Ohayo my friends and welcome to the small town of Kanazawa, or so I thought until I saw it was more of a city. We could tell as soon as we walked out of the station. We were only here for the day and night. An early rise the next morning to catch the coach to Shirakawa-go. Which we bought the tickets for just outside the station.
I think we arrived just before 11 am and, once the Shirakawa-go tickets bought, took the JR bus to the Omicho Market. Our hotel was on the other side so we walked through it to have a look. There’s everything from meat, fish and seafood, fruits and vegetables, patisserie, ice-cream and confectionary, florists, cafes and restaurants… I think you get the gist. Quite fascinating walking through here.
The Hotel Pacific is a great place to stay and is pretty centralised in Kanazawa. Loved the entrance, a cafe that doubles as a reception. And a beautiful cafe at that. And they make a great coffee too. Rooms are small but that standard in Japan. Clean, tidy and great service. If your on a budget, the Hotel Pacific is worth checking out.
Once we dumped our bags and plugged everything that needed to be recharged, we went back to the market for lunch. I saw a restaurant with things on skewers in a broth and thought we should try it out. Géraldine wasn’t as enthusiastic as I but she went along with it. Once the kimono girls had finished, we passed our order, a few skewers in a bowl with the same broth they’re cooked in. I ordered a Japanese beer with the meal and Géraldine an ice tea. She also wanted to try what the girls on the next table were all having, a White Horse. We couldn’t tell what it was from the menu but when I ordered at the bar, I knew she wouldn’t like it. White Horse Scotch Whisky and lemonade. Wish I had capture her face on camera. Light, crisp, not bad for a lunch drink on a hot day. The food, well, what can I say? Probably the blandest meal I’ve tasted on the trip. Everything was cooked in the same broth so it all tasted the same, really. The textures was the most noticeable difference between the servings. Overall not bad but, really, nothing to brag about. An experience though.
Once we had dessert at the market and looked around a little more, we made our way to the Kanazawa Castle. Surrounded by spacious green lawns, ponds and waterways, the castle is on a slight elevation. We could see similar characteristic to other castles but seemed to be built in length rather than height. We entered through the beautiful, gigantic Kahoku-mon gate, which is where I took the photo of the Hishi Yagura from. Walking through the main courtyard, San-no-maru Hiroba, we saw a couple of women getting rid of weeds against the wall of the gates. The L-shape castle is very dominant and impressive as you walk through the courtyard. Then we saw a couple of men doing the same work as the women around a small fence near the Information Center. We left through the Ishikawa Gate, making our way to the Kenroku-en garden via a footbridge.
There is a beautiful little alley with shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and ice-cream alongside the Kenroku-en garden. Talking about ice-cream, I had to try the gold and platinum leaf covered ice-cream. Apart from the slightest metallic taste, there is nothing special about it. The ice-cream, overall, was very nice though. From the subtle vanilla flavoured soft-serve to the thick and crispy wafer and rich yet smooth chocolate tip, all the flavours and textures were well balanced and complimented each other. I particularly liked the wafer. ¥300 fee gets you in to the perfectly landscaped Kenroku-en. We were here in Spring where everything was green with beautiful flowers. Ponds, waterways and waterfalls all contribute to the harmony, tranquility and beauty of the garden too. It’s no wonder it’s one of the Great Gardens of Japan.
After visiting the garden, we walked our way towards 1 Chrome Higashiyama suburb in hopes of seeing Geishas. Arriving at the Asanogawa Bridge though, we got a little distracted by the beautiful and tiny suburb of Kazuemachi. Where wooden structured homes and restaurants lined small alleyways running along the Asano River. We kept walking upriver to a small bridge that had a view of the Asanogawa Bridge. We crossed the river and made our way back down, deciding to head back to the hotel for a shower and rest before dinner.
The restaurant we wanted to go to was booked out so we ate at a small Kaiseki restaurant just down the road from the hotel, called Kokochiya. We were able to get a table but not before the chef made himself understood that tonight was a set menu. A set menu of which we have no idea of what it comprises, all for it. We were lead upstairs to be seated and, literally, closed off to the rest of the tables. Very private. Though we were served tea, we ordered hot and cold sake. The hot sake was for Géraldine, I don’t particularly appreciate it. I didn’t film all the servings, mainly because my stomach had the upper hand on my state of mind. There were ten servings all up and suffice to say, the whole meal was delicious. Sure, there were a couple of things that had gooey textures but delicious nonetheless. We quite enjoyed the whole experience and even had a bit of a laugh at the end. No one had come back to check on us for quite a while after the soup was served. So not knowing whether there was another serving or they were just waiting for us to finish up and leave, we thought we’d check downstairs to see what was happening. We slowly made our way down the stairs like kids sneaking out of their bedroom to see what their parents are doing. A waitress suddenly appeared and startled us as I was peaking around the bottom of the stairs. Rushing back up we quickly realised we were being quite childish for a pair of adults. It was time to leave.
Hope you enjoyed this little video. The next one will be of an ancient little village in the middle of a valley. Oyasuminasai my friends.