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Once you visit Kanazawa, you will love and want to live there. Called 'Little Kyoto', Kanazawa is a very attractive city with its famous Kenrokuen (one of the Three Great Gardens in Japan), Kanazawa Castle, nostalgic Geisha town (the second biggest Geisha district in Japan), many museums and of course its food culture! Kanazawa is a leading tourist city where 7 million tourists visit every year and very well orientated for tourists.
Historically Kanazawa was a great castle town ruled by Maeda Family from the 17th century to the 19th century. Kanazawa has not suffered devastation from war or major natural disasters. Therefore, Kanazawa maintains historical houses and inherits traditional handicrafts and traditional performing arts.
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JAPAN MAP - KANAZAWA
KANAZAWA PREFECTURE CAPITAL
Kanazawa is a very attractive city with its famous Kenrokuen Garden (one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan), Kanazawa Castle, nostalgic Geisha town (second only to Kyoto), many museums and its food culture. Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, is along the western coast of Honshu on the Sea of Japan.
Higashi Chaya District (East Geisha District) where Geisha entertain people by dance and music since the 17th century. Kanazawa has the second most Geisha in Japan, second only to Kyoto. Higashi Chaya District is the biggest of the four chaya districts in Kanazawa.
Naga-machi Buke Yashiki District is a Samurai house district in Kanazawa where the top to middle class Samurai who served Kanazawa Castle lived from 1583 to 1868. Here you can still see the alleys and the mud walls of the old days. The mud walls were made with stones and mud put into a mold and hardened. The roof is covered with thin wooden plates. The Onosho Canal, which flows along the alley, is the oldest canal of Kanazawa, which was an important waterway that carried goods from the harbor to the castle town.
Kanazawa Castle is a hilltop style Japanese Castle in Kanazawa right next to Kenrokuen, which originally was the private garden of the castle. Kanazawa Castle was built in 1583 by the order of Maeda Toshiie who was a feudal lord of Kaga Clan. Kanazawa Castle was destroyed by fire in 1620, but was rebuilt by the end of 1621, only to be destroyed in the Great Kanazawa Fire of 1759. Kanazawa Castle was rebuilt in 1762 and the Ishikawa-mon Gate was rebuilt in 1788. In 1881 the castle was again destroyed by fire, however the Ishikawa-mon Gate was saved.
Former Nomura Samurai House (Kanazawa) is where the Nomura Family, who successively held executive posts from generation to generation under rule of the Maeda Family, lived. The house has a coffered ceiling totally made of Japanese cypress. The garden inside the residence has a Japanese bayberry over 400 years old and a meandering stream surrounded by ancient and strangely shaped rocks.
Ishiura Shrine is believed to have been built in the 8th century, making it the oldest shrine in Kanazawa. Ishiura Shrine was relocated from Shimohonda-cho to its current site in 1880, where it is now surrounded by over 250 trees. In 1983 the Kanazawa City designated the shrine precint a Preserved Forest.
Kanazawa Shrine was established in 1794 by the order of Maeda Harunaga, a feudal lord of Kaga Clan. It worships Sugawara Michizane who was a scholar, poet and politician in the 9-10th century. Kanazawa Shrine is in Kanazawa .
Oyama Shrine is a beautiful Shinto shrine with distinctive main gate called the Shinmon (God Gate). This main gate was designed by Dutch and has a mix of Japanese, Chinese and European architectural elements and is designated as a National Important Cultural Asset. Oyama Shrine of Kanazawa also features a beautiful garden, with a round-the-pond style with an artificial island and bridge with images of old musical instruments. Oyama Jinja worships Maeda Toshiie.
KANAZAWA MUSEUMS and ART GALLERIES
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa offers both art and creations from wide-ranging fields related to art, including music, the performing arts, and film. 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa building was designed by two famous architects (Sejima Mazuyo and Nishizawa Ryue).
Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art (Kanazawa) showcases the fine arts and crafts of Ishikawa Prefecture. It exhibits paintings, oil paintings, sculptures, traditional arts and crafts whose artists have something to do with Ishikawa Prefecture including feudal Daimyo utensils using the Kaga Makie technique and a huge range of Kutani porcelain collection from Ko-kutani (Old Kutani) to Re-established Kutani.
Traditional Arts & Crafts of Ishikawa displays all the famous traditional arts and crafts of Ishikawa (Kanazawa region) and offers visitors an introduction to the process of making these craftworks. The museum also has a museum shop and cafe where visitors can actually touch the art and craft works. Traditional Arts & Crafts of Ishikawa also features a Tea Ceremony room.
KANAZAWA THEATRES and CONCERT HALLS
Ishikawa Prefectural Noh Theater Kanazawa is a classical Japanese musical drama that started in the 14th century and still has performances every weekend. Many characters are masked, with men playing male and female roles. The Noh in Kaga Clan started in the 16th century by the lord Maeda Toshiie. As the succeeding lords supported Noh and promoted it to their people, Ishikawa Prefecture became one of the few regions where Noh plays were popular.
KANAZAWA GARDENS and PARKS
Kenrokuen Garden is by far the most famous part of Kanazawa. Kenrokuen is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, maybe the best one of all as it is also designated as a "Special Place of Scenic Beauty". Kenrokuen was first established in the 17th century by the feudal lords of Kaga as their private garden.
KANAZAWA TOURIST INFORMATION CENTERS
Shiinoki Cultural Complex features a tourist information center, restaurant, cafe, conference rooms and galleries. Shiinoki Cultural Complex was completed in 2010 after renovation and conversion of the Old Ishikawa Prefectural Government building, which dates from 1924. The Shiinoki Cultural Complex features two two huge 300 year old Shiinoki (Passania) trees in front of the complex.
KANAZAWA TRAIN STATIONS
Kanazawa Station (JR) is one of the most beautiful train stations in Japan. A glass dome called 'Motenashi Dome' and a wooden gate called 'Tsuzumi-mon' welcome you to Kanazawa when you get off the train.
Omi-cho Market in central Kanazawa was established in the middle of the 18th century. Omi-cho Market has been serving fresh food for both locals and tourists since. Here you can buy beautiful fresh seafood caught in the Sea of Japan.
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