Day 7 Japan Kanazawa October 11th, 2012
Get up and ready for another adventure in Japan. Today I am off to the city of Kanazawa. So I do not have far to get to train station. In fact it I just across the street. So I go and wait for the train there, it is raining out but not bad. So after a wait a train arrives and its not the nice bullet train, it is just old commuter train. I get on it and it is rigged but not bad. Scenery is very nice on route to my next destination. At one point several school children come on board then rest of the time I had the train to myself.
Finally after just a few hours arrive at the station of Kanazawa. Get off train and I make my way to the tourist information area. Here I get some maps and a small orientation of the city. Find out about a nice tourist bus that goes around to all the sites in the city. Here is some information about city of Kanazawa.
Kanazawa sits on the Sea of Japan, bordered by the Japanese Alps, Hakusan National Park and Noto Peninsula National Park. The city sits between the Sai and Asano rivers. Its total area is 467.77 km². Kanazawa’s weather is temperate though rainy. Average temperatures are slightly cooler than those of Tokyo though, with means approximately 4 °C in January, 15 °C in April, 25 °C in July and August, 15 °C in October, and 5 °C in December.
The minimum temperature on record was −9.4 °C (15.1 °F) on January 27, 1904, with a maximum of 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) standing as a record since September 8, 1902. The city is distinctly wet, with an average humidity of 73% and 193 rainy days in an average year. Precipitation is highest in the autumn and winter; it averages more than 250 millimetres (10 in)/ month November through January when the Aleutian Low is strongest, but it is above 125 millimetres (4.9 in) every month of the year. Along with Valdivia in Chile, Kanazawa stands as the wettest extra tropical city of its size or greater in the world. In the quinquennial census of 2010, the city had a population of 462,478 (2005: 454,607), giving a population density of 989 persons per km².
So anyways I go and check into my hotel which is just beside train station again. Very good.So hotel is very neat and modern, refer to my review of It for full description. So I go across the street and decide its lunch time so I go to the mall. I make my way to the food court area and find a nice restaurant. This is a nice restaurant, all it in japanese and seems the specialty is food with rice. More less rice bowls done in different ways. Hard to explain. I order something with rib meat in a big brown barrel and bowls and soup, quite different but really good. Service was good and I actualy went back 2 more times to same place. So I get on the sight seeing bus, for Kanazawa which is an old style bus from the 1940s’ There are many stops but I make my way to the castle which is in the middle of the city. Kanazawa Castle is the former home of the Maeda family who ruled over the Kaga Domain (modern Ishikawa and Toyama Prefectures).
From the Meiji Period to the end of World War II the grounds were used as a military base, and they were then made a part of Kanazawa University. In 1995 it became a public space for the first time in its history. Today, the Ishikawamon Gate (1788) and Sanjikken Nagaya Storehouse (1858) are the only structures that remain from the old castle. The gate is one of the more scenic parts of the castle, though and does have a turret. The structures within the castle grounds are 21st century reconstructions so they lack historic value but are still nice to look at. You can enter and because it’s so new it is handicap accessible. There are only a few artifacts currently inside. Even if you don’t enter though, it’s still worth a walk around the area. The castle grounds are free. Entrance to the inner turrets (Hishi Yagura) is 300 yen. You purchase your ticket in the building outside the entrance not inside. Ishikawa gate of Kanazawa Castle is very beautiful and the figure is a symbol of this historical city.
Once there was a campus of Kanazawa University in the castle, but it became a large park since the university had moved to the outskirts. It is a very interesting structure. I got trapped in at the gate by one of the local guides, The lady was happy to finally find someone who spoke english so she wanted to practice. She talked to me a whole hour doing a tour of this tiny empty room. I had no choice but to stay and listen to her. The castle was totally amazing. From here I make my way to other parts of the city. I walk the main gardens of this Castle area. Very interesting and nice spot but a bit tourist trap type of thing
They are beautiful, supposed to be the best in Japan. All really well laid out, meant for strolling around. Lots of lovely trees and mossy areas, big lakes with pretty bridges and stepping stones and lots of stone lanterns to add interest. From there walked out to the Samurai district Just a few interesting looking streets.
Went into an old Samurai house, Nomura. It was interesting with a beautiful garden that had a stream running through it. All beautifully laid out so that the main living rooms and the upstairs tearoom look out onto the garden. In fact there were little bits of garden in various other corners, all very peaceful. Afterwards make it back to the hotel by the amazing train station.
I go back for dinner at exact same restaurant because I really like that food. Instead of rib meat I had pork meat with the rice. Some nice beer to drink and it was good dinner. Afterwards go for a walk in the station and then in the neighborhood before it started raining. I find one of the pachinkos game areas which is across street from my hotel. I go and try to play pachinko. Here is some information on pachinko.
Pachinko is a mechanical game originating in Japan and is used as both a form of recreational arcade game and much more frequently as a gambling device, filling a Japanese gambling niche comparable to that of the slot machine in Western gaming.