Monday, January 4, 2010


Of Interest: seafood market, Castle grounds, performing arts center, international center
Tourist Office: yes, inside the station
Lodging: multiple
Internet Access: in the basement of the performing arts center to the right of the station (free from 30 minutes)
Int'l ATM: in the post office in the station building

The tourists office is excellent and has lots of materials in English, including a seasonal tourist magazine. Get a map it is easy to get lost in some of the the small streets in the historic district.

Leaving the station area is easy, just walk straight from the station along the four lane boulevard. There is an international center five minutes walk from the station on the right hand side. It is open regular business hours from Monday to Friday. Another ten minutes walk will get you to a covered market that specializes in fish. This is the point that the small roads appear. You may have look at a map to find the entrance. The market is a good place to have lunch. It is very touristy so it is not cheap.

A five minutes walk through the market will take you to a side entrance of Castle Park. Kanzawa used to be basically an independent country and this was the capital. The park is the largest of its type that I have seen in Japan with remains of lots of buildings as well as lots of areas that have returned to nature. There was a rehearsal for some kind of musical while I was there which was pretty interesting. The area is very hilly; if you stand on top of one of the hills you can see almost everything. (This is another place where I would not bring any luggage.)

There is an arts and craft street across the road from the main entrance (or one of the main entrances). Right now the city is organizing a crafts festival, so this area should be pretty lively. The entrance to Kenrokuen Garden is close by also. This is one the "three most beautiful gardens" in Japan.

At this point, you are pretty far from the station. It is best to take one of the loop buses if you are going back. I think that there are four loop buses in Kanazwa. I think that there are three for locals that cost 100 yen, and one for tourists that is more expensive. Each bus is identified by a color.

Kanazawa was never fire bombed during WWII, so there are historic houses in various places in the city.

The city of Kanzawa has translated their website into English, including the information on transportation. The train section includes information on shinkansen and express trains from Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. Note that from Tokyo, you can take the Tokaido Shinkansen west to Maibara or the Joetsu Shinkansen over the mountains to Echigo-yuzawa. Kanzawa is two hours from Maibara and two and a half hours from Echigo-yuzawa by express train. Other destinations reachable by regular express trains are Kyoto (two hours), Osaka (two and a half hours), and Nagoya (two and a half hours).

Local JR West trains go to Fukui (hour and a half), Toyama (forty-five minutes), and Nanao (ninety minutes). There is also a short line run by the Hokuriku Railroad that has multiple stops within the city of Kanazawa and a terminus in the city of Uchinada. The whole trip only takes seventeen minutes.

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