Looking past the Kotojitoto Lantern across Kasumigaike Pond in the center of Kenrokuen Garden, considered to be one of the three great gardens of Japan in Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
Having thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to Kanazawa, Japan, on the north coast of Honshu Island (the island Tokyo is on), we were pleased that we had the opportunity for a return visit. [See our 2017 posts: “Geisha District (Higashi-chaya-gai), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan”, “Kanazawa Gardens, Honshu Island, Japan”, “Eat local: Sushi dinner (Kaiseki), Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan” and “Kanazawa shrines, Honshu Island, Japan”.]
Kanazawa (population 462,000) is a popular travel destination due to its preserved historical districts, world-class museums, Michelin-starred Japanese cuisine, and authentic teahouses. Notwithstanding its popularity, the city has kept its intimate and welcoming personality. Having escaped the ravages of World War II, the city kept several key historical attractions dating as far back as the Edo Period when it served as the seat of the Maeda Clan. Our first stop was a return visit to the stunning Kenrokuen Garden adjacent to Kanazawa Castle Park in downtown Kanazawa. On our way to a wonderful sushi lunch at Otomezushi in the Naga-machi neighborhood to the west, we walked by the innovative 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and the museum and tea house (where they do a tea ceremony) at the Nomura Samurai House (which we toured on our previous visit to Kanazawa). We concluded our walking tour in the afternoon with a very educational visit to the Kanawa Shinise Memorial Hall (museum) and a quick stop at the chocolate shop, Le Pon du Chocola Saint Nicholas — rare in Japan! — for some refreshments for the ride back to the port.
We came across this traditionally dressed woman taking part in a photography shoot in Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
Kenrokuen Garden is considered to be one of the three great gardens of Japan. Literally translated as “Garden of the Six Sublimities,” and rated as one of Japan’s top gardens, this Edo-period haven, built by the powerful Maeda clan in the 1600’s, takes its name from kenroku (combined six), referring to the six garden attributes needed to achieve perfection: seclusion, spaciousness, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water, and desirable views. During the winter months, branches are suspended with ropes from a post at the center of each tree to form elegant conical shapes, protecting them from Kanazawa’s heavy snowfall.
The Omuro Pagoda resembles the pagoda in Kyoto’s Omuro Palace; Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
One of several scenic flowing streams in Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
A traditional lantern (contemporary outdoor light) in Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
Kenrokuen Garden, originally the outer garden of neighboring Kanazawa Castle, is located on the slope facing the castle. The garden was developed in many stages over the centuries following its origins in the mid-1600s. Over the years the pond was enlarged and some winding streams were added that harmonized with the garden. The garden was opened to the public on May 7, 1874, when the domain system was abolished. In the twentieth century, the garden was designated a National Site of Scenic Beauty and a National Site of Special Scenic Beauty.
This small house, “Uchihashitei”, was relocated to the Kenrokuen Garden from Renchitei Garden in 1874;p0 Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
Looking at Kasumigaike Pond from the western side of Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
The exterior walls of the Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Hall that houses a traditional medicine store called Nakaya Pharmacy, built after the 1579 store was donated to the City of Kanazawa by the descendents of the Kakaya family in 1987; Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
The Nakaya Pharmacy in the Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Hall is a two-story wooden structure spanning 427.21 square meters (xx square feet). The first floor consists of a mise-no-ma (storefront), an oe-no-ma (lounge), a tea ceremony room, a guest room, a study, and a drawing room. Note that only the samurai and upper-class merchants could afford to build homes this large with space to accommodate a tea ceremony room. On the second floor are exhibition rooms with displays on traditional townspeople’s culture [see the following photographs].
Beautiful colored Kaga Temari “handballs” suspended vertically to illustrate the skills of local women in designing and creating the traditional girls’ handballs; Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Hall, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
The story of the Kaga Temari handballs as noted in the Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Hall, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan: “Once upon a time, girls made their own handballs to play with. In the Muromachi Period (~1336-1573), Temari handballs with expensive silk threads were popular, but only for girls of noble rank. During the Edo Period (1603-1868), it finally spread to the masses with the progress of the cotton industry. Girls must have competed with one another in trying to make new and beautiful designs. In Kanazawa we have an old custom that a mother sends a handmade Temari to her daughter as an amulet for her upcoming nuptials. Kaga Temari is now well known for its fine work and breathtaking design.”
Large Kaga Temari “handballs” woven with silk threads on display at the Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Hall, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
One room on the second floor in the exhibition space of Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Hall, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, contained a large display of packages wrapped with “ceremonial paper cords”, known in Japanese as mizuhiki-orikata
The story of “ceremonial paper cords”, known in Japanese as mizuhiki-orikata, as noted in the Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Hall, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan: “We are in the habit of tying beautiful cords on gifts, mizuhiki, when we send engagement gifts. In Japan, mizuhiki is a sign of happiness. In Kanazawa, mizuhiki became a traditional craft. Special designs of Kaga-mizuhiki are ume blossom, pine tree, crane, tortoise, and more from colorful cords. Kaga-mizuhiki has become a valued traditional craft in Japan.” The mizuhiki-orikata on display in the museum were created by a Kanazawa-based company, Tsuda-Mizuhiki-Orikata, over 100 years old, following the style established by the founder Soukichi Tsuda. The company is now run by fourth and fifth generation family members in Kanazawa.
Close up #1 of “ceremonial paper cords”, known in Japanese as mizuhiki-orikata, in the exhibition space of Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Hall, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
Close up #2 of “ceremonial paper cords”, known in Japanese as mizuhiki-orikata, in the exhibition space of Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Hall, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
After our museum visit, we walked through the Naga-michi neighborhood with samurai residences from the 1600s (Edo period) that still evoke the lifestyle of the feudal period; Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan – the narrow alleys, earthen walls, and Nagaya-mon Gate all retain the appearance of ancient times
We came across three young women in traditional kimonos that were taking turns photographing each other on a bridge over a canal in the the Naga-michi neighborhood with samurai residences; Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
- In keeping with the historical neighborhood, the city of Kanazawa did a terrific job building this washroom (WC, or bathroom/toilet) public facility to blend in with the samurai residences in the middle of the Naga-michi neighborhood; Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan
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