After Class Activities
Our program allows you plenty of time to discover your new country, culture, traditions, and everyday life after your class is over. Optional cultural and social activities could include: tea ceremony, Kimono dressing, Martial Arts demo, Calligraphy or Origami lessons, walking tours of Kenrokuen Gardens, trip to an Onsen (hot springs) and much more! Get yourself started for a trip to Kanazawa with the links below:
Main Sights: Get to Know Kanazawa
The Kenrokuen is one of the three most wonderful gardens in Japan. It covers an area of 11.4 hectares beside the Kanazawa Castle. It was constructed by the Maeda family over a couple of centuries and opened to public in 1871. The word “Kenrokuen” means “having six factors”, as due to the Chinese perception six essential attributes are necessary to create a perfect garden. These attributes are: spaciousness, tranquillity, artifice, antiquity, water and brilliant views from the garden. This splendid landscape is found in the central area of Kanazawa. It takes only 15 minutes to Kanazawa Station.
If you want to see a typical Japanese market, Omicho Market is definitely the place to visit! It was established in the 18th century during the Edo Period and is today still a busy place with shops and stalls. You can mainly find fresh local seafood, but also flowers, clothing and many other different products can be bought here. Within the 200 shops included are great restaurants which are very popular by locals and tourists.
Saigawa & Asanogawa Rivers:
Saigawa is a gorgeous river that flows through the city of Kanazawa. It origins is from the Mountain Hakusan which is an active volcano. This river is very popular when it comes to recreation. Especially in April, during the blooming period, the banks offer a great place to relax. The Asanogawa River is the second river flowing through the centre of the city. You can experience the special atmosphere of the rivers gentleness and tenderness best at the Ohashi Bridge. It’s a great place to just stroll around and enjoy the water flowing.
Excursions: Explore More of The Region
Noto Scenic Coastal Drive (Northern Ishikawa):
This excursion includes a drive on the beach, visits to Shinto shrine, tour of Ryokan (Japanese style hotel) and onsen experience (hot spring bathing), trip to a lacquerware workshop and Buddhist Zen temple (approx cost 8,000 JPY). The Noto Peninsula extends ~100 km into the Sea of Japan. This area provides incredible coastal scenery and is well known for its rural atmosphere. Some parts of the Noto Peninsula have been given even a National Park status.
Gokayama Mountain Villages Tour:
This tour includes a Mt. Hakusan scenic drive, visit to Shinto shrine and Gassho-style farmhouses (UNESCO world heritage) as well as Japanese washi paper-making. The Gokayama districts developed a very unique culture as this area was isolated from the main Japanese society due to its location. On this trip you will not only see the stunning nature of Japan but also villages in mountainous regions which vary a lot in their architectural style compared to the main traditional Japanese buildings.
Architecture: Discover Unique Styles & Structures
The Ishikawa-Mon Gate is one of the remnants of Kanazawa's background of being a castle town. Beside many other small entrances, this gate was the main entrance to the castle grounds. During a big fire in 1881, the inside of the castles construction burnt down, only the main gate was left unscathed. Today, several inner buildings were restored and renovated and so that today the Kanazawa castle park faces the Kenrokuen Garden in the centre of Kanazawa.
Ishikawa Prefectural Noh Theatre:
To see a traditional Japanese musical drama, Ishikawa Prefectural Noh Theatre is the place to go. Noh is a special form of classic Japanese culture performances. Its origin reaches back to the era of Lord Maeda. This kind of acting was enjoyed throughout every class of society. Even the stage itself is made especially for Noh performances. Its architectural style derives from Shinto Shrine, made out of cypress wood. The Ishikawa Prefectural Noh Theatre is to be found in Kanazawa’s centre on the hill of Kenrokuen. Throughout the year dozens of performances are held, especially during the spring season.
Culture: Learn About Their Traditions
Since the 17th Century, the tea ceremony is a huge tradition in Kanazawa. Its special preparation as well as presentation of the tea is a cultural activity, to bring out the best flavour of the tea. There are mainly 2 tea seasons divided into the summer months and the winter months.
Also Kanazawa’s is known for it traditional Kaga cuisine. Fresh, seasonal ingredients are used from the Sea of Japan like crab, yellow tail and deep water shrimp. There are a lot of great seafood meals, sushi and sashimi during the winter months. But also special grown Kaga vegetables are very popular in this area. For example: red pumpkin, which is highly nutritious, and very common in local kitchens.
Festivals & Events: See What They're Celebrating
Hyakumangoku Matsuri is Kanazawa’s main festival. This annual celebration honours the entry of the Lord Maeda Toshiie into the Kanazawa castle which took place back in 1583. The meaning of the word “Hyakumangoku” refers to the large rice production.
The main attraction during this fest is the parade. All participants wear traditional dresses from the 16th Century. Furthermore, dances and performances take place in the entire city like the “Miss Hyakumangoku” contest as well as the drum and lantern parade for children. Since 1923 this festival takes yearly place in Kanazawa during June.