It was very untypical for me not to do any trips on my free days during the whole month. But I just didn’t feel like traveling around Japan. The work was really tiring and exhausting. I worked most of the time 4 days in a row and had always only 1 day break in between. Furthermore, I wasn’t really looking forward to visiting any temples or Japanese gardens and to be surrounded by a crowd of people. Therefore, I just stayed in my room to relax or went outside close by my apartment. But then, I finally had 2 days, where I could do whatever I wanted to. I wrote a long time ago a bucket list for japan, with all the places I want to see, all the food I want to try and things that I want to experience or buy. There were still 3 places left, that I thought would be worth a visit. At the end I decided to make a trip to Kanazawa, Shirakawa-go and Takayama.
On the 23rdof July I went early in the morning, after having breakfast and doing laundry, to Kyoto station. I took the train directly to Kanazawa station. It took me around 2,5 hours to arrive, but the train ride passed by really quickly. I watched a movie, listened to music and searched for the most popular attractions. When the guy came to check the train tickets, I was a little in panic. I never saw anyone checking the ticket inside the train. You always get checked before entering the train gate. And I presented this time my IC card as well. But no! That train was a special line, where you need an extra ticket. Great! Because the guy didn’t understand or speak English, it was quite difficult to communicate with him. At the end he just gave me a ticket, without making any trouble. I was relieved!
From Kanazawa station I took the bus to Kenroku Garden. It was extremely hot this day, but I was super lucky with the weather. The weather in Kyoto is just horrible at the moment. I mean, nearly everywhere it is hot, but in Kyoto it’s the humidity that changes everything. We are having over 90% humidity, where else in Germany the humidity factor is only 30%. It’s just raining and therefore through the heat so sticky. Not even in the night it’s getting cooler! Unbelievable! Because Kanazawa is located close to the sea, the climate is a lot better.
The Kenroku Garden in Kanazawa is considered as one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in Japan. I’ve been too many gardens here, but I’ve never were in such a huge one. I really liked it. Along the way, you had nice view points over the little lake. Nevertheless, it wasn’t my favourite one that I have visited. I prefer the smaller once, just because they have a calmer atmosphere. Furthermore, I feel like the smaller gardens are more detailed and taken care off better than the bigger once.
Afterwards I headed to Kanazawa castle park, which is right next to the garden. I walked around the park, as well as I visited the castle from the inside. It was pretty, but yet not amazing. It is just difficult for me at this stage, to be amazed by temples, castles or gardens. I still really like it and see how pretty it is. But I saw just so many different places in Japan, that I cannot not compare them to each other. But if Kanazawa would have been my first destination, it would have probably blown me away.
From the castle park, I went to Omicho market, which wasn’t too far away by foot. On the way I passed by Ozaki Shrine. For some people, food markets are just food markets, and everywhere the same. They kind of are similar, but I always love the atmosphere and to see what kind of crazy food and products they sell. I always discover something new and interesting.
My next stop was the old town of Kanazawa. This part remembered me a lot of Kyoto. Kanazawa is also seen as “little Kyoto”, because it has the same construction and the same vibe. The river reminded me of course of the Kamogawa river. The Higashi-chaya street, also known as the Geisha district, was similar to Gion and the Higashiyama district in Kyoto. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was totally different. Kyoto is probably the most touristy spot in Japan, where else Kanazawa is not that common, especially for international guests. The small number of tourists I saw were mostly Japanese, Chinese or maybe Korean. Therefore, it is maybe even more enjoyable to experience the Geisha district in Kanazawa than the one in Kyoto.
The shops on the other hand are pretty different. Kanazawa is well known for gold. I saw so many shops selling golden ice cream or gold in general.
Furthermore, I got interview again from a school class. This time they asked and informed me about earthquakes. I feel like school classes in Japan are always doing some kind of trips, just to interview foreigners. But they were very cute and spoke better English than I expected.
Before heading to the hostel, I relaxed a little bit at the river and ate some snacks that I bought in a convenient store. The staff members were really welcoming, and I loved the hostel from the first second. It’s so clean, modern and convenient. Perfect for a night in Kanazawa. I relaxed a little bit before going out again in the evening.
Around 4:30pm I headed to Nagamachi Samurai neighbourhood. In Kanazawa are only busses available for public transportation. Therefore, I just walked around 30 minutes until I reached this district. Apparently, the Samurais lived here in the past. I wandered around the small alleys and entered a few little shops. I actually really liked it, just because it was something different than I saw before.
Afterwards I headed to a Thai restaurant close by. I ordered Green Curry and a Papaya salad, as always. I just love Thai food!
On my way back I walked through a small forest with lots of statues along the way. It was a nice walk back to the hostel. The rest of the evening I just watched YouTube, planned the next day and watched the pictures of the day. Kanazawa was a nice experience, but definitely not the number 1 destination on my list!