News Ticker


Devi's Japan Travels Part 13: Kanazawa - Night Sakura Edition

I ended my last blog on day 2 of Kanazawa with the sunset, but that day was far from finished yet! Of course my host Hiro hadn't exhausted me yet on that day biking upwards hills and such. Sigh.. I was in for a very, very long night of exercise after a day full of biking. The reason for the titles Light Version and Dark version is that in the Light version you see the sakura pictures by day, this Dark version will be all about sakura by night. I thought it wouldn't be THIS spectacular but my mind was totally blown. More on this later!

Kanazawa Day 2: Evening time Hanami

I met up with Hiro in the evening for some hanami together, this time I took my good camera with me so I don't have to shock you with the awful and terribly blurry pics I took with my phone. So we went to the castle (again, third time by now in 2 days hah), and it was very crowded but extremely nice. The temperature was very nice, a bit cold but pleasant. The moon was almost full, it was really mesmerising. Especially Kenrokuen garden at night! Well, for those of you thinking 'pics or it didn't happen' by now, be sure that it happened as I will show you now!

 The moon was superbright!

 Kanazawa castle

 The lighting for the castle was very nice, the big rocks were nicely accentuated

Which one is the real moon? (j/k)

 The moon and sakura lighting gave it a very mysterious feel

 The castle canal, in stark contrast to the Light Version blog in my blog Part 12

 In Dutch we have a song called 'the moon shines through the trees', well it did.

Well the Kanazawa Castle park pictures end here, but from here on there will be much pleasure from the Kenrokuen colourful night pictures.

 Same view of the city as Light Version blog, so different by night!

 Kind of creepy in a way actually, feels like I am in a brothers Grimm book, where's the witch hiding?

 The trees are high-fiving each other. It's a thing in Japan, I swear :P

 They have done a great job with all the different lightings, creating a very special atmosphere

This is my favourite picture, the moon is shining right between the trees and the lighting of the trees plus the sakura colors are excellent. Pink, purple, white, blue, green, a mix of all colours!

 Out of the Kenrokuen, walking along the street

 We biked to the back of the Kanazawa Castle Park, Hiro wanted to show me something

 There was a light show on the castle walls!

Beautiful hidden little garden behind the castle

Hiro took me to a light show which surprised me. It was a 7-minute loop show where different colours were reflected on the castle walls and the little pond, with accompanying Japanese music. I was literally standing there, hypnotised by the enthralling display unfolding right in front of me. Hiro really knows how to treat his guests and surprise them. I was grateful to him as he knows these little secrets of his own hometown.

How can you not be mesmerised by this? Apparently they have different light shows per season

Afterwards we went to a yakitori place and had a lot of laughs. Things went wrong in the orders which we didn't mind but the waiters' reactions were hilarious. Hiro had ordered a Yuzu chuuhai (shochu or vodka mixed alcoholic drink with flavour of choice) and I had a Ginger Ale chuuhai. I wanted to order another one and the waiter asked me if it was Yuzu, I said no it's Ginger Ale. And then he confirmed my order and went to get it. I saw him come back with a glass which obviously looked like Yuzu instead of Ginger Ale, he looked at it, and he poured it out with an 'I'm so stupid' look on his face. I couldn't help but laugh and told Hiro I am so sure that was Yuzu, and Hiro said don't say anything so that the guy won't feel bad. I like how Japanese are so considerate to each other like this. I wouldn't have minded my mistake and laughed about it together with everyone but saving face is definitely important. Later the guy next to us poured his drink on his pants and as he tried to wipe it off it started looking worse and worse, until he looked like he peed his pants. Hiro and I couldn't help but laugh this time (after a few chuuhai you can't really help it anymore). And finally, when we wanted our bill, we saw another waiter go to another couple and tell them our bill while they were still eating. The surprised look on their face was priceless. 

 It was a small but cozy place

Hiro wasn't full so we went to a local ramen place which is his favourite. It looked very nice but I was already full from before. But man this guy can EAT. Afterwards we went home and had a nightcap of umeshu and went to sleep. I can't wait for the next day, because my Japanese best friend is coming to town and staying with me for a night!

Kanazawa Day 3: Hangout time with BFF! (and 23rd day already in Japan!)

Today is the day that Aki will come from Osaka, she is one of my best friends in Japan. I was really excited to see her again since it was 3 years since I saw her when she visited me in the Netherlands. I slept in a long time and went to this Italian place nearby for brunch. Honestly, the spaghetti was not that good, and the salad neither. I guess I am a bit spoiled as a European but I could have made it better myself. Well, I am not a food critic (yet, anyone want me to do food pieces? leave a comment ;) lol). 

It tasted exactly how it looked, bland and blergh

Is it too early to start drinking? I need to wash away that spaghetti

Afterwards I went back to Hiro's place and waited for Aki to come while listening to some music. The rain was really terrible that day. Such a shame, just when my friend was joining me. Finally she came, I was so happy! She is like my Japanese counterpart, my partner in crime. It was Aki's first time couchsurfing, and I guess for Japanese people who didn't experience that yet it would be a bit awkward. I convinced her that it was nothing to worry about, and we went outside to explore the city together. We wanted to start in Higashi-chaya, as explained in my last blog the chaya district is where geisha are and is something Aki also wanted to see it. On our way there it started to rain heavily. We took some pictures but then we got soaked! Even my socks became wet, ugh worst feeling ever! So after taking the necessary selfies we fled into a cafe. Aki had some kare, or Japanese curry, and I had some cake.

 Higashi chaya, or East Chaya district, one of the 3 chaya districts in Kanazawa. I have only been to two, and this one is the nicest from what I have seen. Nishi chaya (West Chaya) wasn't that impressive in my opinion.

 Pretend geisha Aki

 My biggest fear with all the rain was that the cherry blossoms would fall and that would be a shame (well they don't last long anyway..)

Enough sakura to take pictures with

We decided to go to the 21st century museum by bus, as it was raining and museum is an inside activity anyway. We could have walked but the rain was pretty heavy. At the museum we found out a part was available for free so we went there first. After that we paid 1000 yen for an entrance ticket to an exhibition. It was of Ikeda Manabu, an artist who makes fantastical drawings with acrylic ink which are incredible detailed. I was pretty impressed by the amount of work and his talent. We also went down under a 'pool' where we took pictures as if we were in a pool under the water surface.

 Pathetic attempt to climb the ladder

 I swear I'm drowning. Really! There's really water in here! My hair just ehh, magically stays dry like that.

A new species discovered in a pool: a bunch of weirdos having fun

After having some (crazy) fun and of course a photoshoot here, we went to the museum shop and I bought a 10x10cm notebook with Ikeda's work on it, apparently it's the amount of work he makes per day. And some of his works are square meters... Imagine the time it took him to make it! Amazing dedication. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take pictures so to see Ikeda's work just click here

We were going to meet up with Hiro, we were pretty exhausted so we decided to sit at a Starbucks and wait for his arrival. I had a soy matcha latte, which is maybe my favourite drink next to hot coco when it's cold and rainy. Hiro met us there and he took us to this truly amazing fish restaurant. He said he takes all of his guests here, because it's a special place in Kanazawa apparently, very fresh fish. We had an amazing fish meal. Hiro really likes fish himself so as a local he knows the best places.

Hello fishy! Sorry I am going to eat you! Damn I should go vegan..

 Very nicely decorated place, we had to order through a piece of paper which we had to put in a basket, quite eccentric people working here too. Very nice, I liked it.

Afterwards we went for a drink again to the same yatai place he took me before, but this time we went to another place he never went before. It was a sushi place, and it was pretty cramped. We crammed our butts in there and we ordered some local fish sushis and ebi with green eggs and some beer. The sushi was one of the best I ever tasted. We had to eat it by hand, the chef said. Otherwise he would kick us out. So we did. And boy was it good. But Aki and I were already really full so Hiro finished the rest.

I really like these hidden gems, atmosphere was great here. There were a few other tourists wandering around trying to find the fish restaurant we just ate at, Hiro was such a nice guy showing them the way, even walking them there.


Tiny place, with just 7 seats

We went home by bus and back home Aki gave Hiro an omiyage (present). Hiro told us to wake up early because he wanted to take us somewhere before his work. Aki and I had some catch up time, we took weird selfies (nope not going to show those heh heh) and just enjoyed our time together.

Kanazawa Day 3: 

Well it was time to wake up early! Hiro took us to the '400 year old' park before he had to work, so we hopped in the car. We were so sleepy though! Afterwards he dropped us off at the station, so we could drop our stuff at the lockers and walk through town together. He gave us a bag of snacks so we would at least 'survive' hah. Good thinking man, good thinking. How does he know me this well in just a few days?!

 I like raindrops on flowers, they photograph well

 Some parking lot fun
 Kanazawa station, in front of the station there is a big gate. It's built in the form of a torii gate, a traditional gate you find mostly in front of a Japanese shrine, marking the transition from your daily life to a sacred place. This gate is called Tsuzumi-mon, and is made out of wood in front of the East gate of Kanazawa station.

The first word is SO CUTE I couldn't help but take a picture. It says 'Anyato', which is Arigato (thank you) in local dialect. It's adorable, really. Anyato, it's almost like a cat, as nyan is miaow in Japanese.

We dropped our baggage off at the station. There were two options: coin lockers or a room with a guard to leave our stuff. We chose the latter as it was easier than putting heavy suitcases up in a coin locker. Most bigger stations have coin lockers, even suitcase sized. But we couldn't be bothered. They were about 600 yen and the place we dropped our stuff was 500 per 'piece', we got lucky and acted cute to have our 3 pieces count as 2. The older men there were really nice and gave us a break hehe.
We started walking around with the goal to see the old samurai houses where the samurai used to live, it's in a district called Nagamachi. We walked around there, got some traditional snacks, and saw some temples. We ended up in Bukeyashiki disctrict and saw some older houses. We went to the Nomura Samurai house but we didn't feel like going in as we saw other places already and we didn't have much time as Aki had to take the afternoon train back to Osaka and I would go on to Tokyo.
Kanazawa has a very long history, the Maeda clan had its headquarter here from the 16th century until the 19th century and was one of the most powerful families. Kanazawa castle and Kenrokuen, as well as these parts we were walking through were good examples of their influence. You could see many old samurai houses, and even the Ninja temple is a good example of this being built by them. In general I noticed a lot of temples in Kanazawa, Buddhism was stronger than Shintoism (Japanese local religion) in these parts.

 Having a little history lesson

 Walking around in Nagamachi

Aki hadn't seen the Kanazawa castle yet, so I took her there. I noticed that I already knew the city pretty well as I also biked through it a lot. We went through the backside of the castle where I previously saw the light show at night, and I saw it in daylight this time. After doing a selfie session with sakura and castle towers we went to eat some sushi. Hiro had recommended us a 'hidden' place, The basement floor of the Kanazawa New Grand Hotel, it looked quite fancy and we ordered some tuna and salmon. 

 This is where I previously sat to watch the nightshow, I really like this style of architecture

 Fwuffy sakura cwouds
Omnom, but the old man's sushi was still better

Then we went on to the Omicho market, there was a lot of seafood there for sale. It was quite busy though and expensive, so we thought it was a bit overrated. 

The yum stuff

We didn't stay long as we had to go to the station to catch our trains. Once there, Aki got her tickets and I had another matcha latte at the Starbucks, and we sat outside enjoying the sun. We got our stuff from the nice old men and said our goodbyes. It was really nice seeing her again and can't wait for our next reunion! I took my train to Tokyo and while gazing at the beautiful scenery passing me by with high speed I enjoyed my ride. Only thing that I missed was free wifi in the shinkansen, for the price you pay for the tickets you could at least expect that as there is even free city wifi everywhere nowadays. Back home most trains have free wifi. Anyway, Tokyo here I come! I will have a lot of reunions with people I hadn't seen in 10 to 12 years, so I was very excited to see them again (and of course eat a lot of food in Tokyo, obviously). Omnom-radar, ON!
 Snacks? Check. 

To all the readers out there, which one do you prefer, the night viewing or day time viewing of Sakura? I just cannot decide! They both have their own charm! Let me know in the comments :-)

~Written by Devi~

Share This:

Post Tags:

No Comment to " Devi's Japan Travels Part 13: Kanazawa - Night Sakura Edition "