Weekend Trip to Kanazawa in Autumn

I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t known much about Kanazawa until recently. Thanks to new transportation, you can get there from Tokyo within three hours by Shinkansen now. So if you visit Tokyo, you can go to Kanazawa too. There are many tourist spots like historical sites, seafood markets, and beautiful parks. Today I’m going to share how to enjoy Kanazawa for two days through my weekend trip. Let’s get started!

Day One 

Since my wife went on a business trip to Kanazawa on Friday, we decided to spend time at Kanazawa this weekend. That was the reason why I traveled there in the first place. I was going to go earlier but I overslept a little, so I departed from Tokyo station at 2:52pm. We were supposed to arrive at Kanazawa station at 5:23pm, which meant I couldn’t make it in time for our meeting time. I texted her about my delay, and her upset face came to mind. Here’s my tip: when you buy tickets to Kanazawa, you should check the departure time because there are fewer shinkansen to Kanazawa unlike to Osaka. If you have time, you can enjoy Tokyo Station like my previous article below.

However, I didn’t have time to explore it today. I jumped on the shinkansen after getting my ticket. Don’t miss buying ekiben (駅弁), a takeout lunch box which is sold with a variety of selections from all over Japan at Tokyo Station. 

I didn’t have enough time to choose them though. Also, I felt the holiday spirit, so I bought a can of beer with ekiben. 

While riding on the shinkansen, I learned a bit about Kanazawa. Traveling is a great opportunity to learn about places where you’ve never been to. According to Wikipedia, Kanazawa was called “Kaga hyakumangoku” (加賀百万石) during the Edo era (1603-1868). Kanazawa was called Kaga (加賀). As for Hyakumangoku (百万石), hyakuman (百万)means a million, goku (石) showed how much money they have. Goku (石) was a measure of the financial situation of the state. At that time, the Edo government had 8 million goku, while Kanazawa had a million goku, so it was the fourth richest state following Edo, Osaka, and Kyoto. Kanazawa is the prefectural capital of Ishikawa. They offer traditional Japanese culture, historical sites, and delicious seafood. While the train ran along the coast of the Sea of Japan, it came to mind that there was fresh seafood and delicious sake because Kanazawa was situated along the Sea of Japan. I hope we have these tonight. When we almost reached Kanazawa Atation, the crew of the shinkansen asked me if there was any trash to take away. I asked him if I needed to separate the steel cans and the plastic packages because I was going to take my ekiben trash out. He said with a smile, “I’ve got you covered.” I was amazed at his hospitality. 

Go to see light up spots 

After arriving at Kanazawa, we checked in at the hotel and went to see spots that are illuminated at night. There was a light-up event around Kenrokuen Garden (兼六園). Oyama Shrine (尾山神社), Kanazawa Castle (金沢城), and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (21世紀美術館) were having them as well. Most of them were free, but please check before you visit. We went to Oyama Shrine first. I could see the archtectural style  was a mix between western, Japanese, and Chinese culture, which you can seldom see these styles together. Toshiie Maeda is enshrined in this shrine, and it is designated as an important cultural property. 

*The gate is called kamimon (神門), which means God’s gate, and it has a beautiful stained glass window. Also it has a lightning rod on the top of the gate that is the oldest one in Japanese history. The illuminated stained glass was not only beautiful but also looked mystical.

Before going to Kenrokuen Garden (兼六園), we visited Ishiura Shrine (石浦神社). This shrine is famous for matchmaking, so young people come here and make a wish for fulfillment in love. There were a lot of photogenic places unlike traditional shrines. It was beautiful to see lanterns floating in the night sky. 

And then, we went to Kenrokuen Garden (兼六園). Actually it was a pretty cold day, so make sure you bring a jacket. As I walked along the pond, I could see picturesque scenery that was reflected on the water. Plus, I heard an exquisite melody out of nowhere that was gentle and pleasing to my ears. Classical music performance was being held by musicians. I forgot the cold at the moment because of the beautiful music. There were a lot of people listening to the music and taking videos of the performance. After enjoying an amazing performance, we we were getting hungry, and headed downtown.

Go To Izakaya 

Since we stayed at the hotel close to Kenrokuen Garden, we went to Korinbo (香林坊). There were many restaurants and bars. It’s famous for night spots in Kanazawa. In most cases, the restaurants and bars are full, so you’d better book them beforehand if you want to go there during busy hours. Unlike big chain izakaya, a small izakaya might not have a menu written in English. Let’s order their recommendations or order food that the person who is next to you is eating. Now crabs are in season, especially a small crab that is called kobako (香箱) that is famous in Kanazawa from the beginning of November. Not only the fresh seafood is good, but other specialties like oden, grilled seafood, and stuff are also amazing. When you get a chance, you might want to look at my previous article about izakaya below.

*Kobako (香箱). It’s a small crab, but its meat, eggs, and miso are really tasty.

*Don’t miss eating ramen. There is more room for it, isn’t there? Nothing beats a rich-tasting ramen after drinking.

Day Two

Unfortunately, it was a pretty cold and rainy day. So I’m going to share how to enjoy Kanazawa on a rainy day. Since we’re really tired because we worked very hard the whole week, we slept in a bit. Having a hearty breakfast at the hotel, we went to Kenrokuen Garden. One more thing, I’d have to say the hotel that we stayed at was really nice. It wasn’t a fancy hotel, but there was everything that we needed. They offer an attractive breakfast that uses local specialties. Plus, the hotel staff were really nice and full of foreign guests. 

We stayed at the hotel below.


Of course, we had a folding umbrella in case of a rainy day. The hotel offered rental umbrellas for free, so we brought it. I’m not going to say the details about Kenrokuen Garden here as many people and websites introduce it. I learned in shcool that it is one of the best three beautiful gardens in Japan. I remember it seemed boring, but seeing is believing, and  it was worth visiting it. 


Don’t Miss The Fish Market 

Omicho (近江町) is well-known for selling fresh seafood and is open to tourists. There were a lot of small shops. It doesn’t just sell seafood, but you can  also eat it there. It was fun to hang out with family and friends. 

*Fresh sea urchins with soy sauce were really nice . Don’t dip them in soy sauce too much, it ruins its taste.

*There was a long line to buy this croquette. What I ate was a crab croquette. Inside, the tasty juicy meat flavor was worth it.

We grabbed some snacks at the fish market. Finally, we settled in a small restaurant for lunch. 

*Kaisen don (海鮮丼). You can get various kinds of seafood at once. It really goes with local sake. Watch out – don’t dip it in wasabi too much.

*Nodoguro don (のどぐろ丼). Nodoguro is a fish that is considered as a luxury food because of its rarity. You can enjoy this bowl with different flavors three times. First of all, you eat it as they are with soy sauce and wasabi. Next, eat it with sesame and ginger. Finally, eat it with dashi soup. 

After lunch, we were really full, so we needed to walk to get some exercise. 

Go to The Museum 

There was a free space and a paid admission area. This museum showcases modern art. You can touch some of them. You can spend a half day there if you like it. 


Go to Kanazawa Castle

Unfortunately, it was a rainy day, but we enjoyed it a lot because there were rooms that explained the history of the castle. I was amazed by how much money a feudal lord spent to move to Tokyo during the Edo era. A curator explained to me that it took 14 days to get Tokyo from Kanazawa by foot! The group consisted of around 2,000 people, from men carrying stuff for their lord to troops to the doctor. The budget was roughly 3.6 million dollars for a one way trip to Edo. Oh, it’s getting dark! We need to go back to Tokyo. It’s time to go back to reality.


Last but not least, before boarding the shinkansen, don’t forget to buy ekiben. To be honest, I wish I could go to Kanazawa in nice weather, but we fully enjoyed our weekend trip. I would be happy if my article helps you plan your trip to Kanazawa. Thank you for taking time to read my article to the end. See you in the next article soon!

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