Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan is a small authentic city with plenty to offer for cultural and history buffs.
The following locations make a great one-to-three day itinerary:
Higashi Chaya District （東茶屋）
First stop was in the Higashi Chaya District, a traditional Japanese neighborhood with tea houses and some leftover craft shops. I woke up relatively early the first day to avoid the crowds and was able to see the beauty of this small neighborhood all to myself.
The second day I walked around Kenroku-en, one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. The first thought I had when entering the garden was how clean and maintained the trees, grass, paths to walk on were kept. There were many gardeners working and well as tree maintenance staff who were adding support to hundreds of year old trees that would naturally fall under the weight of the snow. The support system itself was very beautiful and added to the natural beauty.
D.T. Suzuki Museum （鈴木大拙館）
Next I stopped by a museum dedicated to D.T. Suzuki, a Japanese author and professor of Buddhist philosophies. Walking into this museum I felt very happy coming to Kanazawa because this was exactly what I was looking for. The facility was not very big and the atmosphere was quiet and peaceful because there were very few people during the time I was there. This water mirror garden was like a time for self-reflection time because I was able to sit and think while observing this incredible architecture. I highly recommend this space to anyone visiting Kanazawa.
Kanazawa Castle (金沢城）
Kanazawa Castle Park was extremely big considering the size of the castle being small compared to other castles I’ve visited in Japan. I easily spent a couple of hours just walking around exploring the Castle's grounds. I thought the castle’s white color was very pretty and the environment was very clean and well kept.
Nagamachi Samurai District （長町武家屋敷）
The final two days in Kanazawa were raining so I was able to see the city in a different light. This district is the area where samurai and their families lived. The rooftops were similar to those in the HIgashi Chaya district however these homes were much smaller in size and felt more like alleyways rather than streets. Nagamachi was also relatively quiet but there were also a couple craft stores open for guests to see while exploring the neighborhood.
Train - Hokuriku Shinkansen: ¥13,600
Kagayaki : (plus ¥500) for reserved seats, fewer stops and arrives at Kanazawa Station in roughly 2 hours and a half.
Hakutaku: few more stops and arrives in Kanazawa within 3 hours.
Bus - JR Bus and Willer Express.
JR Bus: Runs two night services from Ueno Station to Kanazawa Station ¥5,800- ¥8,400 (8 hours and 30 minutes)
Willer Express: Runs from Shinjuku station, prices vary between ¥4,000- ¥7,000 depending on the season (7 hours 40 minutes)
Plane - Narita Airport and Haneda Airport both offers daily flights to Komatsu Airport in Ishikawa Prefecture
Upon arriving in Komatsu Airport, you will then transfer to a bus (40 min) that will take you to JR Kanazawa Station.
Plane tickets vary depending on season, as low as ¥10,000-20,000
Bus tickets prices are: Adults ¥1,130 Child ¥620