One Week in Underrated Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan

My second week teaching English in Japan was in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan. It’s one of the underrated tourism destinations but they’re trying to beef it up — they added a new bullet train to Kanazawa last year (which I took). I definitely recommend you visit the small city of Kanazawa if you’re looking for a slightly less touristy destination that still has sightseeing.

My previous host family was very jealous I was going to Kanazawa, which is a good sign. My new family stayed near Kanazawa University, where the dad worked as a professor. I got to explore one of the older Japanese cities.

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On Wednesday, I’d requested that we go to Kenroku-en Garden, one of the three best gardens in Japan. It’s a must-see for anyone visiting Kanazawa in any season: snow in winter, cherry blossoms in spring, lush in summer, and red in fall. The garden is older than the United States, built around the 1600s.

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On Thursday, we went on another classic Kanazawa adventure: the Nishi Chaya District. It’s very old with geisha houses and old wooden buildings. My host mother says it reminds her of Kyoto, and since I won’t make it to Kyoto on this trip, I wanted to get a taste of Little Kyoto in Kanazawa.

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For my last day, I wanted to go to the Kanazawa Castle but my hosts had other plans. They wanted to take me further to explore more of Ishikawa prefecture. They debated between an aquarium, a rice terrace view, a Starbucks on the water and a dam, but decided for Nanao — a northern city with an art museum.

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