6/26/2010

Japan 2010: Day 10 (Kanazawa)

Day 10, Saturday. On this morning, I said goodbye to my Okazaki hotel (AB Hotel Okazaki, which I recommend) and headed to the city of Kanazawa for a two-day trip with one of my best friends in Okazaki. This was originally going to be a one-day trip, but we found that we could add an extra day for only an extra 3000 yen, so I'm like, why the heck not? I didn't get many other chances to head out to unknown places, after all. (I'd like to mention that I took over 850 photos just on this trip alone. I think I have a problem.)

We shipped (or rather, trained?) out on an express train called the Shirasagi from Meitetsu Nagoya Station around 10 AM and found ourselves winding through small towns and beautiful mountains and fields for the next 3 hours. Along the way, we chatted and just generally joked around as we usually do. The 3 hours flew by.





Around one, we arrived at Kanazawa Station and checked into our hotel, which was very close by and offered a very nice thirteenth-floor view of most of the city. Sweet.



Once we got our belongings settled, we headed out into the city. The first thing that we did was buy an all-day bus pass, which turned out to be an excellent purchase. Riding around, I saw that the city was larger than I'd expected. (I thought the same of Okazaki back when I arrived in 2006.)

Our first sight-seeing stop was the so-called Ninja-dera that actually has nothing to do with ninjas at all, Myouryuuji (妙立寺). I was surprised that it is located on a fairly small, nondescript street in the city. It is essentially a temple full of booby traps to thwart invaders. That might have been the first time that I've seen an actual trap door. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside.

When we entered, we sat and listened to a recorded message about the history of the temple. It was an older guy speaking using some archaic-sounding constructions, so I didn't understand much of it at all. I was despairing this until my friend, who is Japanese, informed me that she didn't understand it so well either. Relief!

Fortunately, the actual tour guide was a young woman who spoke very clearly and in normal-human-speak as well. I was marveling at her Japanese as much as the temple, truthfully. She didn't misspeak or trip over her words even once. I wonder how many times she's done that tour to have it down that well.

Anyway, the temple itself, as I said, is full of deceptive doors, floors, and walls. Some of them are really pretty clever. I'm not too sure what else to say, except that I think it's worth a visit if you get a chance. Here, have some photos of the exterior!





After that, we left and went walking through the Nishi Chaya District (にし茶屋街) a bit, just wandering about. We then hopped a bus to Kenrokuen (兼六園), one of the Three Great Gardens in Japan. It is indeed quite beautiful, full of lush greenery, flowing streams, and even containing Japan's oldest fountain.





After walking through the park, we decided to stop by the Kanazawa Castle Park (金沢城公園), which was quite beautiful as well.





After some more exploring, we ended up back at Kanazawa Station, which itself is pretty awesome-looking:


We rested for a while until evening, then headed out to sing karaoke together. My friend has an amazing voice and so I was looking forward to it. We took the bus to the local Cote D'Azur and, to our surprise, were assigned an enormous room with a stage and everything. The sound quality of the room was a bit lacking, but it was great fun.



And after that, curry at Coco Ichibanya, the place that I came to like when I first when to Tokyo with Mom.



Delicious!

After all of this, we headed back to the hotel and conked out for the night.

The next day, after buying another bus pass, we took a bus to an area of town with a lot of older, smaller businesses in a residential neighborhood. I'm not sure what it was called, so I'll distract you with more photos!





Once done, we hopped the bus again to a shopping area named 近江街 (I'm not sure how to read that).





After walking about for a while, we hopped another bus (see why we bought that pass?) and headed to a museum that looked interesting and cheap. We exited the bus right in front of it, but there was an interesting looking place right across the street that needed some visitin' first:






And then we crossed the street to visit the museum. I couldn't take photos of the most of the interior, though.




Probably my favorite piece in the whole thing.


By this point, we were running out of time, so we returned to the hotel to have some tea before gathering our belongings and boarding our train back to Okazaki.






When we arrived back in Okazaki, I picked up the suitcase I'd left at my friend's place and then got a ride up to the northern side of Okazaki, up in the mountains, to the next place at which I'd be staying: a Japanese family's place. My first-ever homestay! Stay tuned!

3 comments

bikenglish said...

Thank you for good report about "Ninjya-dera" and good photos. I have never been to Ishikawa prefecture. I have never known the name of "myou-ryu-ji". If I have a chance to go to Kanazawa, I will visit the temple. I am looking forward to your report about your first home-stay in Japanese family.

David said...

Interesting you visited Kanazawa, as most non-Japanese tourists never make it out this way. The set of photos of the old style buildings is Higashi Chaya-gai 東茶屋街. And the farmer's market is read Omicho. Looks like you missed the spurt of sunny weather we had recently, at least it looks like it wasn't raining.

Jonathan said...

Thanks for the comments, fellows. Much appreciated. This is certainly one of the longest posts, if not the longest, that I've written--length-wise, at least.

Thanks too for the information, David. I'll update the post when I get some more time. Yeah, I was somehow able to avoid almost any rain during my trip. Lucky!