Often overlooked in favour of Kyoto, Kanazawa is one of Japan’s most sophisticated and enchanting historical cities with a warren of tiny backstreets home to geisha houses, immaculately landscaped gardens, Shinto shrines and fish markets. With a cosmopolitan night scene, boutique shopping along with brilliantly preserved crafts there is something for everyone.
With gardens and ancient crafts that rival Kyoto, unrivalled sushi and sashimi restaurants and a direct train from Tokyo, Kyoto and Takayama, Kanazawa remains a firm favourite with us that is also easy to access with new transport links. At the centre of this historic gem is Kenroku-en Garden, arguably one of the most beautiful landscaped gardens in Japan. Spread across 11 hectares that date back to the 17th century, the gardens are dotted with ancient pines, maple trees, ornamental lanterns and shimmering ponds. Kanazawa also boasts a brilliantly a preserved geisha and samurai district, contemporary museums and art galleries, one of the most successful fish markets in the region (Kanazawa has some of the best fish in Japan!) as well as the opportunity to learn all about local crafts including gold leaf application that the city can become known for. Kanazawa remains a firm favourite with us and we highly recommend stopping here for 2 or 3 nights.