Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kanazawa (金沢市; -shi) is the capital city of Ishikawa in Japan. It sits on the Sea of Japan, bordered by the Japan Alps , Hakusan National Park and Noto Peninsula National Park. The city sits on the Sai and Asano rivers.
Kanazawa literally means "marsh of gold": the name is said to derive from the legend of a peasant called Imohori Togoro who washed gold dust from potatoes into a well (known as Kinjo Reitaku). Kanazawa was once ruled by the Maeda family from 1583 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
The city is famous for tea with gold flakes, which is considered by the Japanese people to be good for health and vitality. Gold leaf plays a prominent part in the city's cultural crafts, to the extent that there is a gold leaf museum (Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum).
Hyakumangoku Matsuri and Asano-gawa Enyukai are the major festivals held in Kanazawa.
Kenrokuen Garden is by far the most famous part of Kanazawa. Originally built as the outer garden of Ishikawa castle, it was opened to the public in 1875. It is considered one of the "three most beautiful gardens in Japan" and is filled with a variety of trees, ponds, waterfalls and flowers stretching over 25 acres (100,000 m²). In winter, the park is notable for its yukitsuri — ropes attached in a conical array to trees to break up snow as it falls, thereby protecting the trees from damage.
Outside Kenrokuen is Ishakawa-mon, the gate to Ishikawa Castle. The original castle was destroyed by fire but rebuilt in 2001. There are currently plans to re-create the original castle grounds in full, encompassing what is now Chuo Park, as well as adjacent areas.
The Seisonkaku Villa was built in the last years of the Edo Period by a Maeda lord for his mother. It is one of the most elegant, remaining samurai villas in Japan. The villa stands in a corner of Kenrokuen, but separate admission fees apply. (Source Japan-guide.com)
Kanazawa also boasts a 100 year old former geisha house : the Higashi Geisha District, across the Asano river (with its old stone bridge) out from central Kanazawa. Nearby is the Yougetsu Minshuku which sits at one end of one of the most photographed streets in Japan. It retains, almost completely, the look and feel of nineteenth century Japan, its two-story wooden facades plain and austere. The effect is accentuated by the early morning mist. Late at night, the street is lit by the period streetlamps.
The temple Oyama-jinja, which is considered an Important Cultural Asset, is also in Kanazawa.
The city is also renowned as a traditional haunt of ninjas.
Kanazawa's Myoryuji Temple or ninja dera (ninja temple) is a fascinating amalgamation of traditional Zen architecture, hidden doors, passageways, and hidden escape routes.
- Official website in English
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