The opening of a new shinkansen (bullet train) line in 2015 has made Kanazawa much easier to access than it was before. The city, dubbed “Little Kyoto” was lucky to escape the worst of the World War 2 air raids and still retains a lot of its heritage as a result. Parts of this lovely town remind us of Kyoto with a well preserved geisha district with original tea and samurai houses on display.
Kenrokuen Garden is home to a number of wonders including the oldest fountain in Japan and a 300 year old tea house, as well as the Kotojo-toro lantern, emblem of both the park and Kanazawa. The three main chaya (tearooms) districts in Kanazawa (Higashi-Chayagai, Nishi-Chayagai and Kazuemachi) are from an older time, and with paved streets and wooden buildings it’s not too hard to imagine yourself being transported back a few hundred years. Higashi-Chayagi is the biggest of the districts and some of the chaya are even open to the public. The 21st century Museum of Contemporary Art is one of Japan’s most popular museums. The museum building itself is a work of art which has to be seen, and if you enter you can expect to see temporary exhibitions from world famous modern artists.