It’s not often a train station is an attraction in itself but this one is architecturally stunning, has fabulous shops, great food, facilities and hints at the wonderful time you’re going to have in this lovely city.
Established in the Edo period and developed over 2 centuries, Kenrokuen is rated as one of the top 3 gardens in Japan. For a couple of weeks in Jan and Feb it comes alive when the giant rope structures protecting the trees are illuminated.
While regularly beset by fire with many rebuilds over the centuries (though not the main castle), Kanazawa Castle Park is lovely to stroll around on your way to Kenrokuen Garden. Only the turret interiors are open (for a small fee) but feature gorgeous carpentry.
Built in 1643 to help protect Kanazawa Castle, Myoryuji is known as a Ninja Temple, due to a host of deceptive devices, illusions, traps, secret passages and hidden stairs. Reservations are recommended but English is rare so ask at your hotel or tourist information centre.
One of the highlights of Kanazawa are the 3 gorgeous Chaya districts (geisha tea-house areas) - Higashi, Nishi and Kazuemachi. Its well worth treating yourself at either Shima or Kaikaro tea-houses in the Higashi district or, if low on time, at least enjoy a famous gold leaf ice cream.
This beautifully restored historic home is in Nagamachi, with its canals and cobbled streets, the area where Kanazawa’s samurai lived with their families. The house has a lovely serene atmosphere, some great antique artefacts and a gorgeous inner garden.
Located in the corner of Kenrokuen Garden, this elegant villa, designated an Important National Cultural Asset, was built by a feudal lord for his mother. It features large tatami rooms, ceilings decorated with scenes of family life and a lovely collection of personal artefacts.
Daijoji is a 700-year-old monastery nestled in the forested hills of Kanazawa and, while a little far from the city centre, its worth visiting to either enjoy the tranquillity or even participate in their Sunday meditation with the 20+ monks who live there.
Dating from 1666, Ohi Pottery has been made by just one family in Kanazawa for over 350 years. The gallery is housed in their old family residence and features gorgeous artworks, crafted by hand. You can select an original tea bowl when enjoying a green tea cuppa in the connecting café.
Founded in 717 by a Buddhist monk, the extensive grounds feature multiple buildings, a pond garden, observation deck, hand-cut meditation caves and steps carved into the cliffside. In winter snow, this secluded temple can seem like a dream.