2012 Japan Trip Day 22 – Kanazawa

Date of Travel: 20/02/2012

Putting behind the events of the previous day, we had a reasonably early start and enjoyed the stroll through the city towards Omicho Market. Similar to Nishiki Market in Kyoto, but without the overwhelming crowd, Omicho features hundreds of stalls selling fresh ingredients and food. We picked up some reasonably sized and priced oranges along the way. It was so good having fresh fruits after not eating some since Miyajima, which was half a week ago!

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We continued eastward to the Kuromon gate at the Kanazawa Castle Park. We did get side-tracked by the pretty frozen lake. There was also a pay phone nearby so we used the opportunity to catch up with our families at home (just to let them know we have not been kidnapped!) The park itself was covered with snow. I had accidentally left my sunglasses at the accommodation, so I had quite a bad headache walking through the field of white. It did not help that the clouds cleared and the sunlight reflected off the snow. Upon entering the castle grounds, we climbed up one of the walls of the compound to have a good view of the castle and its surroundings.  As we had quite a lot to do in the morning, we skipped on the interior of the castle. Our main attraction of the morning was Kenrokuen afterall.

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Kenrokuen is one of the three most famous landscape gardens in Japan. But unfortunately the snow covered most of it! It was kind of disappointing. Still, even with the snow covering much of the bonsai, the landscaping was still beautiful. There were surprisingly a large amount of tourists despite it being winter. There aren’t really any words to describe how beautiful the garden was, so I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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After Kenrokuen, we headed south towards Myoryuji Temple, which was also known as Ninjadera due to the number of traps it contains within the building. We did get side-tracked by some gift shops and having to find some lunch. I found a Honey and Lemon Fanta flavour, which was surprisingly good! Also found a roll sushi at a convenience store, which was a lot harder to unwrap than an onigiri.

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We were hoping to reach Myoryuji for the 1:30 pm tour, but arrived late and took the 2:00 pm tour instead. Unfortunately, we were unable to take any photos from within the building itself. However, many of the traps they showed us were very simple yet ingenious! This included removing floor panels in the middle of the night so that intruders will fall to their doom, hidden alcoves for people to hide from danger, secret rooms for guards to attack, and much more. Brownie was a bit disappointed because he was expecting full on rolling boulders, swinging axes, rotating spike walls and more, but we all would still agree that it was an awesome tour.

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Our next stop was the Higashi Chaya District to the northeast. It was too far to travel by foot, so we took one of the loop buses to get there. The bus was packed, so the three of us were standing. The bus took a very sharp turn however, and Brownie lost balance and fell onto a female passenger. Luckily neither were hurt! We got off at Higashi Chaya District and were greeted with beautiful traditional Japanese teahouses. While not as grand as those in Gion, it is still a very beautiful sight to see. We didn’t go into any teahouses as we were running short on money, but it was a nice place to have a stroll around. There were also a few exhibits involve gold leaf, which is one of the products which Kanazawa was famous for. The gold leaf used on Kinkakuji originated from Kanazawa afterall.

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We walked back west past Kazuemachi Chaya District towards our accommodation, though I lost my umbrella somewhere along the way. Not that I cared much, the scenery was too beautiful to ignore!

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Upon arriving back in the town area, we headed straight to the mall from the previous day to have some dinner. I also decided to hit the music store to get some CDs. I must say, Japanese music CDs were expensive! Though mind you, we did convert it back to NZD, so it was expensive from our perspective. I was interested in a CD containing mixes of popular anime songs, and two from an anime series called “Guilty Crown”, which in my opinion was a pretty average series but had great OSTs, though I did not buy them until the very next day. After a long day of moving around, we went back to our accommodation to have a bath (they have a great bath on the ground floor which made this ryokan one of my favourites of the whole trip), then headed to bed.

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Daily Expenditure

1) TRANSPORT
Bus from Myoryuji to Higashichaya – 200 yen

2) ACCOMMODATION
Shibaya Ryokan – 2,880 yen

3) FOOD
Breakfast from convenience store near Shibaya Ryokan – 532 yen [Onigiri, hotdog with corn mayo, double coronet]
Oranges – 400 yen
Lunch from convenience store on the way to Myoryuji – 600 yen [Yakisoba bread, sushi, sandwich, honey lemon Fanta]
Dinner at Pomunoki @ Forus Kanazawa– 1134 yen [Omurice with chicken]

4) ATTRACTIONS
Kenrokuen entrance fee – 300 yen
Myoryuji entrance fee – 800 yen

5) OTHERS
Souvenir at Myoryuji – 500 yen [postcards]

TOTAL (cost for whole trip in brackets)
7,346 yen (442,993 yen total)

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