Historical and Cultural Heritage Reflecting the Kaga Hyakumangoku Culture
During the Edo period (1603 – 1868), Kenrokuen was founded and extended over generations by the feudal lords of Kaga (current southern part of Ishikawa) as a typical Daimyo (feudal lord) garden.
Located in the heart of Kanazawa, it has been appreciated by both citizens and tourists from all over the world as a landscape garden that shows a different flavor in each season.
The first feudal lord Maeda Toshiie entered Kanazawa Castle in 1583,
and he started building the castle earnestly.
Reportedly, he invited Takayama Ukon.
Who was well known as a Christian lord at that time, to learn how to build a great castle.
The Omi-cho Market was established about the middle of the 18th century.
Since then, it has been supporting the gastronomic culture of Kanazawa for more than 280 years.
There are as many as 170 stores including a large number of fish stores.
That sell fresh fish and seafood caught in the Sea of Japan, vegetable stores that sell unique Kaga vegetables, fruit stores, dried food and marine product stores, grocery stores, and clothing stores besides restaurants.
Naga-machi Buke Yashiki District
Residences of Retainers of the Kaga Maeda Family
Kanazawa was a castle town of the Kaga Clan governed by the Maeda family until 1868 (about 280 years) after Maeda Toshiie moved to Kanazawa Castle in 1583. The residences of two of the eight chief retainers of the Kaga Clan were located in the Naga-machi area, where top- and middle-class samurais (members of a feudal powerful military class) lived. With the arrival of the modern age, the appearances of the houses changed. The alleys and the mud walls of nagayamon gates (row house gates), however, still maintain the sight of the old days. A mud wall is made with stones and mud put into a mold and hardened. The roof is covered with thin wooden plates. Although mud walls that passed more than 100 years remain, most of the mud walls in the area were restored ones. There is a large quantity of snow in winter in Kanazawa. In order to prevent damage to the mud walls at the time of the spring thaw, straw mats called “komo” is used to protect the mud walls every year from early in December to middle of March. The Onosho canal, which flows around the area, was the oldest canal of Kanazawa, which was an important waterway that carried goods from the harbor to the castle town.
Higashi Chaya District
Historical Rows of Houses Designated as Japan’s Cultural Assets
Chaya is a traditional place of feasts and entertainment, where geisha (traditional female Japanese entertainers) have been entertaining people by performing dances and playing Japanese traditional musical instruments since the Edo period. The central part of Kanazawa was dotted with a number of chaya houses in the past. These chaya houses were moved into four districts distant from the central part in 1820. The largest one of the chaya districts in Kanazawa is the Higashi Chaya district.
The construction of two-story houses except chaya houses was prohibited in the Edo period. A chaya house is characterized with a beautiful lattice called “kimusuko” on the outer side of the first floor and Japanese-style guestrooms located on the second floor. When you enter back streets, you will soon find a maze of continuous alleys. The historical rows of this teahouse town along with Kyoto’s Gion and Kanazawa’s Kazue-machi have been designated as Japan’s cultural assets. There are no other chaya districts designated as Japan’s cultural assets. The district includes facilities where you can see the interior of a chaya house that was built 180 years ago. Besides, quite a few old buildings have been renewed into restaurants, teahouses, and souvenir shops. It takes three minutes on foot to the bank of the Asano River from the Higashi Chaya district. The Higashi Chaya district and Asano river area are places where you can enjoy strolling and become acquainted with Japanese history and culture. Kanazawa City Tourism Association holds a geisha performance show in the three chaya districts of the city every Saturday.