Smaller and quieter than Kyoto, Kanazawa concentrates the essence of ancient and contemporary Japan. Two days are enough to discover the Samourai district, take a contemplative break at the D.T. Suzuki Museum and walk through some of the most beautiful Japanese gardens. Take a stroll from one neighbourhood to another, contemplating on your way the old tea houses and traditional ceramic shops.
Across from the famous Kenroku-en Park, a discreet entrance opens to one of the most elegant examples of private garden design. Traditional tea houses, stone lanterns and elaborate stone paths, create an intimate and relaxing atmosphere, it feels like nothing changed since Nishida Family inhabitants the property, between the 17th and the 18th century.
Designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, this remarkable museum commemorates the life and work of Buddhist philosopher Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki. The Contemplative Space building looks like if it was floating on the water mirror surrounding it on three sides. The visitors are invited to take time to meditate, contemplate the reflection of the surrounding architecture. It’s a unique experience, the time stand still for a while, only the mechanical pulse disturbs the mirror-like surface of the water. The gallery of the museum displays the archive photos and writing illustrating the life journey of D.T. Suzuki.
About 40 minutes from Shirakawa-go site, Ainokura has a completely different atmosphere. Lost in a green valley, surrounded by majestic forest, the glassho-zukuri houses, the rice paddies and the vegetable gardens, draw an idyllic picture of ancient rural Japan. At sunrise, the image is even more beautiful with the morning mist coming down from the surrounding mountains.
Also to visit in Kanazawa: