When it comes to tourism spots in Ishikawa, isn’t the first thing that comes to people’s minds Kanazawa? Just the immediate area around Kanazawa Station is already full of places to see, from the Kenroku-en Garden that is always at the top of guidebooks, to the Kanazawa Castle and Art Museum, to the Higashi Chaya tea district overflowing with ancient beauty, all for your enjoyment. However, beyond the station, there are also many other interesting places in the area! Please allow us to tell you about these secret local gems.
1) First, the Ohmicho Market!
This is the first place among many that we want to add to your journey around the station. For about 300 years since 1721, this market has been supporting the lives of common people and daimyo alike, as a kitchen for the masses. Up to 180 stores surround this small walkway, in a breathtaking sight. Seafood, local fruit and vegetables, and various other products are on sale here, with the enthusiastic shouting from store owners, and visiting this scene is a good way to get in touch with the local spirit and feel a warm sense of community. Furthermore, in 2009 an “Ohmicho Market Building” was completed, with the first floor the market and the second floor completely for food stalls and restaurants, making for an even more fulfilling shopping and cuisine experience.
2) A Walk Through The Nagamachi Samurai House
Most people think of the famous Higashi Chaya district when they think about the streets of Kanazawa, but around the station there are also many areas that used to be the home of samurai, with among them the “Nagamachi Samurai House” also being a hidden little-known spot in town. The Nagamachi area is the remains of what used to be the residence of the daimyo, with beautiful long-running earthen walls lining the streets. Now it is a place where the traditions of the old meet the ways of the current modern-day residents, creating a charming harmony. And a little of the old atmosphere can still be enjoyed, when one walks along the stone-paved roads. When winter comes, a layer of straw is laid on to protect the walls from snow, called “Komogake”, a seasonal greetings of sorts of Kanazawa. Living here, just from these little things, one can tell the passing of the seasons.
3) Beloved Seisonkaku Villa
Although it is often overshadowed by the more popular Kenroku-en Garden, the Seisonkaku Villa, a national important cultural property, is also not a sight to be missed. Locaed in the Southeastern Part of the Garden, representative of the Kaga and Maeda family of daimyo, this structure was constructed in the 13th century to be a retirement home for the mother of the daimyo Maeda Nariyasu. A two-floor hipped-roof building built out of wood, and the pictures elegant of butterflies and turtles drawn on the space when meeting the daimyo, and on the wooden paneling of the paper sliding doors of each room, and the vivid color scheme of each room’s decoration, combined with little decorative trinkets like the Hina dolls, all make for a must-see sight for those interested in Kaga culture. We heartily recommend this to those interested in historical buildings, and also those just passing through the Kenroku-en Garden.
So did you enjoy our little trip? When you have the time, feel free to visit these hidden gems of Kanazawa, beloved by the local people, won’t you?
This post is also available in: Japanese