On Japan’s west coast, at the magical confluence of the northern and southern currents sits Kanazawa, capital of the Ishikawa prefecture. Far less well-trodden than Kyoto, Kanazawa boasts more in gardens, geishas, and samurai culture than almost any other city in Japan. It is here that you see not the man made marvels of Tokyo, or the uncultivated splendor of Mt. Fuji, but instead a harmonious middle ground. Here culture and nature are equally fascinating, constantly shaping each other to achieve balance. The surrounding hills are full of charming villages, usually built around a hot spring, and urban gardens draw you outside to enjoy verdant and expertly cultivated public space.
The region is most well known for its hidden mountain onsen (hot springs). Here between the shadows of Mt. Hakusan and the waters of the Japan Sea reside the serene gardens and forested hills of towns like Yamashiro and Kaga—intimate destinations housing some of Japan’s foremost luxury ryokans. Guests of these Japanese inns are invited to step into a piece of timeless Southern Japan essence, where their feet are always bare, the food is most always kaiseki, ceramic craftsmanship is always revered, the colors of the leaves are always changing, and the mountain spring waters are always flowing.
In Kanazawa itself, you will see what is considered to be one of the best-preserved Edo-period cities in the country not only in appearance, but in traditional cultural practice as well. Kanazawa is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a City of Crafts and Folk Art. Some of the most celebrated works of Japanese ceramics come from the Ishikawa prefecture, and visitors to Kanazawa can enjoy museum quality work, or purchase every day ceramic ware to grace their homes.
Kanazawa is also known for its bounteous seafood, provided by the converging currents. For the freshest, most diverse selection of sushi and traditional dishes, it doesn’t get much better than Kanazawa.
Ker & Downey has combed the Japanese countryside for the best ryokan experiences, and the most authentic expressions of Japanese culture and tradition. Allow our team of consultants to introduce you to this Japanese gem.