A thriving historical centre and the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa escaped destruction in World War II leaving it standing as a beautifully preserved example of medieval Japan.
At its heart is a 17th century castle surrounded by ancient neighbourhoods and reconstructed streets. Discover the Nagamachi samurai district and the Chaya geisha entertainment quarter, which exist pretty much exactly as they did hundreds of years ago. Kanazawa is one of the few Japanese towns where the geisha tradition remains alive, making it a popular spot for those wishing to explore this fascinating tradition.
Kanazawa has a horde of other cultural attractions such as the Ishikawa Gate and the Sanjikken Longhouse, but its unchallenged main attraction is Kenroku-en Garden. Kenroku-en is one of Japan’s “three best landscape gardens” and considered by many as the most beautiful of them all, making Kanazawa the drawcard of the Ishikawa region.
When to go
Kanazawa is a year round destination. Visit in winter to see the "yukitsuri" in Kenroku-en Garden - ropes attached in a conical array to trees to help support branches under the weight of snow. It is not recommended to travel to Kanazawa between Christmas and New Years.
What to do
- Discover the perfectly preserved samurai and geisha districts
- Take a walk around Kenrokuen Garden
- Visit the city's many modern museums