Have you ever wondered where in Japan you can find historical samurai training houses and districts where geisha have lived and entertained guests both historically and today? Did you ever wonder whether they still exist in contemporary Japan, since most of the cities you or your friends visited don’t really feature these historical places?
If you want to know where to find these places, Kanazawa is the city you’re looking for! It’s a place which tourists don’t generally include on their itinerary when they visit Japan. But it’s actually a beautiful place where you can find some of the enchanting places that you see in manga and anime! It is the best place to see a well-preserved Edo-period city in Japan! Here’s what you can see when you visit the city.
These are the teahouse and restaurant districts where guests are entertained by geisha through song and dance. Higashi Chaya is the largest Chaya district, located on the eastern side, while Nishi Chaya is smaller but quieter than the former and is located on the western side. Some shops are open to the public and are still operating as a teahouse while others are now open as museums.
If you are a fan of the anime Gin Tama, there may be familiar images in these districts. It is quite an amazing place to visit because it seems that the location of manga comes to life here!
Samurai are real! Well, I guess we already know that they did exist, but we can only see them now in manga, anime, or movies. This district is living proof that once upon a time, there were many samurai in Japan.
This is the district where samurais lived with their families. Some of these houses were schools, just like in the manga series Rurouni Kenshin, where kids were being taught how to fight and protect. I don’t think these schools still accept students now, though!
Ishikawa-mon Gate is the only standing structure of Kanazawa Castle, apart from the two storehouses, after the place was burnt down several times over the last century. Up until the Edo period, this castle housed the powerful Maeda Clan who ranked second to the famed Tokugawa Clan when it came to size and wealth.
Looking around this place and learning its history makes you very curious to know how the Japanese people lived in the Edo era when feudalism was the structure of society. At the same time, you will feel relieved that you weren’t born in that period considering that people were always on alert to protect their lands and empire.
Facing Kanazawa Castle is the Kenrokuen Garden, which means the Garden of Six Sublimities, namely: spaciousness, tranquility, artifice, antiquity, and water sources. There are magnificent views from the garden. It is a very big garden which has a big pond and a cottage.
The tranquility of this garden makes you feel how the lords of Kanazawa Castle walked on this land while thinking about how to live a peaceful life. It may also calm your heart and mind, which the lords probably needed at that time to find solutions to the issues the castle was facing at that moment. It’s really pretty, so much as to say that it really holds its reputation as one of the three most beautiful gardens of Japan.
Whatever the reason for a person’s travel is, whether for fun, to learn or to run away, it’s always nice to learn the history of the country you are going to visit. And learning its history would give you much more satisfaction if you could actually see those things being mentioned in the books. In Japan, Edo era defines the country and its rich history, and Kanazawa is just the right place to see the living evidence of its past.