Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen Gardens, Kanazawa
Vastly under visited by foreign tourists, Kanazawa offers the culture seeking traveller one of the best-preserved Edo-period cities in the country, as well as boasting samurai and geisha districts, museums and temples and an epic castle and gorgeous garden dating from the 17th century.
The castle was originally built in 1580 and was home to the Maeda clan for fourteen generations. It was sadly largely destroyed in a fire in 1881 but the surviving gate remains a dramatic entry to a sympathetic partial-reconstruction.
Adjacent you’ll find the Kenroku-en Garden, once the castle’s private gardens today it’s ranked one of the top three gardens in Japan alongside Mito's Kairakuen and Okayama's Korakuen. It’s said to have the six attributes require for perfection: seclusion, spaciousness, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water and broad views. Get there early to soak it all up in your own time. Springtime visitors will be treated to a magnificent show of plum and cherry blossom. But a visit at any time of the year will be a visual feast for the eyes as there is always something from the lush greens of summer through to the orange and red maple trees in autumn.
Once you’re done sightseeing head into town for something delicious. Kanazawa is highly regarded throughout Japan, the seafood is said to be especially good.
Stare in awe at the magnificent partially-restored castle
Soak up the zen atmosphere in one of Japan’s top 3 gardens