Kanazawa Quickie

Japan's flag
Asia » Japan » Ishikawa » Kanazawa
April 8th 2017
Published: April 8th 2017
Edit Blog Post

Kanazawa has been such a pleasant surprise. We had a cherry blossom panic back in Brisbane, based on last years dates we looked like missing the blooms in Tokyo and Kyoto and wanted a third option to hedge against missing the blooming things all together. Well we needn't have worried. But I'm so glad we did.

We gave Kanazawa a touch-up today and racked up another 12 plus kms. We only have one full day here and we have a few things to check out. Walking to Kanazawa castle the tummies start to grumble. Those Japanese rice bubbles aren't keeping us full. We stop at Mister Donut for a cup full of Donut Pops! The kids put their Windsor State School Japanese to use ordering 24 donut pops and thanking the lady. She seems pretty impressed with their very cute efforts. Mister Donut still has a smoking floor amongst its three stories of seating. Strangely it's the middle floor and as a result the smoke floats up to the "non-smoking" 3rd floor. What's the point?

We stumble across a saturday morning market and there's a jumping castle. The kids take their 300 yen each and line up for a jump. Jules has to sign a waiver of some sort, but it seems like a pretty tame jumping castle by Aussie stds. The market is full of crafts and food and the kids buy some rubber stamps as souvenirs.

Kanazawa castle is a reconstruction of a 15th century castle and it's fortifications are impressive. A moat, high rock walls and windows to drop rocks and shoot arrows from to crush any would be intruders. It's also impressively built, using 600 year old techniques of joining perfectly cut timber and no nails. Reminds me of my perfect dovetail joints from grade 9 shop A. It's like a huge mikano set and quite an engineering feat. It's Saturday so they have the local Cheerleaders performing out the front. Of course! The Apples are jumping, flipping and clapping for their adoring fans. Shouting "OK" and "Let's Go!" as they dance to an iphone playing the song from that american cheerleading movie - the name escapes me at the moment.

Kanazawa Castle Park joins Kenrokuen Gardens and before we enter the 3rd best Japanese Garden in Japan, we sample gold leafed soft serve ice cream. Kanazawa is renound for gold leaf craftwork and in this theme they sell gold leaf coated ice cream. While it was almost $10 for the single soft serve, I don't think it was actual gold leaf. It was a good sugar hit before we attack the gardens. We buy some souvenirs for the kids, a couple of smoked frankfurts on a stick and some fried sweet potato dusted with sugar!!! It was interesting to taste but we were so hungry it didn't matter.

The Kenrokuen Gardens are amazing and I think they'd be keeping the number 2 garden in Japan honest. Cherry Blossoms abound and the combination of water, rocks and flora is soothing despite the large Saturday crowds.

We exit the gardens back at the markets from this morning and note that the people creatring artwork with soft drink bottle caps on the grassy knoll has increased. A hawk/eagle circles the crowd and swoops to snatch food from unsuspecting punters. A young girl (Sugar Me) sings pop songs in English on the stage and a crazy guy points at us and mutters before moving onto to the next person in his path.

We stop at Starbucks for a late lunch and browse the UniQlo upstairs. Nothing is purchased this time, but I fear we'll be back.

Our Airbnb is nicely located - a short stroll to the entertainment and shopping district which lies in the shadow of the castle and gardens. And it also turns out that the ninja temple is a matter of a few blocks away. AND we are in the Nishi Chaya District - home to the local Geisha!

The guide book suggests that the Ninja Temple tour should be booked in advance - 3 months ideally. Well that didn't happen and we decide to have a go anyway. The middle aged lady at the souvenir shop doesn't speak any English, except to ask "reservation?". A negative response sees us directed to an intercom on the wall. I lie about Milla's age - "six" I say - hoping to get cheaper entry but it back fires and the intercom voice says she's too young. I backpedal and declare she is 7, but I've cooked my own goose and she's not having any of it. 1 adult and 1 child ticket - that's it!

Jules has a go and she states Milla's age as 8 - to ensure that she meets the minimum age. All along Milla is in the background calling out "7! I'm 7!". The intercom lady steps out from behind the intercom door and requests to sight the passport. We've both lied and both our kids are wondering what sort of parents we are. The passport is consulted and crisis averted.

I'm glad Jules persisted. Deaks really wanted to see this temple and despite there being no english tour guides we got to see an old buddhist temple fitted with some awesome escape hatches and hidden doors, stories and rooms. It's in its original condition and you could picture the samurai hiding behid the secret walls.

After a quick rest in the apartment we head back into town for a feed. As we leave outr building we see two Geisha waddling passed to work. We are too slow to catch them for a photo before they slip into the back entrance of a traditional tea house. Just the sight of them has us a bit excited and Milla is very happy to have seen a real geisha. Still a chance for a photo with one in Kyoto.

Wound a nice little diner that Jules fittingly christened the Japanese Hog's Breath. Food was great and biru was cold. Jules tried the plum wine again. Without the green tea added, it is as sweet as it sounds.

While I got sunburnt today, the cool air off the river has the night feeling decidedly chilly. We're back in the apartment by 7.30 and the wifi enables some winding down with Netflix and Youtube on the tablets.

There's more to see in Kanazawa, but I think we've giving it a good crack and we're so please we added this little gem to our itinerary.


Tot: 0.365s; Tpl: 0.01s; cc: 9; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0798s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.1mb