We pulled into Kanazawa during breakfast and were met by a welcome team of six local ambassadors wearing gorgeous kimono of kaga yuzen, the famous dyed silk from this region. After enjoying a fantastic photo opportunity with these elegant women, we set off for our full day tour of Kanazawa, one of Japan’s loveliest and best-preserved historical cities.
Our first stop was Omicho Market, the “kitchen of Kanazawa” and the city’s largest fresh food market since the mid-1700s. We strolled through a myriad of stalls selling fresh crab, enormous oysters, expensive luxury fruits, and local vegetables. We ogled the amazing variety of seafood. We then continued to Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan’s top three strolling gardens dating back to the 1600s. Kenrokuen contains the six ideal characteristics of Japanese garden: size, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, fresh water, and views. We certainly enjoyed our time there, especially the shady parts since it was extremely hot and humid!
After returning to the ship for lunch, the sky opened. We enjoyed the torrential downpour from inside the comfort of National Geographic Resolution, our home-away-from-home. We also used this time to contribute our photos to the slideshow, which will be shared during cocktail hour tonight.
After lunch, we set off again for the Higashi Chaya District, a traditional neighbourhood with teahouses where geishas once performed. The area has been converted into cafes, museums, and elegant shops. Geishas are occasionally glimpsed even now as they make their way to and from appointments, and they can be heard practicing traditional instruments in the narrow lanes surrounding the main street. Gold leaf products were a highlight, as Kanazawa produces 99% of the gold leaf in all of Japan. It is found covering everything from ice cream to golf balls to exquisite accessories and tableware.
Our day ended with a presentation from National Geographic photo expert James Whitlow Delano entitled “Mangaland Tokyo,” followed by a farewell cocktail hour with Captain Heidi Norling. A day in Kanazawa was the perfect way to end our inaugural voyage in Japan before setting off for Tokyo on the Shinkansen tomorrow morning.