Kanazawa, City of Samurai and Geisha, April 18, 2019

Fujio, our guide for the day met us on the pier, ready to go.  The day was sunny and would grow to be warm enough that I did not need my jacket.  After a short shuttle ride to the train station we set off for the local area market.  It had all the fish, fresh vegetables, flowers and cooked food that anyone could want.  And, the place was incredibly clean.  In fact, everywhere we have been, including Tokyo, has been unbelievably clean.

From the market we made our way over to the Naga-machi area to visit the ancient Samurai house of the Nomura family.  It was interesting to note, as we walked along, that Kanazawa is a city of small canals with water rushing through them.

As we strolled over to the Samurai house I captured a couple of shots of the area.  I felt, for the first time as if we were immersed in old Japan.  I hoped to visit an area like this, and here we are.

Fujio even took us into a private garden for a glimpse of something lovely.

Then we arrived at the Nomura house.  As I understand it, only a portion of the original house still stands.  There is no kitchen and I am not certain what else may be missing but the house is worth a visit.  Notice the wood work above the sliding doors and the tatami mats on the floors.  

From the main room, we were able to see the warrior’s private garden and a shrine he had in his home.

This is a piece of artwork in the house.

From there we walked over to the Kanazawa Castle Park, passing as we went the Oyama Jinja Shrine.  Here is a photo of the gate and the shrine.

The park is outstanding; have a look at this picture, taken as we approached the area where the ruler and his family lived.

The park was established by the Mazda family of the Kaga Domain.  Full-scale construction of the castle began over 400 years ago.  Unfortunately, many of the original buildings, including the castle, were destroyed by repeated fires.  Some buildings still exist, as does one of the gates. 

Lunch followed at a little restaurant in the park after which we visited the Kenrokuen Garden which is designated a Cultural Property and National Site of Special Beauty.  It is a typical landscape garden of the Edo period (1609 to 1868).  The garden deserves its designation as a place of special beauty; it is certainly more than beautiful.

As we strolled within the garden, I asked Fujio, who grew up within a 10 minute walk from where we were standing, if he ever tired of visiting it.  His swift answer was “no.”  I can see why.

Since JoAnn and I arrived in Tokyo, eight days ago, we hoped to see the legendary cherry trees in blossom.  Unfortunately, we were too late in Tokyo and too soon in Hakodate.  Today, we were fortunate to see a few cherry trees still holding their blooms.  Here is one of those trees with a gardener working below it.

The blooms were beautiful.

Here are one of two more of the garden. We visited many of these during our visit to Japan but of them all, and they are all lovely, I think the Kenrokuen Garden was my favorite.

Geisha girls still exist in Kanazawa but we didn’t see any so I took this shot of a poster to include in the blog and show just how lovely a Geisha can be.

Fujio told us there are still about 50 Geishas working in the city.  They provide a form of sophisticated, non-sexual,  entertainment to male customers, typically wealthy individuals, who are referred to them by other, known customers; no referral, no entertainment. They entertain by singing, or playing instruments or merely through conversation.  We visited the Geisha museum to gain a slight insight into the life of a Geisha.  Here are a couple of photos taken in the museum.

Fujio asked if we would like to stop by a gold leaf workshop on our way back to the ship. He told us it was one of the finest in the city, if not the country. We watched a woman working with thin slices of gold leaf as she removed them from a pressing book

and a fellow who was also doing something with the pressing book. The pressing book is nothing more than a collection of paper pages with thin gold pieces inserted between the pages. Once put together the “book” is then pounded repeatedly to create the thin gold leaf that the woman is working with.

Then we said goodbye to Fujio and returned to the Quest.

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