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Amazing Things You Probably Didn't Know About Kanazawa, Japan

Raksha Kulkarni
Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa prefecture, is located on the Sai River, on the Honshu Island. The city is a modern metropolis perfectly blended with traditional history.
Kanazawa Facts
The name literally means ‘marsh of gold’. It is believed that it came from a legend of a peasant, Imohori Togoro, who washed gold dust in a local marsh.
The city was one of the richest regions in Japan in the 15th century. It produces 5 million bushels of rice every year!
The city and the Kaga province were given to the Maeda family, the second wealthiest of the hereditary rulers. The city remained under their jurisdiction for almost 300 years and was the center of the Maeda clan during the Edo period.
The Kanazawa Castle was actually built in 1580, is also known as ‘the castle of 1000 tatami’. 14 generations of the Maeda Clan lived in this castle. It was destroyed by fire in 1881 but was partially reconstructed.
Kenroku-en was made as a garden of the Kanazawa castle in the Edo period. It is a great example of the Japanese landscape gardening and is one of the 3 most beautiful gardens in Japan.
It was recognized as a Core city only on April 1, 1996. It has been a regional commercial center and an important part of the ceramics, handicrafts, and the tourism sector.
The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is known for its round building and unique architecture.
Two famous permanent exhibits are Leandro Erlich’s ‘Swimming Pool’ and Jame Turrell’s ‘Blue Planet Sky’.
The city is also known as ‘little Kyoto’ because it still has the traditional streets with wooden geisha houses.
The Hgashi Chaya Area and Kazuemachi Chaya Area are areas where visitors flock to see these well preserved houses.
Myoryu-ji or Ninja Temple is not actually related to real ninjas, but a Buddhist temple. It is a stunning maze with trap doors, spy holes, huge passages, and escape routes.
The city produces 99% of Japan’s gold leaf production. They make cosmetics, skin care products, souvenir boxes, and even cake with gold leaf. The Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museu depicts the importance and gold leaf products.
The Nagamachi District is one of the most preserved samurai houses in the country.
The Nomura Family Samurai House is a museum which has a huge collection of information about the Samurais. The Kurando Terashima House is a lesser-known house.
Kanazawa was the second largest city (after Kyoto) in Japan to escape without much destruction, during World War II. Hence, the city boasts of such preserved beauty!