We woke early in the morning at the ryokan, and drove an hour through a heavy snowfall to the train station, where we took a Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kanazawa. This was the first city where we had a guide… it was helpful to have someone walk us through the beautiful sites and explain some of the rich history of the area.
We covered a lot of ground in a day-and-a-half: we walked through the Nagamachi district of the city where the Samurais lived and visited a Samurai home. We sloshed through snow to see the gorgeous Gyokusen’inmaru Garden and Kenroku-en Garden– one of the three most beautiful in Japan….
… but for me the most impressive thing in the city was the Kanazawa Castle. I was awestruck by the might of its construction and the way it fit so majestically into the landscape. I took about 150 photos just of the castle… and it was VERY HARD to boil down just to these. Click one of the smaller ones and flip through! The construction is magnificent!
One afternoon, we had the opportunity to visit a “tea-house”. The name isn’t specifically about tea– instead it refers to private clubs where Geishas (“Geicos”) perform music, dance and high-class entertainment. As part of our tour, the woman who owns and runs Kaikaro tea-house talked to us about her business, showed us the various rooms where performances happen, and gave us a sense of the celebrity-culture behind Geisha in Japan.
Kanazawa was a beautiful city, which not only had historic/touristy kinds of sites… but also had a lovely, modern train station, interesting museums, and great places to shop and eat– including a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant that was fully automated and made special deliveries to your table via a model, automated Shinkansen! We had a terrific time here!