Japan's bullet train has made this well-preserved city more accessible than ever

posted on February 6, 2016

In Japan, history is frequently right around the corner: a venerable little shrine, a neighborhood temple that's survived both war and redevelopment, maybe even a castle. But the sense of being immersed in the past is rare.

Even Kyoto, famed as the country's redoubt against modernity, has no large area that meets the Western definition of a historic district.

But there is another city that, like Kyoto, was spared U.S. firebombs during World War II. Kanazawa is not quite a Japanese Williamsburg, but it does contain numerous neighborhoods of Edo period (1603-1868) structures. Long more popular with Japanese than foreign visitors, the north-coast city became much more accessible last year with the opening of a new Shinkansen line. The high-speed trains hurtle from Tokyo in under 21/2 hours. It's a hop worth making.

The train station, like Kyoto's, is emphatically modernistic. But it does bow to the past with a mammoth wooden gate called Tsuzumi, after the hand drum it somewhat resembles. The gate faces east, toward the center city and a large bus plaza. Unlike most Japanese cities of its size, Kanazawa has neither a subway nor trams. The main attractions are mostly within walking distance, but a loop bus circles past them, either clockwise or counter.

Kanazawa means "gold swamp," a name traced to a legend about a peasant who found gold in a bog. The story is unlikely, but the city's craftspeople have taken it to heart. Kanazawa is home to virtually all of Japan's gold-leaf production. Since gilding is essential to Buddhist art, business is golden.

In Higashi Chaya-gai, several shops sell gilded items, ranging from jewelry to cosmetics to postcards. The largest is Hakuza ("gold-foil place"), whose products include gold-infused liquor and green-tea cake edged in edible gold. The shop boasts the world's first gilded outside wall, although the siding - on a small warehouse that also has a glittering interior - is not exactly outside. It's in an interior courtyard, sheltered from the juicy air.




source by washingtonpost
Next bit of japanflyness

Pray for a health, good fortune and good business for next year!!

The year-end festival at Nishiarai Daishi Temple.

Sengakuji Temple, where 47 ronin are buried, holds the Festival to celebrate the anniversary of their avenge.

Bettara Market is held around Takarada Ebisu Shrine in Nihonbashi.