Japan Day 8: Treasures of Kanazawa

On our bus ride to Kanazawa this morning, our tour guide showed us a video on the art of Sake brewing. During our tasting yesterday, the complexity of the brew process for Sake was lost on us, but today we fully appreciated the skill that goes into creating Japan’s famous rice-wine. Since rice itself doesn’t contain glucose like grapes that are used for wine, several additional steps are necessary to make Sake. Although I personally prefer wine to Sake, I understood why the Japanese take their national alcoholic drink so seriously.

When we arrived in Kanazawa, we toured the Nomura samurai house. This historic residence was once home to one of Japan’s feudal-era warriors. We removed our shoes and walked around the house to view historic artifacts and a small (but beautiful) Japanese garden.

Next we explored the Kanazawa fish market, where lots of sellers hawked their wares. We saw squid, headless fish, mollusks, and semi-frozen crabs still wriggling their legs. There were plenty of places to get food here (although not all appealing to a western palette), and I imagine there was some of the freshest sushi one could find in Japan in this market.

After lunch, we headed for Kenrokuen, an area with one of the highest-rated gardens in Japan. It was a beautiful day to tour a garden, and this one did not disappoint. With tranquil, small waterfalls, old trees with gnarly roots, gorgeous flowers, and calm ponds, it inspired a little zen in everyone who visited.

We continued our visit to Kanazawa with education on gold leaf production; one of the city’s long-revered crafts. We watched craftsmen delicately flatten gold into hair-thin sheets in a little workshop selling a wide variety of gold-covered or “infused” goods. Shiny objects and precious metals don’t really impress me, so I decided to hold onto my Yen for something more worthwhile than these trinkets.

Our day was completed with an Izakaya dinner–a fun, multi-course meal featuring our favorites like sushi, tempura, and more.

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