tokyo life

Archive for the 'Kanazawa' Category

May 2: One more time

It turns out Kyoto is not the only city with geisha districts - there are at least three in Kanazawa, and much more approachable too. We came back to Higashi Chaya for another stroll through before catching the bus to the next destination, Takayama.

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May 2: A chance encounter of the best kind

The geisha districts of Kazuemachi Chaya and Higashi Chaya looked so charming the previous day, but unfortunately most were already closed by the time we were there. (We found that outside of Tokyo, everything pretty much shuts down by 5 PM, which leaves precious little time for late-risers like us.) So instead of leaving town early in the morning we decided to spend the day exploring the area here and depart later in the day. And it’s good that we did, otherwise we would have missed out on one of the best experiences of this trip - and the best chocolate cake in the world ;-)

A treasure of a find with an unassuming front. Tucked away in a quiet residential neighbourhood, we felt like, and were welcomed like, visiting someone’s home.

Upstairs was the Dokidoki Gallery, or Sometimes Gallery. As we were looking around, the owner Mr Honda climbed upstairs to chat with us, and it was very touching because it felt like he was genuinely happy to have us there. He explained this space is sometimes their bedroom, and sometimes gallery - he literally cleared out his sleeping quarters for the Sawano Hitoshi exhibit.

Downstairs was an eclectic mix of used books for sale, heavy on literature, architecture and art. He told us he quit his job at Japan Railways to start this shop - he must have been a pretty artistically inclined JR employee!

An original Tadanori Yokoo book cover!

Eric gets comfortable.

On the other side of the book shelves is the cafe area where we we ogled over a childrens’ book from Mr Honda’s personal collection.

The chocolate cake to die for, homemade by the lady of the house.

Next time we come we’d like to stay at his BB

Myung Jin on sugar high.

Aundo, we miss you so.

Another thing that we noticed on these trips was how friendly, chatty and genuine people were. The views were great and the food fabulous, but most of all, we were incredibly touched by the people, all the time.

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May 1: More quaint and ancient streets

Amazingly, we were able to cover the rest of the Kanazawa tourist spots in the waning sun of the late afternoon, including Oyama Jinja, Omicho market and two of the city’s geisha district; Kazuemachi Chaya and Higashi Chaya. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer weather.

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May 1: Samurai streets

In the morning we hit the area famous for its past samurai inhabitants. We learned later Kanazawa was one of the few cities that escaped the WWII bombing. It was great to see the past so well preserved and makes you wonder what other cities would have looked like.

No, holiday doesn’t get in the way of eric working his phone…

Another gorgeous garden inside a samurai mansion. These guys may fight for a living but they certainly knew a thing or two about peacefulness.

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April 30: Castle, garden and snack

A pretty dandy looking black-and-white castle. It feels almost too prim to be used for warring purposes. Originally built in the 1600’s by the first lords of the city. The stone walls go back 400 years but most structures were rebuilt in the 18th, 19th and 20th century.

Kenrokuen. An amazing Japanese garden. So perfect and beautiful.

Mr Eric and a picturesque phone meeting.

Tea and snack on the way back to ryokan.

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April 30: Museum and lunch

The second day was pretty action-packed. We manage to see the museum for the 2nd time, the Kanazawa Castle, and the Kenrokuen Garden all in one day and all by walking.

A swimming pool with a view from both top and bottom. A fun (and photo-friendly) art installation the 21st Century Museum.

Lunch. Something non-Japanese for a change. We were beginning to find out, foods served here are super fresh. Very tasty veggies and meat, so naturally everything is delicious. We really didn’t have much expectations about food, so it was a nice surprise to be able to eat so well throughout our stay there. Or maybe we were just lucky.

When we know good food is coming our way ;-)

The owner/chef giving us directions to the castle.

On our way there we found one smug kitty. And its hefty price tag.

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April 29: Kanazawa arrival

We went to Kanazawa to see their SANAA-designed 21st Century Museum of Art. But what we thought would be a hit-and-run 2-day stay became 3 and then 4 as we gradually realized there is much more to Kanazawa than meets the eye. Weather was perfectly spring, food was yummy and fresh, and people were kind and friendly. What more could you want in a city.

A quick meal before leaving Tokyo for the 4 1/2 hour train ride.

The famous gateway to Kanazawa.

Check in at the ryokan.

The museum we came to see was 5 minute walk away.

James Turrell! Our second Skyspace in a month, after Naoshima.

Just roaming about. The exhibitions were already closed for the day.

A Sarah Sze you can photograph all you want. While Eric was photographing, a museum staff came over, not to forbid picture-taking, but to to tell him he should use flash to get better photos! Needless to say, his Kanazawa approval rating shot straight up right there and then (and never really came down;-)

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