7th. April, 2022
A beautiful, fine morning as we walk a few hundred metres to Kenrokuen a large park in the city centre. It is adjacent to City hall and a large, modern art museum ‘Kanazawa 21century Museum’.
Kenrokuen is one of three famous Japanese gardens (The other two are in Mito and Okayama), it was created in the Edo era by a Daimyo in Kaga.
There is as a rule an entrance fee to Kenrokuen but, unusually, in cherry blossom season this fee is waived.
There are various paths to follow, a couple ponds and blossoms everywhere. In a separate area there is a plum grove, but these blossoms are over. Also, notable are some magnificent pine trees.
We wander for a while admiring the various aspects of the gardens and the panorama across the valley to the hills beyond. As we are leaving, it is clear more people are arriving. There are mothers dressed to the nines or in kimono with elementary or high school kids in tow. We assume the entrance ceremony for the schools have finished. As we leave, on the opposite side of the Kenrokuen, we note the beautiful walls of Kanazawa castle. We didn’t enter, heading instead to the old town.
Kanazawa, Preserved Streets
In the old part of town Kazuemachi-chayagai and soon find ourselves descending steps (Kuragarizaka) in very narrow alleys between traditional Tea houses painted in Bengara Wood preserver. This gives the wooden houses a very pleasing red/brown colour.
Then, there are more cherry blossoms as we reach and cross Asano river. Here the old town is more frequented, and we follow a walking course, climb steps to the temple Kannon-in before coming down into the traditional streets of Higashi Chaya area.
Heading back towards the castle and Kenrokuen park we picnic lunch by a naked lady pointing out the sky. Kanazawa is a very arty town.
D. T. Suzuki Museum 鈴木大拙館
Then for a disappointing walk in the samurai house area which turns out to be an area where the wealthy reside so retracing our steps, we set off for the D. T. Suzuki Museum.
Suzuki was a philosopher who was very influential in introducing Zen Buddhism to the west, giving lectures at major universities in the U.S. and Europe as well as authoring many books.
The museum is really a contemplative space and a remarkable architectural statement. It is well worth a visit if you have any interest in Zen or architecture.
We then make our way back to our B and B for rest and a shower before venturing out to find dinner. The magnificent day has now turned to rain and become noticeably colder.
＊The D. T. Suzuki Museum ; 310 yen / adult
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.