Overflowing with breathtaking historic sites and not-to-be-missed cultural attractions, Kanazawa more than deserves its nickname of ‘Little Kyoto’. Unlike the imperial capital, this former seat of a powerful warrior clan is on a more human scale, however: think wonderfully evocative geisha and samurai districts in place of the big city’s imposing palaces and temples, and a refined artistic heritage that encompasses everything from landscape gardening to crafts such as hand-dyed silks, all in a compact area.
You could easily spend richly rewarding hours just soaking up the atmosphere of Kanazawa’s three impeccably preserved entertainment areas, dipping into elegant teahouses and tiny tucked-away boutiques, workshops and museums, or strolling quiet lanes lined by the houses of the Edo-era aristocracy. But there are other attractions, including one of Japan’s most celebrated gardens – a serene, verdant work of art sculpted over centuries – and a sophisticated culinary scene that covers everything from street-food stalls at the city’s vibrant covered market to a host of gourmet restaurants.
Sample Kanazawa’s varied cultural charms with help from our Japan specialists, who’ll guide you through this charming, many-layered old city.