Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture is a popular travel destination from Tokyo as it takes only 2.5 hours by bullet train. Known as second Kyoto, there are many traditional teahouses and wooden structures that take you back to ancient Japan. It has a perfect mix of traditional and modern architecture as well plenty of contemporary art galleries and museums.
If you have just one day to spend in Kanazawa, then read this feature to find the most effective way to cover all the important spots.
Check out this city map. You will realize that all the famous tourist destinations are in the city center. Several tourist destinations in Kanazawa open early in the morning or are open for 24 hours. It is best to start early to avoid crowds. The following three spots open early: Kenrokuen, Kanazawa Castle Park and Oyama Shrine.
Kenrokuen is one of Japan’s “three most beautiful landscape gardens.” Start your day here. Of the several gates, only the Renchimon Gate and Katsurazaka Gate are open in the morning. We chose the former.
Following the six characteristics of a perfect garden according to Chinese philosophy, the garden is spacious with several ponds, streams, a teahouse, craft museum and so on.
Once inside, you will enjoy every step you take in this garden.
No matter the season, the garden is absolutely stunning.
After walking 100 meters, you will find the sign for the famous Kotojitoro, a stone lantern.
As you can see, the lantern has only 2 legs: one in the water and one on the land.
Follow the signs to visit various spots. The reflections in the pond are stunning.
Since we visited in the morning, there were barely any tourists and it felt like an exclusive visit.
The pine trees are protected from the heavy snow in this region using a technique called yukitsuri, wherein bamboo poles and ropes are arranged in conical shapes.
Kenrokuen is open in the morning as per the following:
From March 1 to March 31, open from 5:00
From April 1 to August 31, open from 4:00
From September 1 to October 31, open from 5:00
From November 1 to the end of February, open from 6:00
Kanazawa Castle Park
The Castle Park is connected to Kenrokuen, so it makes sense to visit this spot next.
Kanazawa Castle Park is very large but luckily the area is mostly flat, making it easy to walk around the park.
The castle has been reconstructed and restored over time. You can enjoy admiring Japanese architecture at its finest here.
The gate, in particular, is awe-inspiring due to its design and size.
Make sure to look at all the minute details.
Both the castle and gardens are beautiful but if you don’t have too much time, you can head out to the next destination.
Oyama Shrine is a famous shrine guarding the city of Kanazawa, and is close to the first two spots.
This is no ordinary shrine. What makes it particularly special is the magnificent gate, which was built by a Dutch architect incorporating European and Asian design features.
The shrine is dedicated to Maeda Toshiie, the first lord of the Maeda Clan.
You can take some interesting photos here.
The main hall of this shrine isn’t as grand as the gate.
Oyama Shrine is a 15-minute walk from Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa Castle Park.
Once you are done with the above spots which open early in the morning, you are free to visit museums and galleries in the afternoon, such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and D.T. Suzuki Museum. Hope this feature helps you plan your day in Kanazawa.
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