Here is the LINK to the self guided walking tour MAP of Kanazawa Japan.
We are not shy with walking, but if you find some of the legs of this trip too long, you can always hop on the Kanazawa Loop bus. There is a red city bus that loops around Kanazawa (the right bus) and a green one as well (the left bus) that loops in the opposite direction. The bus passes by all of the sites on this walking tour. If you would like more information about that bus click here.
Stop 1 Kanazawa Station
We start at Kanazawa station, where you will find the iconic modern tori gate, and most recognized landmark in Kanazawa Japan. This beautiful gate was completed in 2005, along with the re modeling of Kanazawa station. You can easily get to Kanazawa from Tokyo via Shinkansen in as little as 2.5 hours. (To Book Train Travel in Japan Click Here)
Stop 2 Higashiyama Higashi Chaya District (Geisha District)
The Geisha district was established in the Edo period (1603-1868), just outside the city limits of Kanazawa. The area had two main specialty tea house establishments where geisha would preform. The main historic buildings were built in the early 1800’s.
Stop 3 Beautiful old bridge
Walking along the river is a nice reprieve after braving the crowds in the Geisha district. Walk along the river before crossing over, towards Kanazawa Castle.
Stop 4 Kanazawa Castle Park
Beginning in 1583, the Castle was a strong hold, and the seat of power for the lords of Kaga. The park surrounding the castle is beautiful to walk around, and great for a picnic. The main castle has burnt down many times, most recently in 1883
Stop 5 Great Vantage Point of the Castle
Exit out the south east exit of Kanazawa Castle (toward Kenorokuen) Park to see a beautiful vantage point, from which to take pictures of the castle. At night, beautiful lanterns illuminate the pathway that leads from the castle.
Stop 6 Kenorokuen Garden
This beautiful and vast garden was open to the public in 1871, but there has been a garden on this spot since at least 1632, when water was diverted to make the two largest ponds in the garden. It is arguably one of the top three most beautiful gardens in the world. “The name Kenrokuen literally means “Garden of the Six Sublimities”, referring to spaciousness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water and broad views.”
The entrance fee was 310 Yen when we were there, which was during Cherry Blossom season!!
Stop 7 Oyama Shrine
Tucked along side Kanazawa Castle park, you will find this beautiful shrine. We loved the garden, which was much like a miniature Kenrokuen, but without the crowds. Entrance is free.
Stop 8 Historic gate tower
This beautiful, yet strikingly different gate was built by a Dutch architect in 1875. It incorporates Chinese, Japanese and European architectural elements. Note the stained glass window at the top.
Stop 9 “Adam Lambert Lady” Cafe
We stopped for lunch at this enthusiastic lady’s cafe, and oooooh boy were we glad that we did. The walls are covered in Adam Lambert memorabilia and posters, and Adam Lambert songs play on repeat. Make sure you know who Adam Lambert is, you will be asked (don’t worry if you are not familiar though, she would love to teach you all about him)!
Stop 10 Nagamachi neighborhood (Samurai District)
This neighbourhood was once the lavish district that the Samurai called home. The neighbourhood was in it’s prime during the Edo period, but when we visited he were told that the last resident ( Samurai relative) of the traditional wooden Samurai homes moved out in the early 1990’s!! The neighbour is beautiful to wander through. You can go inside many of the traditional homes, for a small fee or donation.