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More Kanazawa

With three whole days to spend in Kanazawa, I was able to devote most of my second day to Kenrokuen, which Lonely Planet said was one of the top three gardens in Japan. I can well believe it. Again, it was totally manicured – I spotted several guys up trees, pruning – but beautiful.

 

Kenrokuen - a place for people to eat

 

 

Kenrokuen - a place for birds to eat

 

Since it was larger than Ritsurin, with many more trees, it didn’t feel as unnatural. I particularly liked the low, star-shaped ground cover that looked like moss but wasn’t. Along with the oldest fountain in Japan, the garden was well-provided with streams and ponds, but not with places for lunch. I eventually wound up sitting on the floor, which was very hard on my bad foot, much as I like tatami. (I noted that the clumsy foreigner was seated out of sight of the locals.) Alongside the soup, rice, spring roll, shrimp, and veggies (including edamame) was a serving of a local “stew” with chicken and gluten bread which I enjoyed much more than I expected.

 

A rather geriatric tree at Kenrokuen

 

After lunch I paid my respects to Kanazawa’s signature stone lantern (see the picture of the manhole cover in the previous post), which was starring in a lot of the local’s photographs. Then I set off to visit the Seisonkaku Villa, built for the mother of a local lord near the end of the Edo period (a.k.a. the Shogunate).

While I envied the lady her expansive home, I couldn’t properly appreciate the gardens as the building was covered with scaffolding while the wooden roof tiles were replaced. I also found I could no longer properly appreciate Kenrokuen, as the gravel paths were upsetting my bad foot.

I also had some difficulty with the foot the next day, as my Welcome Guide had trouble accepting that the bandage and cane indicated a real problem. Still, we did visit a former geisha house,where I learned that the house where they entertained clients wasn’t the house where they lived. The client sat in the main room (with his back to the alcove, oddly), and the geisha performed in the smaller, adjoining “waiting” room.

 

Handling gold leaf

 

I found our next stop, the gold leaf “museum”, especially interesting. What starts as an ingot is taken down in successive stages to foil so thin you can practically see through it. The kimono painting place was less successful – probably only really interesting if you want to try it yourself. After lunch we visited the Museum of Traditional Crafts, which turned out to actually exhibit modern versions of the crafts.

All in all, my visit to Kanazawa was a big success, and I’m sure there’s plenty more to see if I ever go back.

 

Lunch with my Welcome Guide featured 15 kinds of fish

 

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