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Kanazawa's importance grew in the 15th century, when the powerful and militant Ikko sect established its new headquarters there after being chased out of Kyoto by the monks of Mt.Hiei.

During the Edo Period, Kanazawa was the seat of the Maeda clan, the second most powerful clan after the Tokugawa in terms of rice production and fief size. Accordingly, Kanazawa grew to become a town of great cultural achievements, rivaling Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo).

In the Second World War, Kanazawa was Japan's second largest city (after Kyoto) to escape destruction by air raids. As a result parts of the old castle town, such as samurai, temple and pleasure districts are in good condition.

Main attractions


Kenrokuen is classified as one of "Japan's three most beautiful landscape gardens", and many people consider it the best of them all. The spacious garden used to be the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, a private garden of the ruling Maeda family. It was constructed over a period of two centuries. Kenrokuen features various ponds, streams, waterfalls, bridges, teahouses, trees, stones and flowers. The water for the many streams and rivers of the park is still brought there from a distant river by a sophisticated water system constructed in 1632. The name Kenrokuen literally means "Garden of the Six Sublimities", referring to spaciousness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water and broad views.

Seisonkaku Villa

The Seisonkaku Villa was built in the last years of the Edo Period by a Maeda lord for his mother. It is one of the most elegant, remaining samurai villas in Japan. Kanazawa Castle From 1583 to the end of the Edo Period, Kanazawa Castle was the seat of the powerful Maeda clan, lords of Kaga, a feudal domain ranking second only to the Tokugawa possessions in terms of size and rice production.

The castle burnt down a few times in its history, and the most recent fires of 1881 were survived only by the castle's Ishikawa Gate which dates from 1788. While the castle tower and other major buildings have not been reconstructed ever since, some minor castle structures can be found on the castle's former site which is now a public park.


Nagamachi is a district at the foot of the former Kanazawa Castle, where samurai used to reside. The area preserves a historic atmosphere with its remaining samurai mansions, earthen walls, private entrance gates, narrow lanes and water canal.

Nomura House

Nomura House is an elegant samurai mansion with a beautiful, small garden, and is open to the public. The Nomura were a high ranked samurai family. Kaga Yuzen Work Shop Kaga Yuzen Work Shop (Saihitsuan) stands on the former site of a samurai house and is now a silk dyeing workshop open to the public. Visitors can observe the artists as they mix colors and paint beautiful designs on silk.


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