Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
Kanazawa Sightseeing - The Perfect Two-Day Itinerary
Written by naomy
If you would like to make the most of your time in Kanazawa, consider following our recommendations for a two-day itinerary. Kanazawa Castle, Kenrokuen Garden, the Noh Museum, the 21st Century Museum and many other attractions are covered in this route!
Enjoy Famous Kanazawa Spots In 2 Days
Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture is a city with a rich history and a well-preserved traditional atmosphere. It is a very popular sightseeing spot and attracts many visitors every year. Today, we'll be introducing a recommended two-day itinerary for enjoying the best of this special city.
Day 1 Morning: Omicho Market
On the morning of your first day in Kanazawa, we recommend you start your stroll around the city at Omicho Market. Omicho Market is a market that offers various local foods, and it is often called the "Kitchen of Kanazawa".
If you're going to wake up in Kanazawa, we highly recommend having breakfast at Omicho Market. Omicho Market is a 15 minute walk from Kanazawa Station.
Day 1 Daytime: Higashi Chaya District
The Higashi Chaya District is an area where the old traditional townscape can still be found. Shops selling traditional Kanazawa crafts as well as souvenir stores line the streets, which are always bustling with customers and visitors. There are also many cafes and sweets shops, where you can rest and enjoy some delicious matcha tea. From Omicho Market, Higashi Chaya District is about 30 minutes away on foot.
Day 1 Afternoon: Kenrokuen Garden
Kenrokuen Garden is a magnificent Japanese-style garden, designated as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.
What's so special about Kenrokuen is that nature that can be enjoyed here throughout the year. For example, 200 red and white plum blossoms as well as 420 cherry blossoms of 20 different types bloom in the spring. In the summer, visitors will enjoy the green of the plants as far as the eye can see, and the wet fresh grass during the tsuyu rainy season is also fascinating and beautiful.
The garden is colored in red leaves in the fall, and at the same time the yukitsuri begins for the winter. Yukitsuri is a technique that protects trees from heavy snow. At Kenrokuen the approximately 240 trees with yukitsuri create a wondrous sight. To learn more about Kenrokuen, check out this article as well: Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen: One of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.
From the Higashi Chaya District, you get on the loop bus heading in the Kenrokuen direction from the nearest stop, which is Hashibacho, or you can also use the Hokuriku Rail Road Bus. The ride takes about 5 minutes. Get off at the Kenrokuenshita/Kanazawajo bus stop.
Day 1 Afternoon: Kanazawa Castle
Japan's castles are known for their towering tenshukaku towers (*1), but Kanazawa Castle doesn't have one. Since Kanazawa Castle's tower was burned down in 1602, it has never been rebuilt. At present, the gates and stone walls have become the main attractions. We recommend you visit this castle as it's a little different from others.
Kanazawa Castle is about a 10-minute walk from Kenrokuen.
*1 Tenshukaku: A tower built at the center of a castle. During battle, it was used as a control tower, as well as footing for shooting arrows and guns.
Day 2 Morning: Samurai Residences
If you want to see Kanazawa's traditional sights, head to the Buke Yashiki Ato - The Samurai Residences. It's a site where samurai used to live. There are people living there today as well. If you walk down an alley that is lined with houses, you might be able to get a feel of the Edo period. There are also a museum and candy shop in the area.
Day 2 Daytime: Kanazawa 21st Century Museum
The Kanazawa 21st Century Museum is known for its contemporary architecture, and is also a popular sightseeing spot. Another characteristic of this place is the “public zone". In the public zone, visitors can enjoy a unique work of art called the "swimming pool", as well as a restaurant and other facilities. The public zone is open at night, so you can enjoy another special atmosphere different from that of the daytime. Many events are also held here.
The Kanazawa 21st Century Museum is a 15-minute walk from the neighborhood of samurai residences.
Day 2 Afternoon: Kanazawa Noh Museum
The Kanazawa Noh Museum (Kanazawa Nougaku Museum) is a museum associated with the Noh theatre practiced by the Kaga Hosho school, which flourished in Kanazawa. This traditional art is also designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage. Noh masks, costumes, and other valuable items related to this traditional performing art are on display here.
The Kanazawa Noh Museum is just 1 minute away from the Kanazawa 21st Century Museum on foot.
Kanazawa is a city where visitors can find and experience old and precious Japanese traditions. Use the information in this article to enjoy the historic Japanese culture preserved here to the fullest!