Kenrokuen park (兼六園), Myoryuji (妙立寺), Nagamachi Bukeyashiki-ato (長町武家屋敷跡) and also the fish market.
The garden can be enjoyed all year round
Opening Time :
Kenrokuen park : approx. 7:00-18:00 (Mar. 1-Oct. 15), 8:00-16:30 (Oct. 16-Feb. 28 ). Admission 300 yen.
Myoryuji : 9:00-16:30 (9:00-16:00 from Dec-Feb.). Admission 700 yen, reservation in Japanese required (Phone: 076-241-2877)
Access from Tokyo :
, 11 daily flights from Haneda to Komatsu airport (Kanazawa) with ANA and JAL;
, take the Joestu shinkansen until Echigoyuzawa and change for the Limited Express "Hakutaka" until Kanazawa;
by night train
, connecting Ueno and Kanazawa - the Limited Express Hokuriku (7h20, 18770 yen, sleepers and private rooms) and the Express Noto (7h05, 9750 yen, seats only);
by night bus
, an attractive option as buses leave from Shinjuku in the evening and arrive in Kanazawa in the early morning.
Access from Kyoto :
, take the Limited Express Raicho and Thunderbird reaching Kanazawa in 2h05-2h22 (6510 yen).
If you arrive early in the morning, note that the APA hotel, at the station's north exit, has an excellent breakfast buffet for 1365 yen, opening at 6:30 am.
Going around :
from the center of the Kanazawa city, all sites are readily accessible by foot or by bus; there is a possibility to rent bicycles from the Nippon car rental shop on the north exit.
The most famous attraction in Kanazawa is the Kenrokuen Garden, but before coming to it, let's start with the Ninja-dera.
: also know as the Ninja Temple
The third lord Maeda Toshitsune had Myoryu-ji temple moved from its former location near Kanazawa castle in 1643. In the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate demoted local lords and integrated them in order to unify the nation. In the Kaga clan, Toshitsune married a daughter of the Tokugawa family and sent his mother to the Edo castle as a hostage in order to maintain good relations with the shogunate. Meanwhile he constructed many temples around the castle so that many soldiers would be able to standby for battles. This temple, located in the center of this group of temples, was a lookout point from where enemies could be observed. The temple is also called the Ninja-dera, because of many trick staircases, a hidden room, a seppuku ritual suicide chamber, high roof and lookout.
Really worth a visit, although we only have a picture from outside... Keep in mind that you need to reserve a slot far in advance to be able to enter the house.
Kenrokuen park (兼六園）
As said before, the most famous attraction in Kanazawa is the Kenrokuen garden. It is set on top of a hill beside the Kanazawa castle, and is a mossy, woodsy garden that feels very different from the brighter, more open gardens like Korakuen and Kairakuen.
The word Kenrokuen can be translate by 'Garden of the six sublimities', or the six attributes of the garden : spaciousness
and beautiful views
. Very few gardens in Japan can combine these six attributes.
Once known as Renchi-tei, Kenrokuen was originally the garden of a tea house known as Renchiochin, and work on it first began by the daimyo Tsunanori in the 1620's. It was improved and expanded over the years.
Just next to the garden is located the Kanazawa castle, which is not extremely attractive in comparison of more famous ones like the Odawara castle, or the Nagoya one.
A visit to Nagamachi Bukeyashiki-ato (Nagamachi Samurai Residence Site
長町武家屋敷跡) is also recommended. There are still many old houses in this ancient samurai residential area, and walking around is really pleasant.
Information sheet (pdf file)
from JNTO (Japan National Tourist Organization).
Official town site
of Kanazawa, in English, with some information for visitors.