Bask in the deep silence of dawn at Kenroku-en garden (Ishikawa Prefecture)
Knowing that the Kenroku-en garden, built by the Maeda clan, the lords of Kanazawa in central Hokuriku, is open to the public free of charge early in the morning, I departed Tokyo on the evening’s final Hokuriku Shinkansen. I saw the pale early morning light of Kenroku-en garden throw silhouettes of the trees bound in rope against the heavy snows, but few human shadows. This renowned garden smiled expressively at me in welcome.
Old streetscapes remain in Nagamachi, Kanazawa City, where the samurai used to live. Walk through Nagamachi with its earthen walls, and images arise of a medieval Japanese town. In the ruined residence of the Nomura samurai family, open to the public, a grand samurai garden remains, as well as paintings on sliding panels, a tea ceremony room, and much more.
At the Yamashiro Onsen hot springs in Kaga City (Ishikawa Prefecture), said to have a 1300-year history, the Ko-Soyu bathhouse recaptures the notion of soyu public bathhouses from the Meiji era (1868–1912). It's not just the exterior appearance and stained glass of the Ko-Soyu bathhouse—the bathing method of that time has also been reproduced, simply enjoyed by soaking in the hot spring without using soap or shampoo. The Yamashiro Onsen area also produces Japanese Kutaniyaki porcelain.