Kanazawa is easily accessible from Tokyo by shinkansen but can feel like one of Japan’s secrets: it’s a bit off the foreign tourist trail, has the charm of Takayama or Old Kyoto, and has incredible cuisine.
Kanazawa has several well-preserved Edo-period neighborhoods that feature traditional houses and gardens. It was home to one of Japan’s most powerful families during the Edo period and grew to rival Kyoto in cultural significance. Its well-preserved old districts beg exploration, Higashi Chaya and Kazuemachi Chaya being great examples of former geisha houses.
One of the best ways to explore Kanazawa’s history is through its cultural heritage. Kaga Yuzen is an ornate dyeing method that evolved in the Kaga district in the 17th century. It was made popular by feudal lords who appreciated the craftsmanship, lavish designs, and bold colors. Today, these intricate designs, which often feature plant and flower motifs, typically adorn local kimono. Let Kanazawa be your muse and take the opportunity to try your hand at creating your own Kaga Yuzen masterpiece. Alternatively, browse one of the local stores that stock this luxurious craft so you can take home a striking souvenir to remind you of Kanazawa.