available from Tokyo to Kanazawa, with a travel time of approximately 4-5 hours.
Shinkansen (Bullet Train): You can take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kanazawa, which takes about 2.5-3 hours.
Haneda Airport (Tokyo) → Komatsu Airport: 1 hour
Narita Airport (Tokyo) → Komatsu Airport: 1 hours 20 minutes
Highway Bus: There are highway buses operating from Osaka to Kanazawa, with a travel time of around 3.5-4 hours.
Shinkansen: You can take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Osaka to Kanazawa, which takes about 2.5-3 hours.
Highway Bus: There are highway buses available from Kyoto to Kanazawa, with a travel time of approximately 3-4 hours.
Shinkansen: You can take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Kyoto to Kanazawa, which takes about 2-2.5 hours.
Airplane: There are direct flights from Sapporo to Kanazawa, with a travel time of about 1.5-2 hours.
Airplane: There are direct flights from Okinawa to Kanazawa, with a travel time of about 2-2.5 hours.
*Komatsu Airport → Kanazawa: 40 minutes by limousine bus
Kenrokuen is one of Japan’s finest traditional gardens, renowned for its breathtaking beauty and meticulous design. The spacious grounds include tranquil ponds, rolling hills, picturesque bridges and lush vegetation. You can enjoy the beauty of each season, such as cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves in autumn.
In the garden, there is a traditional tea room where you can experience Japanese tea ceremony. Enjoy the view of the surroundings while having matcha tea in the tea room. A serene and authentic cultural experience.
Kenrokuen is also known for its iconic attractions. One of them is the graceful stone lantern “Kotobashira Lantern” that is reflected in the calm pond. It is also famous for the “Yukitsuri” ropes that are stretched around to protect the trees from heavy snow, and you can enjoy the mysterious scenery.
Throughout the year, Kenrokuen hosts a variety of seasonal events that celebrate Japanese cultural traditions. Enjoy a glimpse into the region’s rich traditions, including cherry blossom viewing, lantern festivals, and tea ceremonies.
Kenrokuen has a calm atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a leisurely walk, and get in touch with nature. In a quiet place, sit on a bench and enjoy the beauty of the garden.
Higashi Chayagai ( Higashi Chaya District)
Higashi Chaya District in Kanazawa is a charming place that takes you into the world of traditional Japan. It is known for its beautifully preserved teahouses where geisha and maiko entertained guests. Wander the narrow streets lined with elegant wooden buildings decorated with lattice windows and traditional signs. You will feel as if you have slipped back in time to the Edo period.
Higashi Chaya District is lined with charming shops. There are various traditional crafts and souvenirs such as gold leaf products, lacquerware, and crafts. Get to know the local culture by participating in various cultural experiences. By experiencing them, you will gain a deeper understanding of the region’s rich cultural heritage.
Omicho Market, the largest fresh food market in Kanazawa, has been the kitchen of Kanazawa citizens, nicknamed “Omicho” for about 300 years.
Approximately 170 shops selling fresh seasonal seafood, vegetables, side dishes, and souvenirs line the narrow alleys and are bustling with people every day.
There are restaurants where the food is prepared right in front of you, and restaurants with eat-in seating, so you can enjoy seasonal gourmet food right there. We recommend the fresh sushi and kaisendon. Please try it.
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
The 21st Century Museum of Art is itself a work of art. Designed by renowned architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, the building has a unique circular structure with a glass façade. Its sleek, modern design blends seamlessly with the surrounding park, creating a space where art and nature harmonize.
From thought-provoking installations to cutting-edge multimedia works, each exhibition at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art offers visitors a unique and immersive experience. One of the features of this museum is the interactive art installation. By actively touching the works, visitors can enjoy participatory and immersive experiences. From interactive light displays to tactile installations, these artworks blur the lines between art and the audience, inviting you to become part of the creative process.
The museum is also surrounded by a beautiful open-air sculpture park, dotted with fascinating works. As you stroll through the park, you will come across sculptures and installations that complement the natural landscape. This park, where art and nature merge seamlessly, gives visitors a sense of tranquility and excitement.
Take a photo tour of the highlights of Kanazawa.
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