UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art in the Chubu region
By PUREV, Enkhee. Posted on December 23, 2015
Kanazawa is a hidden beauty of culture and art in the Chubu region. In June 2009, Kanazawa was registered as a UNESCO Creative City for its crafts and folk art. I visited Kanazawa three times in 2014 during the summer and winter, and this time, I planned to visit art and cultural sites in Kanazawa during the fall. I noticed that the layout of Kanazawa Station has completely changed since the new route for the Shinkansen, Japan's famous bullet train, arrived here in 2015. Every year in late November, Kanazawa is crowded with both tourists and locals drawn by the beautiful fall leaves. Two days in Kanazawa is enough time to explore all these unique sites.
Kenroku-en is the one of the most beautiful three gardens in Japan. Located in the heart of Kanazawa, the seasonal changes at Kenroku-en constantly attract tourists — especially in late November due to the colorful fall leaves and the nighttime illumination. This year's fall illumination took place from the 20th of November until the 29th, during the hours of 17:30 to21:00. During the illumination period, the Kanazawa orchestra plays romantic music inside of the open-air teahouse on the lake.
Kaga Yuzen Silk Dyeing
The origins of Kaga-yuzen silk dyeing can be traced back to the Kaga region's unique Umezome dyeing technique, which uses ingredients obtained from plum trees. Today, Kaga Yuzen techniques are also applied to Western clothing. Kaga Yuzen Traditional Industry Center allows you to use brushes to paint traditional patterns on handkerchiefs. You can also rent an authentic Kaga Yuzen silk kimono.
Kaga Yuzen Traditional Industry Center is located near Kanazawa Castle. You can go there after visiting Kenroku-en.
Handkerchief painting for 60 minutes costs 2,700 yen. Kimono wearing for 20 minutes costs 2,000 yen.
Address: 8-8 Kosho-machi, Kanazawa. Open from 9:00-17:00.
Oyama Jinja Shrine
Oyama Shrine (尾山神社, Oyama Jinja) is dedicated to Maeda Toshiie, the first lord of the local powerful Maeda Clan. Oyama Shrine was designed by a Dutch architect, and you can see how it combines European and Japanese architectural elements.
Hachiman Doll Painting
Kaga Hachiman Dolls are traditionally made in Kanazawa. They are symbols of good health and happiness for newborn babies and have been designated as one of Kanazawa’s valued traditional crafts. These dolls are made from delicate Japanese paper using a method similar to papier-mâché. I would recommend that you visitthein Nakashima Menya doll shop, where you can buy dolls made by the owner.
The address is 2-3-12 Owari-cho, Kanazawa. You should make a reservation before you visit the shop.
Vegan Takano restaurant
Planning meals during trips can be difficult for vegan travellers. As a vegan, I always use the Happy Cow application on my smartphone, which shows me where the nearest vegan restaurant is. Far from the Kanazawa city center, Tan Tan restaurant is near Kanazawa University, and it offers various vegan meal options. You can take bus number 18 from Kanazawa Station to Akasaka Station.
The Higashi Chaya district
The Higashi Chaya district is the largest of the chaya districts and one of the only places outside Kyoto with geishas. The historical rowhouses of this teahouse town have been designated as national cultural assets along with Kyoto's Gion and Kanazawa's Kazue-machi. The rest house for tourists in the Higashi-Chaya district is a recreation of a townhouse from the latter half of the 19th century. You can get free stamps from the Higashi Chaya district in your stamp book or a souvenir notebook. If you are lucky, your visit might coincide with a traditional Japanese wedding. Kanazawa now accounts for 99% or more of Japan's gold leaf production, which started in the 16th century. Major gold leaf shops are located in the Higashi Chaya district.
Utatsuyama autumn colors
If you were wondering if Kenroku-en was the only place in Kanazawa where you could see the leaves change color in fall, the answer is definitely “no.” It is a short walking distance from the Higashi Chaya district to the foot of the mountains, and continuing up the hill along winding alleys, you can see old shrines and temples. Utatsuyama Park offers a view overlooking the entire city of Kanazawa. While you enjoy walking the mountain trails, you will have the chance to see many shrines and temples.
Enkhee lives in Nagoya. She is doing her doctoral research in Nagoya. She likes travel and discover new things in Japan in her eyes beside that she has experienced travel in Europe.