Situated on the western coast of Honshu Island, diagonally northwest from Tokyo, Kanazawa is not on the radar of many foreign tourists, but it has long been a destination of choice for the Japanese themselves. The historic preservation (in some cases, recreation) of Kanazawa's samurai, geisha and merchant districts make it one of the foremost examples of life in Edo Period Japan (1603-1868).


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

Visit the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, a landmark attraction famous both for its collection and its design. In 2010, the museum was cited by the Pritzker Prize jury in bestowing architecture’s highest accolade on Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

Gold Leaf Workshop

Visit a gold-leaf workshop. Kanazawa is the gold-leaf capital of Japan, producing 99 percent of the product used throughout the country in arts and handicrafts (and sometimes even making it into sake!). If you wish, try your hand at making a set of gold-leaf covered chopsticks.

Kenrokuen Garden

Visit the Kenrokuen Garden, considered one of the “three most beautiful landscape gardens” in Japan. Located in the heart of Kanazawa, this spacious garden was in construction for over 200 years before it was open to the public in 1871. The word “kenrokuen” means “garden of six sublimities”, which refers to the six essential attributes that make up a perfect garden: spaciousness, seclusion, antiquity, abundant water, artificiality, and broad views.

Nomurake Samurai House

Visit Nomurake, a samurai residence which, like Kaikaro teahouse, has been painstakingly restored based on historical records to appear as it did during the height of the samurai in the late 16th and 17th centuries. Nomurake’s tiny landscaped garden is stunning and is often said to be among Japan’s best.

Sake Brewery Tour

Have a private tour of a sake brewery that has been in operation for more than 200 years. Japan's most famous native alcohol, sake comes in varying grades based on the polishing of the rice; generally, the more the rice is polished, the better the quality. The spectrum of tastes spans very dry to highly fruity.

Silk Dying

Visit a kaga yuzen silk-dying studio. Yuzen is a traditional technique of dying silks for kimonos and other garments dating to the early 18th century, and the workshop in Kanazawa is one of the most famous. Your expert guide and staff from the studio will walk you through the elaborate process of creating designs in which nature figures prominently, from pattern stenciling and painting to steaming, rinsing and drying.

Traditional tea house

Make a stop at an authentic Ochaya, teahouse, traditional sophisticated establishments where geisha perform traditional dance and instruments for people in high society. Today guests can have a cup of tea, meet geisha, and admire the interior design of vermilion-laquered stairs, gold-laced tatami mats, and paintings adorning the panels of sliding doors.

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