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Goin’ Japanesque!

Top 4 Sightseeing Spots of Kanazawa (Japan Travel)

Hokuriku-bullet-trainHokuriku-bullet-train1
March 14 2015, along with the extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, Kanazawa has definitely been placed in the spotlight. It is one of the most talked-about tourism topics right now in Japan. 

Until the Kanazawa Station for the Hokuriku Shinkansen line opened, the trip from Tokyo to Kanazawa took about 4 hours including transfer. Now, there is a direct line and the trip is only about 2 and half hours long. The trip has become way smoother and it has increasingly been attracting tourists as a popular destination. 

Today, we are introducing our Top 4 choices of places that we Japanese would like you to visit. 

 

1. Kanazawa station

Kanazawa-station
Ref: Kanazawa-shi

The Kanazawa station of Ishikawa prefecture has been selected one of 14 “most beautiful train stations in the world” by “Travel + Leisure” magazine. The arching dome and the dynamic gateway are very unique. 

Tsuzumi-mon

(つづみ もん) (鼓門)

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Tsuzumi-mon, written “鼓門” in kanji characters is not to be mistakenly read as Komon. Even native Japanese can get it wrong from time to time, so it’s a nice piece of information to know. 

This Tsuzumi-mon is a gate that was inspired by the “Kaga Hosho no Tuzumi” (The drum of the Kanazawa style of noh-theater known as Kaga Hosho), which is a traditional art of Kanazawa. This traditional atmosphere has received high praise not only within Japan but from overseas as well and is highly valued as an artistic monument.

Motenashi Dome

(もてなし どーむ) (もてなしドーム)

motenashi-dome
The “Motenashi Dome” expresses the “the heart of omotenashi (hospitality) seen from holding out an umbrella to visitors that get off at the train station” to make the visitors  feel comfortable in any weather. 

The Kanazawa station which has been named one of the “most beautiful train stations in the world” is a beautiful station that incorporates Japanese tradition, innovation and the heart of omotenashi, so please, definitely stop by. 

 

2. 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

(かなざわ 21せいき びじゅつかん) (金沢21世紀美術館)

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As the name “21st Century Museum” may imply, this is a facility that highlights modern art and showcases artworks of various artists. Among these works, one that is particularly gathering attention is the swimming pool we are about to introduce. 

A mystical swimming pool

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The structure of the swimming pool creates the illusion that makes you feel as if you are under water. Actually, there is a 10cm deep pool of water above a glass surface. Looking down on the people from above the water gives you a very strange sense of feeling. You are also able to go inside the swimming pool. The inside is a mystical space of sky-blue to evoke the feeling of water. 

Seeing images of international tourists on Japanese television programs visiting the swimming pool and being really surprised and excited is still fresh in our memories. 

Information: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Address: 1-2-1 Hirosaka, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa
Access: <Bus From JR Kanazawa Station> Take buses from bus terminal 3,6 at East Exit. Get off at “Hirosaka·21st Century Museum”. Walk 1 min. Take buses from bus terminal 8–10 at East Exit. Get off at “Korinbo (ATRIO-mae)”. Walk 5 min. (10-min ride) 
Open: Sunday ~ Thursday (Monday: Closed) 10:00 – 18:00, Friday and Saturday 10:00 – 20:00
Phone: 076-220-2800
Price: 1000-yen (Adult)
Official Website: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

 

3. Kanazawa Castle

(かなざわ じょう) (金沢城)

Kanazawa-jo (Kanazawa castle), which everyone probably knows by now, is an architectural building symbolic of Japan. Skilled miyadaiku (carpenters specializing in temples, shrines and castles) have used the oldest techniques in Japan to build this castle. It is also famous because not a single nail was used in building this structure. Definitely worth a visit! 

There are many places to see within the Kanazawa-jo but the first thing we would like you to take in when you are at the castle is the four seasons. This is something that can be enjoyed even if you do not have any background knowledge on the Japanese language or Japanese history. Feel the different atmosphere the castle has depending on the time of year :) 

Spring season

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Summer season

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Autumn season

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Winter season

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How did you enjoy the tour? Were you able to feel the changing expressions of the castle? :D 

Night views

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And there is a completely different atmosphere at night too! It is as if we time-traveled to the Edo Period.

Recommended to Visit Together with Myoryuji aka Ninja Temple: 6 Highlights Specific to Myoryuji aka Ninja Temple and A Word of Caution

 

4. Kenroku-en

(けんろく えん) (兼六園)

Kanazawa-jo and Kenrokuen are located in the same place. It is one of the 3 Great Gardens of Japan and definitely should be enjoyed as a set. 

Spring season

Kenroku-en-Kanazawa1

Kyoku-sui

(きょくすい) (曲水)

Kenroku-en-Kanazawa2
The water from the 574 meter long reservoir runs into the Kasumiga-ike Pond. There are many different plants growing by the water and you will, for sure, embrace the beautiful natural scenery.

Renchi-mon dori

(れんちもん どおり) (蓮池門通り)

Kenroku-en-Kanazawa3

Bairin

(ばいりん) (梅林)

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With the arrival of spring, the 200 plum trees put on beautiful pink blossoms. 

Summer season

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Autumn season

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Winter season

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Night views

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Yuki-zuri

(ゆきづり) (雪吊り)

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Kenrokuen, which is located in the Hokuriku area, sees a lot of snow in the winter time. In order to prevent the pine branches breaking from the weight of the snow, the “Yuki-tsuri” is performed every year from November 1st. About 800 pieces of rope are used to keep the branches up. Though it was originally a process to protect the trees from damages of the harsh snow, the beauty of the process has made it a tourist attraction. 

We will continue our feature on Hokuriku area in a separate article. Updates to come soon! See you soon! :D 

Information: Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en

Access: Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Garden (Official Website)
Open time and Price: Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Garden (Official Website)
Phone: 076-234-3800

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