FROM SEAFOOD TO SAMURAIS, GOLD TO GEISHAS
Tucked in between the Sea of Japan and the Japanese Alps, flanked by the Sai and Asano rivers, Kanazawa might be an unfamiliar destination, but it’s sure to become an unexpected favorite. Translated literally Kanazawa means "marsh of gold," and the city produces approximately 98% of the gold leaf in Japan. Find a small jar to take home or try it sprinkled on ice cream. Gold aside, Kanazawa is also a jewel in Japan’s historical crown. Founded in the late 1500s as a castle town, the city has been relatively untouched from the ravages of World War II and natural disasters. Once a powerful and strategic city for the Maeda clan, it is now a comparatively small city with a calm, comfortable feel.
Stroll over the small bridges of the Naga-machi Buke Yashiki (samurai district) or admire the charming tiled streets and weathered wooden buildings of the Higashi Chaya (geisha district.) Stop into a traditional tea house, tended by geisha, or any number of artisan shops, where you’ll find fine handcrafted items such as wooden chopsticks.
Discover Tera-machi, Temple Town, where you’ll find 70 temples grouped together. Visit the D.T. Suzuki Museum, a peaceful homage to Zen Buddhism, or the giant glass walls of the 21st Century Museum of Modern Art, shaped like a UFO. Be sure to sample the region’s sake, known for it superior quality. Explore the small bustling alleys of the colorful Omichi Market, which dates back nearly 300 years, always overflowing with local vendors. Discover something new and interesting or savor the familiar delight of plenty of fresh seafood—crab, broiled scallop or eel, and oysters or sea urchins right from the shells. Sample fruit and ice cream, and linger over tea.