Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kanazawa

June 2, 2014

After our short stay in Matsumoto, we were on our way to Kanazawa, close to the Sea of Japan and well know for sushi and sashimi. The train along the eastern edge of the Northern Japanese Alps was a beautiful ride. At one point, we were on a small one car train going through the countryside and into tunnels of foliage. 



Once we arrived in Kanazawa, it was hot and humid. Quite the change from the lovely mountain air we were in mere days before. It was a quick walk to the hostel where we dropped our things, got some tips from the hostel owner, and were on our way for some food and sights. The first stop was the Omichi market, a well known fish market. The market was in a covered shopping area, as many shopping areas are in Japan, with stalls of just about every piece of seafood you can imagine. Cuts of colorful fish, live shrimp, dead shrimp, large sea snails, eel, clams, and more. There were other vendors with veggies, other meats, pickles (a staple of japanese diet), and noodles. It was pretty chaotic and smelly, but a new experience far from the comfort of an American grocery store. This place was the epitome of fresh catch, so I made sure to get some fresh nigiri sushi.

Sushi with a view. I could get used to this quality of fish!

Next stop was the Kenrokuen Gardens next to the Kanazawa castle. These gardens are know to be the third most beautiful gardens in Japan. What are the first two? I don't know, but I can say that the Kenrokuen gardens were the most beautiful I've seen in Japan! Kenrokuen means "having six factors" incicating the six factors that make an ideal garden: spaciousness, tranquility, artiface, antiquity, water, and a nice view. We wandered the paths as the sun was on the descent, making the light ideal for nice photos.




The iris flowers were in bloom during our visit, lining the waterways.


After shutting down the garden, we were looking for a nice place to eat. Lonely planet recommended an izakaya that we decided to head towards. Upon being somewhat lost, we wandered down a street lined with paper lanterns with the izakaya symbol. We went into the one that had the most noise coming out of it when the door was opened. We had a delicious set of small bites and drinks. More and more people poured into the izakaya and the staff were busy getting everyone's ordered. The temperature was quite high and we were ready to leave. It took awhile to flag down our server, but once we did and paid, we were out in the cool(er) night air. 

Some of the local delicacies staring at us from a countertop fridge.



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