Tuesday, January 03, 2012

kanazawa-kaga onsen

kanazawa (62) The next day, we awoke to snow, sleet and hail.

Breakfast for me were two doughnuts from Doughnut Plant (carrot cake with cream cheese and their black out (a very chocolatey doughnut).

Both were very moist.

Satoshi had two musubi (rice balls) and we both had coffee.

The nice thing about Kanazawa is that there are many underground walkways, so that if it is raining (or snowing), you can easily get around.

The underground walkways aren't as extensive as Osaka, but still very convenient.

After breakfast, we went to check out Kenroku-en (Kenroku Garden). This garden is one of Japan's top 3 gardens to see. The other two are Koraku-en in Okayama prefecture and Kairaku-en in Ibaraki prefecture.

kanazawa (74) But before going to the garden, right across the way from it is Ishikawa-mon (Ishikawa gate), there are turrets and storerooms and it is the only remnants of the Kanazawa castle.

It was my first time to see a moat frozen over.

Although this area has been restored many times, I was surprised to see that they kept the stairways traditionally steep, I still can't believe that samurai, with their long hakama (skirts) and katana (swords) ran up and down these stairs.

I had to hold onto the railings for dear life going up and down.

kanazawa (98) We then went across to Kenroku-en. A beautifully kept garden which used to be the outer garden of the castle.

I noticed many trees with ropes draping from their tops and figured it is to keep a lot of snow from accumulating on the branches.

kanazawa (123) From the garden, we walked back into the city and checked out an area with restored samurai homes called Nagamachi.

The streets here are very narrow and winding.

We didn't have any time to check out the insides of these homes, but it was fun to walk around their "neighborhood".

We then caught the train from Kanazawa to Kaga Onsen, which is about 50 minutes away.

The hotel picked us up and we were able to leave our things with them until check-in time.

While waiting to check-in we decided to look for lunch. Since it was after 13:00 and nearing the end of the year, pickings were very slim.

We ended up waiting almost an hour for lunch at Bengara-ya.

The woman running the cafe had run out of the simpler lunches (noodles and rice bowls), so we ended up ordering fancy chazuke (tea with rice) lunches.

In fact, this lady was running the place by herself and kept running back and forth like a chicken without a head and at one point had run across the street to fetch a pot of cooked rice!

kagaonsen (12) I chose the ume (pickled apricot) with chirimen (small anchovy) toppings for my chazuke, while Satoshi chose mentaiko (spicy pollack roe)...1365 yen each.

Our lunches came with some nimono (simmered veggies), miso soup. There were also some toppings for our chazuke like tiny rice crackers, wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and shiso miso (soy bean paste mixed with perilla).

Despite the long wait, everything was delicious.

We then walked to the outskirts of town to see the Kutaniyaki (Kutani ware) kiln and gallery. Kutaniyaki uses a dish to "bake" its pieces in the kiln fueled by pieces of wood.

kagaonsen (25) We were able to see the remnants of this kiln, it was a huge thing covering a hillside.

The volunteer guide (who was 80-something) said that his father used to be one of the artisans at this site and that nowadays pieces are fired off in electric kilns.

The gallery/kiln area was truly amazing to see.

We then went back to the hotel to check-in then quickly went back out to check out the oldest bathhouse in the area.

kagaonsen (46) Ko-so-yu is a restored bathhouse dating back to the Meiji era.

They don't allow you to use soap or shampoo at this bath, just soak.

The area to disrobe is not separate from the bathing area like modern bathhouses are, so they give you a plastic bag to put your clothes in so they don't get wet from the steam.

Even though this was a restored bathhouse, it was a beautiful place with stained glass windows.

Dinner at the hotel was a disappointment, there was crab, but it was very "dry", Satoshi was also very disappointed with the meal which is surprising because he usually enjoys whatever he eats.

kanazawa (61) Not wanting to end this post on a bad note, I was fascinated with this huge tea pot objet at the JR Kanazawa station...it even had a cover!

Bengara-ya
59 Yamashiro Onsen Road
Kaga, Ishikawa
Phone: 0761.76.4393

Kutaniyaki Kiln and Gallery
19 Yamashiro Onsen 101-9
Kaga, Ishikawa
Phone: 0761.77.0020

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

This looks like such a fun trip.

Fabian said...

This looks so amazing!

Thank you very much for your frequent posts, which always are really interesting to read!

I wish you a Happy New Year and keep up the great blog :-)

jalna said...

Great trip! I found myself looking through all your photos on Flickr. I love the blanketed-in-snow scenery. I would've loved the ochazuke meal.

Kathy YL Chan said...

Mmmm I love the blackout doughnut! Heard you guys have some pretty cool flavors (including savory doughnuts?) in Japan that we can't get here in NYC!

K and S said...

Thanks Anon!

Thanks Fabian, Happy 2012 to you too!

Always amazes me to see snow, Jalna :)

I'm not sure about the savory doughnuts, Kathy, next time I see a DP, I'll check it out :)

Take care everyone.
Kat

Lizzy Do said...

Thanks for taking us along on your visit...great sites and food :)

Japan Australia said...

Kanazawa is one of my favourite places in Japan and very beautiful. Kenroku-en was amazing and enjoyed it the most of the three famous gardens I've been lucky enough to have visited on my travels.

Japan Australia

K and S said...

glad you enjoyed it Lizzy :)

you are very lucky J-A!

Take care you two.
Kat

K said...

Great photos! The ochazuke lunch looks delicious.

K and S said...

Thanks K! it took awhile to get our order but it was delicious.

Take care.
Kat

Deb in Hawaii said...

Lunch looks delicious and that carrot cake donut is making me drool. ;-)

K and S said...

I wouldn't mind eating that donut again Deb, it was delish :)

Take care.
Kat

Rowena... said...

I know that I really would've loved visiting the kiln area. You guys saw so many interesting stuff!

K and S said...

I wouldn't mind visiting more pottery areas in Japan Rowena :)

Take care.
Kat