Kanazawa (金沢) is the capital city of Ishikawa prefecture. From the late 16th century until the end of the Edo period, Kanazawa (which means “marsh of gold”), was home to the powerful Maeda clan who invested in the development and teaching of crafts—many of which have survived and can be seen in the city.
Kanazawa was never a hub for the industrial modernization of Japan and so escaped destruction in the bombing raids of World War II, leaving behind some of the country’s best examples of Edo period districts. Being on the coast, the city is also famous for its fresh seafood which can be bought and tasted at Omicho Market.
Long popular with Japanese tourists, Kanazawa is increasingly seeing foreign tourist footfall, especially after the extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線) in 2015 made it possible to travel directly to Kanazawa from Tokyo on the bullet train.
Things to Do
Contemporary art museum that opened in 2004 and is today one of Kanazawa’s key attractions
Former area of residence for the samurai of Kanazawa with narrow canals and stone paths. Some of the homes are open to the public. There is also a small museum showing how the merchant class used to live, complete with a reconstructed old style pharmacy, tea room, traditional garden, and displays of local handicrafts.