Wednesday 7 June Kanazawa

This morning we arrived in the port of Kanazawa to an overcast day with light rain. Kanazawa is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, on Japan’s central Honshu Island.
We boarded our bus, with ladies in Kimonos on the pier to welcome us to Kanazawa, and we headed off to our first sightseeing venture – the Omicho Market, which was established in the middle of the 18th Century. We followed Junko around the market of more than 170 shops, with her pointing out various fish stores that sell fresh fish and seafood caught in the Sea of Japan, vegetable stores that sell fresh vegetables, fruit stores, dried food, clothing stores, restaurants and cafes. We were then given some free time to wander around but had to be careful not to get lost in this colourful and lively market place.
Our next stop was to the Hakuichi Gold Leaf Manufacturer, where they had Gold Leaf on the floor and we stood on the squares for good luck. They told us about the tradition of Gold Leaf, which they have produced since 1953 and supply 98% of Japan’s needs. The history of Kanazawa Gold Leaf dates back to 1500s, but it was the Meiji Period (1868-1912) that saw the rise of Kanazawa’s country-wide reputation for Gold Leaf production because of the superiority of its leafing technique and the excellent quality of the water used in the manufacturing process. We were amazed to learn that the Gold Leaf is only .0000001mm thick.
We were then taken upstairs to a workshop area, where we were able to have “a Gold Leaf Experience”. We were given some cards with various designs on them eg Japanese Fan, Japanese Lantern, and some Gold Leaf that we used to make the “picture” by carefully rubbing it onto the card, and then a paint brush to dust of the excess Gold Leaf.
We were brought back to the ship for lunch and then headed off to the Kenroku-en Garden. From the entrance we could see what was left of the Kanazawa Castle, two storehouses and the Ishikawa-mon Gate, which dates from 1788 and faces the Kenroku-en Gardens.
Kenroku-en Garden, which used to be the spacious outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, has an area of 11.4 hectares. The name Kenroku-en literally means “Garden of the Six Sublimities” – spaciousness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water and broad views, which are said to be the six essential attributes that make up a perfect garden.
We strolled around Kenroku-en grounds, which had lots of water features, bridges, teahouses, trees, flowers, stones, viewpoints and hidden little nooks. Water is diverted from a distant river by a complex watering system constructed in 1632 to Kenroku-en’s various streams and ponds including the two main ponds in the garden, Kasumigaike and Hisagoike.
We saw the Kotojitoro Lantern, which is over 2 metres tall and built with two legs instead of one, is on the banks of Kasumigaike Pond and is a symbol of Kenroku-en. Below Kasamigaike Pond, there is a fountain, which is one of Japan’s oldest and is powered by the difference in elevation between Kasamiggike & Hisagoike ponds, which causes water to shoot out 3.5 meters high.
We saw the Karasaki Pine, which is the garden’s most amazing tree. Planted from a seed, it now stands very tall next to Kasumigaike Pond. There were also lots of azaleas and irises and we were surprised to discover that the azaleas were the same colours as the ones that Richard grows in our garden at home. We thought they were going to be much more exotic!
The gardens apparently have glorious seasonal differences, including lovely colours in autumn and snow-covered landscape in winter. They use “yukizuri”, meaning “snow hanging” which is a method of protecting the branches of the pine trees in the garden with ropes attached in a cone shape to the trees to prevent the branches from breaking from the weight of the snow.
From there the bus took us to Higashi Chaya Gai Geisha District, which was established in 1820 as a pleasure district. We followed Junko around the streets while she pointed out various wooden buildings that used to be Geisha Houses and are now guesthouses, shops, cafes and restaurants and then we were given free time to wander around on our own.
We were brought back to the ship at 5.00pm and had a late afternoon tea before heading to our cabin to finish packing and to get organised for dinner. After a lovely dinner with our usual group, we went to the Lounge for a special presentation of a slide show of our cruise, put together by Dot Robertson, our Tour Director with photos that she and some of the other staff had taken of all of us, out and about enjoying ourselves on this wonderful cruise.

3 Responses to “Wednesday 7 June Kanazawa”

  1. Maria Hughes says:

    Have enjoyed cruising along with you! Enjoy Tokyo and fingers crossed the weather is perfect too 🙂 Love and best wishes xoxo

  2. Maria Hughes says:

    Loved looking at all the photos tonight too – they are all absolutely beautiful 🙂 xoxo

  3. sandy says:

    Thanks Sis – today’s are up now too. I am loving this fast internet! 🙂

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