Here are some great attractions for those visiting Ishikawa-ken and particularly Kanazawa City.
Oyama Shrine's unique blend of East and West distinguishes it as a symbolic landmark of Kanazawa City. Designed in part by Dutch architect Holtman, the three-story structure not only features a stain glass window but also has served as a lighthouse to sailors because of its visibility from the Sea of Japan. In spite of its European air, it still retains elements of a traditional Japanese shrine. Having originally been built a gate to Kanazawa Castle, it boasts a carving of two elegant dragons and a garden for leisurely walks. Admission: Free. Address: 11-1 Oyamamachi, Kanazawa. Tel. 076-231-7210.
Do not be misled by Myoryuji's epithet, the "Ninja Temple." Perhaps a better nickname would be "Anti-Ninja Temple" as it was originally built for Buddhist feudal lords who wanted to thwart invading ninjas. This explains why the temple contains 29 stairways with escape paths to 23 rooms as well as a variety of secret tunnels, trap doors, and hidden chambers. Traveler's Tip: This is one of Kanazawa's most popular site-seeing spots, so it gets very crowded. Reservations are required because they give special guided tours throughout the day. Fees are 800 yen for adults and 600 yen for elementary students. Address: 1-2-12 Nomachi, Kanazawa. Tel. 076-241-0888.
Traditional Arts and Crafts
Many prefectures in Japan boast of an arts and crafts scene. No other prefecture offers more tourist interaction and hands-on experience through workshops and activity centers than Ishikawa does! Second only to Kyoto in production of traditional arts and crafts, Ishikawa's artisan community brought in more national awards than any other prefecture. Kanazawa's Municipal Yasue Gold Leaf Museum allows tourists to closely observe the production of gold leaf. The museum is open from 9:30am-4:30pm from Wednesday to Monday. Admission: 300 yen. Address: 1-5-10 Kitayasue, Kanazawa. Tel./Fax. 076-233-1502.
Kanazawa tourists can experience both painting Kutani porcelain in Kanazawa's Choju Kutani Workshop (Tel.076-221-1822) and actually making porcelain at Ace Kanazawa Kutani Porcelain Workshop (Tel.076-241-3147). For kimono lovers, the Kaga Yuzen Gallery and Studio allows tourists to see silk dying and washing of the fine cloth in an artificial stream. Tel.076-240-0500
In the Kaga Region, the Traditional Arts and Crafts Complex (Yunokuni-no-Mori) is a quaint 82-acre community with old wooden houses, thatched roofs, and gardens, where tourists can see demonstrations of and experience making lacquerware, pottery, and woodwork. Tel. 07616-5-3456
Contact information for activity centers and workshops can be found at the following website:
Other suggested links include http://shofu.pref.ishikawa.jp/index-e.php3 and http://www.ishibi.pref.ishikawa.jp/english/collections/index.html (with a virtual gallery)
Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa is officially known as one of Japan's three most sacred and beautiful traditional gardens. Once a secluded property of the Maeda noble family, it was opened to the public in 1874, nearly 200 years after its establishment. The word "Kenrokuen" refers to the 6 elements that make a garden complete, according to an ancient Chinese book: vastness, calmness, human labor, antiquity, water, and a fine view. It is indeed a "complete" garden, featuring teahouses, ponds, streams, a Meiji monument, and a vast walking path for visitors. Perhaps most noteworthy of the garden is its distinct ambiance every season, displaying sharp variations in color, foliage, and landscape. It was named a National Site of Scenic Beauty in 1922 and was elevated to National Site of Special Scenic Beauty in 1985, which is equal in status to a National Treasure. It is also within walking distance to other Kanazawa tourist attractions, such as the Kanazawa Castle Gate and Park, the Prefectural Museum of Arts, and the Ishikawa-ken Museum of History. Access: Tel. 076-234-3800. Open everyday. Hours: 7:00am-6:00 pm (Mar. 1 – Oct. 15), 7:00am-4:30pm (Oct. 16 – Feb. 28). Admission: 300 yen.
Located in Musashigatsuji, Kanazawa, this 280-year-old market is considered the "Kitchen of Kanazawa." The sheer variety of ingredients in Omicho Market makes it a chef's dream and a Japanese cuisine-lover's delight. Always a lively maze of fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, and other culinary treats, the market especially overflows with crabs and sweet shrimp during the winter season. Because it is such a tourist hotspot, prices can run a little high. So, tourists are encouraged to haggle with produce venders, which can be a fun experience in and of itself. The market is open from 9:00am-5:00pm, Monday to Saturday, excluding holidays. Address: 35 Omicho, Kanazawa. Tel. 076-231-3317.
In addition, here are some websites: