We rendezvous with Nakagawa-san in the morning at 7am just in front of our hotel. He fetched us with his car to grandma's place where it will be parked. From there it is within easy walking distance to Kanazawa market. Unfortunately it is closed on a sunday, so we just walk through it to the bus stop.
Along the way, Nakagawa-san described to us that the streets in the market actually resemble a 'woman' word(女) if seen from the top. From the market we took a bus to Tera-machi (temple street). It cost 200Yen and the journey is around 10mins. We arrived at 9.30am. Since there is still some time to spare, we decided to check out one of the Geisha District - Nishi Geisha District. There are two Geisha Districts in Kanazawa. From what I heard, this western district is for the lower ranked warriors and is much smaller than the eastern one.
Before coming to Ninja-Dera, we have to make a reservation first. I especially mentioned this place a few days before as it seems quite fascinating. Nakagawa-san called the day before for the 10am appointment slot. The entrance cost 800Yen. Tours in the temple are entirely in Japanese. Thankfully Nakagawa-san requested for an English guidebook which I can refer to at each part of the tour.
No photos are allowed in there so I can only take the entrance photo of it. Ninja-Dera actually means Ninja Temple. There are no ninjas here. It is so named because there are many hidden traps and because of the deceptive design of the building. During the Edo period, the Maeda used this temple as a defensive lookout for enemies. The tour lasted around 45mins and it was quite an interesting experience.
We walked from Dera-machi down to the shopping and food street. It is around 11.15am and we decided to drop by one of the Sushi stall for lunch.
We ordered a sushi set which cost around 1300Yen. I love sushi, especially those in Japan. I stopped having sushi in Singapore and China ever since I tried the real Japanese sushi.
After lunch, we walked to the main sight of Kanazawa, the Kenrokuen. This is one of the top 3 gardens in Japan. The garden is a personal garden of the Maeda family and was previously off-limits to the general public. Kanazawa is a very rich city. In the past, they are the largest rice producing fief. In modern times, Kanazawa itself sports a large number of wealthy families.
Here is one of the oldest fountain in Japan. The fountain is not mechanically generated. There are mountains around Kanazawa and the stream actually come from one of the mountains. It shoot up as a burst of water resulting in this fountain.
We took a group photo at one of Kenrokuen famous sight.
An upclose photo of Kenrokuen and the large pond. There are carps swimming in the ponds.
Another one of the pond.
We went on the Seisonkaku Villa which is to the side of the garden. The entrance cost 700Yen. This villa is actually built by Maeda Toshie for his mother. It is a museum.
There is a beautiful garden in the villa where visitors can just sit and listen to the soothing sound of water flowing through.
Here I am experiencing the moment.
We walked out of Kenrokuen garden to the Kanazawa park next to it. The Kanazawa castle has been restored and we can visit it.
In there it highlights how the castle has been rebuilt from scratch.
Higashi Chaya District (東茶屋街)
From Kanazawa garden, we walked to Higashi Chaya District. While wandering through the narrow streets, we came upon this interesting drawing of torii gates on the walls. Nakagawa-san explained to us that this will deter people from vandalising or doing their business in this area.
We visited one of the shop for an afternoon tea. We ordered Matcha (抹茶) which cost around 600Yen. Think the shop is rather famous as some television show visited it before.
After tea, everyone started playing with the traditional umbrellas. I have been told to pose for it too.
We walked around Higashi Chaya street. In one of the shops, there is a gold plated wall. Here is Nakagawa-san posing with it. Kanazawa is rather famous for its gold paper leaves where people can actually eat it. Lin-chan was quite fascinated with it that she bought some rice topplings made of gold and cakes with gold on it.
The old street of Higashi Chaya.
From Higashi Chaya district, we took a bus to Nagamachi. This area was the living quarters of the samurais in the past.
Oyama Shrine (尾山神社)
A short distance away from Nagamachi just next to Kanazawa park is Oyama shrine. This shrine is dedicated to Maeda Toshiie, the first lord of the powerful Maeda clan. One of the unique feature of this shrine is the main gate. It is actually designed by a Dutch architect.
Here is the statue of Maeda Toshiie.
After all the visits, we rendezvous with Nakagawa-san family and make our way for dinner. Lin-chan hoped to have conveyor sushi for dinner, so Nakagawa-san brought us to a famous sushi place. Notice the conveyor belt running below. At the top, there is a model of a train. The train actually deliver sushi to each customer table once they have ordered from the computer screen. Pretty cool right!
Our sushi table.
We left Kanazawa at 8.30pm. Nakagawa-san knows the mountain track like the back of his hand. By the time I got back to my dorm, it was only 12.30pm (4 hours fast car ride).