Kanazawa (Ishikawa Prefecture)
Welcome to Kanazawa
Kanazawa, the largest city in the Hokuriku district, is famous as the former castle town of the powerful Maedas (16th-19th centuries), the second-largest clan in feudal Japan. The Maeda clan encouraged the arts, with such pursuits as Noh drama, silk dyeing, and the production of Kutani porcelain and lacquer ware prevalent even today.
Some of the old city remains as it was, with old samurai mansions, geisha quarters and, most famous of all, Kenrokuen Garden. Dating from 1822, the garden is the largest of what are considered to be the best three gardens in Japan (the others are the Kairakuen in Mito and Korakuen in Okayama).
Ponds, groves, hills, rocks and trees are arranged in a spacious and pleasing manner, with footpaths providing ever-changing views.
Adjacent to the garden is Seisonkaku Villa, built in 1863 as a retirement home for a widow of the Maeda clan, while nearby are three excellent museums dedicated to the arts: the Ishikawa Prefecture Art Museum with treasures once belonging to the Maeda family, the Ishikawa Prefecture Museum for Traditional Products and Crafts, with explanations of Kanazawa’s many crafts and their production, and 21st century museum of contemporary art, Kanazawa, unique designed facilities itself, exhibits hands-on type contemporary arts that visitors can touch, or sit. Samurai homes can be found in the Nagamachi Samurai District, while the Higashi Chaya District is one of three old geisha quarters in Kanzawa.