As a matter of fact, sometimes non-touristy areas are more fascinating for people from other countries. After visiting Kanazawa’s major sites, why don’t you explore the backstreets on foot? Vicinities in all directions around the castle are walkable unless you are already fatigued. You can stop in about anywhere, anytime you want. The best part of rambling through Kanazawa without a guide is connecting with the locals.
The city of Kanazawa has been quite developed since the age of the samurai. As a result, this city is called a ‘Samurai Town.’ Japanese Samurai are known around the world as brave warriors, yet actually their lives during the Edo period were quiet and humble. It‘s said they had loved the Way of Tea as a practice, to calm themselves down, or to clear their minds. Let’s give it a try in Kanazawa to know their spirit!
Make Question Marks
on the Backstreets!
There are many mysterious items lurking about,
some of which even Kanazawa folks may have never known.
Although not all local people can describe what they are,
the actual stories behind them are quite interesting.
What is that strange stone
on the street?
When you walk along the mud-wall street in the samurai district, you may notice a stone at key points. It’s a stone called ‘goppo-ishi’ for removing snow stuck in Japanese wooden clogs. People used to knock the snow off their clogs before visiting someone’s house so as not drip onto the porch.
What is that Corncob
Hanging Under The Eaves?
When you are strolling through the Higashi Chayagai district, you might notice ears of corn hanging in front of the buildings. It’s an amulet to protect their loved ones from evil. Why corn? It’s said that the rows of kernels symbolize a long family lineage, and the corn silk attracts good business and drives away misfortune.
What are the advantages of wooden lattices?
In the geisha districts, you will see preserved teahouses decorated with traditional wooden lattices called kimusuko, which literally means “wooden insect cage.” They are for ventilation and light. Furthermore, they protect residents’ privacy from passers-by, while maintaining the vantage of the exterior streets.
Why is the gable in the shape of fish?
At a shrine, temple, or traditional castle, you will see a beautiful gable in the shape of a fish. It’s a rain guard called ‘hahu’ in Japanese, and the fish-shaped one ‘gegyo.’ Why were fish icons picked for these gables? In the past, many wooden buildings were easily destroyed by fire. Fish are associated with water, so it’s a charm to protect the buildings from fire.
Basic Knowledge Before
You Learn The Way of Tea
When tea was first imported from China, it was taken as a medicine
in Japan. In the following era, it spread as a beverage before finally
becoming a sort of accomplishment to learn for samurai and people
of the merchant class. There are various schools of the Japanese
tea ceremony that follow their own distinct patterns and rituals.
What does ‘ichigo-ichie’ mean?
It’s a Japanese idiom comes from The Way of Tea. It describes the cultural concept of treasuring each moment with those around you. Every moment is different, an opportunity to meet that will never happen again. This also means that all of the moments in one’s lifetime are precious. The term ‘ichigo-ichie’ suggests we should cherish any gathering at a tea ceremony we may take part in. These are the most prominent words left to us by the great tea master Sen-no Rikyu.
What are ‘Wabi’ and ‘Sabi’?
Wabi-Sabi represents a concept of Japanese aesthetics. Wabi is the idea to find a feeling of fulfillment in shabbiness, simplicity, or even insufficiency, which also means the beauty of imperfection. Meanwhile, Sabi indicates inner beauty to ‘naturally’ feel a deep meaning or its abundance in tranquility. Mature individuals who have much life experience will likely understand it. Experience the true Wabi-Sabi aesthetic through a traditional tea ceremony.
Why are they rubbing tools all the time?
When you watch a tea-ceremony host showing how to make tea, you might wonder what all of those elegant movements are; they rub tools at each and every stage. While it may appear as simple cleaning, these actions actually represent the purifying of their minds during The Way of Tea. They make a fresh start with each movement to keep their mind clear. You will see they never allow for any slipshod display because they must always show the upmost respect to their guests.
What is taboo at the tea ceremony?
Mostly hosts want their guests to feel comfortable, so they would never warn anyone out loud, especially tourists. Just be aware that there are some disrespectful behaviors you should know as a tip before joining a tea ceremony. Showing your bare feet without socks is considered rude. In case of wearing sandals, one had better bring along a pair of socks. Take off any accessories around your wrists, such as rings or a watch if you can. Just keep them in your bag!
Higashiyama walking tour
with a licensed English-speaking guide
Twilight Walking Tour
Experience Japanese culture by strolling down
unknown back streets on this peaceful twilight walk!
May. 9(Mon) ⁄ 12(Thu) ⁄ 16(Mon) ⁄ 19(Thu) ⁄ 23(Mon) ⁄ 26(Thu) ⁄ 30(Mon) ⁄ Jun. 2(Thu) ⁄ 6(Mon) ⁄ 9(Thu), 2016
at 17:30, and ends at 19:00.
(reception from 17:15)
Reservations not required!
Higashi Chayagai district
¥2,000 (per person (Adult) / Tax included / Credit card: Visa, Master, and Amex cards are accepted.)
•Insurance not included
Capacity: 15 persons
*The course of this tour includes lots of slopes and stairs. Some of the roads on the course are very slippery. Please join the tour with shoes and clothes suited for a walk in case.
Learning the Way of Tea samurai-style in English
in front of the castle
Samurai Tea Ceremony
with Castle View
An Enshu School tea master will show you
the Way of Tea samurai-style in English.
May. 10(Tue) ⁄ 17(Tue) ⁄ 24(Tue) ⁄ 31(Tue) ⁄ Jun. 7(Tue), 2016
at 15:00~15:50 (reception from 14:45)
16:00~16:50 (reception from 15:45)
Chaya Kenjotei “茶屋 見城亭”
¥2,500 (per person (Adult) / Tax included / Credit card: Visa, Master, and Amex cards are accepted.)
• Reservations not required • Insurance not included
Instructor: Soumin Sakai (Master of Enshu School)
Souyu Takahashi (Master of Enshu School)
Inquiry: Direct Call 090-2832-5175
(English spoken / Monday-Friday / 9:30-17:30)
Under the auspice
of Kanazawa Ryokan & Hotel Cooperative Association