In Part 1 of my Kanazawa blog I wrote about “Visiting our family grave in Kanazawa“. In this post I’ll be sharing with you the places we visited and the delicious food we had.
When you exit out of Kanazawa station you will see a big beautiful red gate that welcomes you to the city. This gate is called “Tsuzumimon”. The design is inspired from Tsuzimi drums. These hand played drums are used for Japanese performing arts theatres from the 14th century and are deeply embedded in Kanazawa’s history.
Higashi Chaya District
This area during the Edo period used to be the entertainment district. It used to be filled with teahouses where you can eat and see performing geishas. Now the place is full of local cafes, restaurants and shops.
We went into a sake tasting bar in Higashi Chaya District called Fukumituya Sake Shop (福光屋) on the main street. This is where I discovered my new liking for Japanese sake. In Kanazawa you can get high quality and great tasting rice which means they can make good sake. The sake I tasted here was nothing like what I tried before. The sake aroma and taste was similar to the characteristics of good wine. We got to compare 6 local sakes from the area. We were easily sucked in and bought some to take home with us.
From the 15th century the Maeda clan took over the Kanazawa castle and were seated until the 18th century. They were one of the most powerful samurai families in Japan. The most famous Maeda family member was Maeda Toshiie. He was one of the famous generals for Oda Nobunaga.
Recently the castle has been rebuilt to its original state in 1850 due to being burnt down many times. The methods and materials used back then were used to reconstruct the castle and has been open to the public since 2001.
You can see a display of amazing Japanese carpentry skills used to built the castle. It only cost 310 yen to enter the castle.
This garden is located right next to Kanazawa Castle. It is one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. This garden was part of the castle and constructed during the Maeda family rein.
We saw a very old Japanese pine tree that was planted in the 13th century. The branches were supported by long pieces of wood to shape the tree. It was interesting to see the roots being lifted up from the ground.
We saw many people keeping the gardens looking beautiful. Because of the extensive grooming and high maintenance the pine trees probably looked like nothing like its original state. It looked even better!
Omicho Fish Market
When we were eating out in Kanazawa we felt the fish tasted better then Tokyo. We basically ate sashimi and sushi everyday. I was told the Japan sea (west coast) is colder and has more nutrients, therefore the fish tend to have more fat making it tastier.
We went over to Omicho Fish Market is have some fresh sashimi. We went to a place called Ikiikitei (いきいき亭) in the market.
We ordered the most popular dish, “Ikiikitei-don” which cost 2000yen and some sake. The sashimi bowl came with a selection of more then 10 different kinds of fish. The shop had a nice local feel and the people there were very friendly and chatty.
Daiki Sushi Restaurant
For dinner one night we treated ourselves to some slightly more expensive sushi. We went to”Daiki“, it is a counter style sushi restaurant located near Kanazawa train station. The people were very nice, we even chatted away with the other customers which doesn’t happen in Tokyo. People definitely seem a lot friendlier here.
The sake pitcher and cups was served in tinware made by Nousaku. It is made in the same region in a town called Toyama. We felt that the sake tasted even better when served in these cups. I read these cups purify the water and take the edge out of the sake and make it smooth to drink.
Breakfast at Curio
We had a lot of trouble trying to find somewhere to eat for breakfast. While we were walking we found a cafe called “Curio” that serves espresso style coffee. The owners were from Seattle and moved over to Kanazawa 2 years ago.
It was a nice relaxing cafe with a great selection of food. We throughly enjoyed the coffee and Ciabatta Sandwich and Quinoa Salad Plate.
I highly recommend visiting Kanazawa if you want to experience some Japanese culture. It is only a short train ride away from Tokyo.