Kanazawa – The Western Capital of Japan

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Yesterday Robert Kaj and I visited Kanazawa. It was one of the places on my hitlist, because of a famous Japanese actress being named after the city and it’s supposed historical buildings.
It’s called the Kyoto of the West.

Like Kyoto, the station has (recently) been transformed in to a work of art.

Kanazawa Station with it’s distinctive Torii

Kanazawa Station, inside to outside

Escalator to the subway lines. Please note the flat part in the middle of the escalator

Kanazawa is close to the earthquake region of a few days back and was supposedly hit by a force 5 quake. The results are a staggering piece of plastic coming off a scale model of the station.

We didn’t really see any old buildings, but the trip was 3hours long and we did not have overly long to stay there so we’ve probably missed all the classic goodness. There are 2 Geisha districts still in working order in Kanazawa, which is more then Kyoto. They are supposedly larger too. The reason for going to Kanazawa was actually again one of the Nihon Sankei. One of the most beautiful gardens is supposedly in Kanazawa.
Ken-Rokuen. And it was there!

While we were in the station, we saw some adverts for the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. We decided to visit there too. On walking out of the station, my eye fell on this measly branch in a solitary little tree…

Yes! My first Sakura tree this season with some flowers!

On our way to Ken-Rokuen we stopped at a Doutor (Yes, Doutor, not… Du Tour) coffee shop (Not the Dutch type!) for some Ice Coffee and a cheeze toast (Toastie). You get to throw your own sugar syrup and concentrated milk in this ice coffee. There was a guy there that had already emptied 2 packs of cigarettes while playing on his DS Lite. Anyway, ofter finishing the coffee, we took it upon us to visit a local temple. Well, I wanted to go there because they had a public toilet on the premises and I needed to use it.
The temple had a nice garden.




And a few blossoms in the tree

It also had a rather distinctive entrance gate (not on the side we entered from) which looks totally out of place in a Japanese temple.

The gate.


And the rather bland temple with recorded cheezy music out of speakers.

When we had enough of this temple, we moved on to the museum, which is oposite Ken-Rokuen, as it happens. This was a stroke of good fortune. Now we had the two things we wanted to see at hand.

Impression of a dragon on top of the museum building



Leandro’s pool. You can walk into the exhibit and down some stairs into a blue room with the bottom part of some stairs and a roof of glass with water on top.
On the top end, outside the exhibit, you can look into a pool and see… the people in the blue room! A nifty bit of engineering by Leandro Erlich. He’s famous for his trick art.


In Thurell’s Room you saw an optical illusion of a flat wall
And it was open to the sky… I think…

We sat there for a while, because we were kinda tired.


And yes, I forgot to shave -_-;;

Anyway, it was a nice place to sit in. There was a nice breeze inside the room and it was quite. I could have remained there for the rest of the day with a good book on me.

However, we finally made it to Ken-Rokuen. The garden was indeed beautiful and worth it’s 300 yen entrance fee. I’ve taken quite some pictures there. Here’s a small selection of them.

Water mass with a tea-house in the distance.

Waterfall, about 4m high.

Teahouse

Small island with blooming Sakura


The oldest fountain in Japan


Famous stepping stones in the shape of a flight of geese.


Very long branch of a Japanese Oaktree, supported due to it’s weight

Sakura

Fushigi no somebody

Dinner… ehm… Carp.


Nice river with small bamboo shoots, kept small for the effect.

Yes, proof I saw Sakura blooming

Reality comes close to this oasis of rest and tranquility.

Well, since it was running towards 16:00 and remember, the journey home was supposedly 3 hours, we went back to the station by bus. Yes, it’s cheating, but we were tired and didn’t feel like walking the same route again. At the station I reserved tickets for the 18:00 Thunderbird to Osaka. The name sounded like the train would be moved along on strings and I had great fears as to it’s speed. When I got the tickets, it appeared the train would be back in Osaka about 30 minutes sooner then the morning train, the Raichou (a rather old express train known under various names in Japan). So appearantly, it would realy move as the thunder.
Anyway, since it was my brother’s birthday I diceded to say hi to him and grab some food. We went to the station department store and of course, on the 8th floor, they had a food court, like most department stores.
We went and had some delicious Gyouza and Chinese food there. The Mabo Toufu I had was really spicy and rather nice. The sauce was not tomato based, but it was sharp and nice none the less.

When we had dinner, we went back to the station and bought some Pino ice cream. I also saw some typical Japanese crisps… Mayonaise flavoured crips, Piri Piri variation. I bought a small bag just for the hell of it.
They were kinda nice. Peppery Mayonaise-like potato crisps. Good stuff.

Well, it was time to board the Thunderbird 44 (In the series they only came to 5) and go back home.
The Thunderbird looked like a “koploper” from the NS and also has those doors that open upfront to add an additional train, which they promptly did, just to impress us that they could :)

Anyway, we’re back in Osaka now.

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