Kanazawa is located in Ishikawa prefecture on the northern side of Central Honshu, facing the Sea of Japan. Famous for its gold leaf and its world-class contemporary art museum, there’s a lot to love. With beautiful historic districts, a background of folk art and lovely locals – it’s the perfect getaway! For more photos of this wonderful city, see an overview of our first trip and all my posts on the area.
GETTING THERE & AROUND
Kagayaki Shinkansen – 2.5 hours from Tokyo at ¥14,120 per adult, one way (reservations required).
Hokuriku Bus – 7 hour overnight buses from Tokyo starting at ¥7,000 per adult, one way.
Kanazawa Loop Bus – most local places can be reached on foot, but this sightseeing bus is good for a rest!
Motoyu Ishiya – beautiful rural ryokan a little way out of the city with lovely gardens and kaiseki.
Hatchi – brand new hotel offering both shared (hostel-style) and private rooms in an incredible space.
Hotel Pacific – boutique hotel with great interiors, just around the corner from the Omicho market.
Ryokan Asadaya – incredible ryokan in the city centre with only a few rooms and attentive service.
Hotel Trusty – surrounded by boutique shopping in Korinbo, amazing buffet style Japanese breakfast.
Good Neighbours – hipster hostel located right by the train station, great for those on a budget.
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art – world-class art gallery with rotating exhibitions.
D.T Suzuki Museum – peaceful museum for reflecting upon the work of the famous philosopher.
Kenrokuen – one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan, breathtaking in any season.
Omicho Market – huge market with seafood (including the famous local crab) and other produce.
Kanazawa Castle – after a number of fires, this intricate replica still watches over the city.
Higashi Chaya – former geisha neighborhood of picturesque streets and gift stores.
Shima Geisha House – former geisha house, open to the public for tours inside, no photos allowed.
Oyama Shrine – pretty shrine in the heart of the city, lovely when the blossoms are in bloom.
Kanazawa Umimirai Library – an architectural site to behold, a building punctuated with hundreds of holes.
Ninja-dera – nothing to do with ninjas, but famous for its hidden stairways and secret chambers.
Nomura House – restored former home of a samurai family with tours available inside.
Curio Espresso – American cafe with kind hosts offering incredible lattes and pulled pork sandwiches.
Tori – store with Scandinavian goods and delicious drip coffee, right by the museum.
Hum & Go – new coffee stand in the Hatchi hotel building, good pit stop on the way to Higashi Chaya.
Full of Beans – incredibly beautiful cafe and coffee shop, with lunch and dinner menus too.
Hakuichi – the biggest gold leaf ice-cream I could find in the city, a sight to both behold and eat!
Turban Curry – small counter style shop offering the local Kanazawa curry, rich and thick.
Spice Box – Indian restaurant with amazing dosas (for a change of pace) and friendly service.
Dining Bar Huni – highly recommended by a local, small place with inventive dishes.
Now – furniture store featuring classic Scandinavian pieces, perfect for daydreaming.
Shibafune Koide – sweet shop, selling only one product monaka with an incredible interior.
Fukumitsuya – elegant sake store with a bar for tastings inside and an ice cream menu too.
Kanazawa no Tsuki – a delicious fluffy chiffon cake filled with custard and dusted in gold leaf.
Kanazawa Hyakumangoku – local beers from Waku Waku Tezukuri; pale ale, koshihikari ale and dark ale.
Takayama – mountain town with picturesque wooden homes dating back to the Edo period.
Shirakawa – famous for its gasshō-zukuri style of homes with thatched roofs that can withstand heavy snow.
Noto Peninsula – winding roads along rugged seascapes jutting out into the Japan Sea.
Kagaonsen – collection of four famous hot spring towns not far from Mount Hakusan.
Quick guides are condensed city guides that outline my favorite places in a city. I love to spend hours researching for incredible places to visit, so this is a way to share my finds. Happy travels!