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Kanazawa and the Ishikawa Prefecture

Kanazawa and the Ishikawa Prefecture Destination Guide

Exclusively Elegant Travel Since 1988

For more information, please call our Luxury Travel Specialists on:01244 897 551

Your guide from the Luxury Travel Specialists

Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Kanazawa and the Ishikawa Prefecture, created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Luxury Travel Specialists.


Language Japanese
Time Difference 9 hours
Currency Japanese Yen
Voltage 100V

A cultural hotspot bursting at the seams with traditional teahouses, samurai areas, geisha districts, gorgeous gardens and charming castles, it's clear to see how Kanazawa gained the nickname 'Little Kyoto'... with the bonus of being less busy with tourists than its popular counterpart! Visit one of Japan's Three Great Gardens, Kenroku-en, and explore the striking Kanazawa castle, before strolling through the Higashi Chaya Geisha District or visiting cutting-edge contemporary art museums. The prefecture is also home to several hot spring resorts, including Yamashiro Onsen, home to authentic bathhouses and traditional craft workshops.

Kenroku-en Garden

Many would argue that Kanazawa’s highlight is the gorgeous Kenroku-en Garden, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Located in the centre of the town, its name refers to the six attributes that are considered vital in the creation of the perfect garden – seclusion, spaciousness, artificiality, antiquity, an abundance of water, and marvellous views. Take time to explore the beautiful pond, traditional tea houses and utter beauty of the garden, whether during spring when the blossom has bloomed, or autumn when the leaves turn a gorgeous shade of red. There is a small entrance fee for visitors, excluding those over 65 years old.

Kanazawa Castle

Located across the road from the Kenroku-en Garden and originally built in 1580, this striking castle was home to the Maeda samurai clan for fourteen generations before its destruction by fire in the late 19th century. Luckily, the impressive entrance gate, Ishikawa-mon, survived and still invites you into the castle today.

Tradition and Culture

Kanazawa still boasts a strong sense of Japanese tradition with wonderfully well-preserved samurai and geisha districts. Visit the traditional Nomura Samurai House, stroll the Higashi Chaya geisha district, and sip green tea in the Shima teahouse. For a true glimpse of local life, be sure to visit the Omi-Cho Market, offering a kaleidoscope of sights, smells and sounds. Kanazawa is also where 99 percent of Japanese gold leaf is made, home to many traditional workshops and stores filled with gold leaf handicrafts, as well as more unusual uses of the metal – including gold leaf cosmetics and even ice cream covered in gold!


Contrasting the city’s traditional offerings, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is an ultra-modern, low-rise venue surrounded by glass. Inside, discover a collection of both permanent instalments and changing exhibitions, all showcasing unique artwork from acclaimed contemporary artists of Japan and beyond. Other museums to visit include the DT Suzuki Museum, a spiritual tribute to the Buddhist philosopher Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, and the compact Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Traditional Products & Crafts.

Yamashiro Onsen

The hot spring resort of Yamashiro Onsen has been famous for its mineral-rich hot springs for over 700 years. At the centre of the town is the Yunogawa district, home to the Meji-style Kosoyu bathhouse and the decorative Yamashiro Soyu bathhouse, filled using natural hot water and offering a great chance to experience the traditions of the area. The resort is also home to authentic eateries, traditional ryokan inns and the Kutani Kiln Remains Museum, showcasing the history of Kutani porcelain and housing the world’s oldest Kutani bank kiln!


While the region can be enjoyed at any time of year, spring (March to May) is when there is generally least rainfall and Kanazawa's gardens bloom with beautiful cherry blossoms. October and November are best for viewing the stunning autumn colours and bright red maple trees, while June and July generally see the most rainfall, and August can be hot and humid. December to February can be very cold with occasional snow.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Kanazawa and the Ishikawa Prefecture.

  Temp °C Rain mm

Getting There+

There are direct flights (of around one hour duration) with Japan Airlines from Tokyo to Komatsu in the Ishikwa Prefecture. It is then approximately a 40-minute drive from Komatsu to Kanazawa. Japan's high-speed rail system can also take you to Kanazawa. Your Luxury Travel Specialist will advise on the best transport options based on your tailor-made itinerary.

Travel Documentation+

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.

Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.

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Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit Insect and tick bite avoidance. In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations i.e, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling. Visit the FCDO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: Foreign Travel Advice. Additional sources of information include: Public Health England, The National Travel Health And Network Centre, Foreign And Commonwealth Office and your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.

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