The array of cultural attractions in Kanazawa (金沢) make the city the drawcard of the Hokuriku region and a rival to Kyoto as the historical jewel of mainland Japan. Best known for Kenroku-en, a castle garden dating from the 17th century, it also boasts beautifully preserved samurai and geisha districts, attractive temples, a wealth of museums and a wonderful market (and far fewer tourists than Kyoto – for now). A two- or three-day stay is recommended to take it all in.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Kanazawa.