Kanazawa is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, on Japan’s central Honshu Island. It’s known for well-preserved Edo-era districts, art museums and regional handicrafts. Kenrokuen Garden, begun in the 17th century, is celebrated for its classic landscape designs incorporating ponds and streams. Adjacent Kanazawa Castle was built in the 1580s, after the defeat of the Peasant’s Kingdom, Japan’s only Buddhist fiefdom.
Visitors can see colorfully glazed Kutani porcelain and hand-painted Kaga Yuzen silk (both regional specialties) at Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art. The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art houses international works in a circular building with floor-to-ceiling windows. The Teramachi district’s 16th-century Myoryuji Temple has secret chambers and hidden stairways. The Nagamachi neighborhood features narrow cobbled alleys and the Edo Period wooden homes of samurais. Higashi Chaya, an Edo Period entertainment district, includes Shima Geisha House, a former 1820 tearoom displaying a period collection of geishas’ personal items.