About Kanazawa city
Kanazawa, the biggest city in the Hokuriku region has a population of
450,000, and is a castle town that was ruled over by the Maeda family
for three centuries after the first lord Toshiie Maeda entered Kanazawa
Castle in 1583.
The development of its special products like rice, sake, sweets, etc.
was due to its temperate and rainy climate with heavy snow in winter.
The city is surrounded by the Japan Alps, Hakusan National Park and
Noto Peninsula National Park. Two rivers run through the city; the Sai
is said to be a lively masculine river and the Asano to be a sweet,
feminine river. Such a natural background of great beauty gives the
city a relaxed feeling.
Since the Kaga Clan invited many artists and craftsmen to this area,
it achieved a high level of craftsmanship that continues to flourish
to this day.
Colorful KUTANI POTTERY, earthy OHI POTTERY, elegant KANAZAWA
LACQUERWARE, glittering KANAZAWA GOLD LEAF, unique-to-Kanazawa
PAULOWNIA CRAFT, specially hand-painted KAGA-YUZEN SILK, KAGA
ZOGAN, KAGA EMBROIDERY, KAGA FISHING FLIES, MIZUHIKI, and
KANAZAWA BUDDHIST ALTARS.
The buildings that gave birth to these traditions stand tranquilly
and blend in with the modern atmosphere in Kanazawa to create a
charming ancient castle town.
The name Kanazawa is derived from the following story: A peasant
named Imohori Togoro made his living digging potatoes. He washed
gold dust from the potatoes into a well, now called Kinjo Reitaku,
so the area was named Kanazawa, meaning 'marsh of gold.' About 500 years ago the Ikko sect of Buddhism set up a religious
goverment with its center at the Kanazawa Gobo temple, which later
became the site of Kanazawa Castle.
The temple was destroyed by an army led by Oda Nobunaga in 1580.
Maeda Toshiie, one of his retainers, entered into Kanazawa in
1583, built a castle in its stead and ruled the district as the
lord possessing the largest fief in Japan. He is known for
producing a million koku of rice annually (one koku equals five
bushels). The Maeda lords especially fostered arts
and crafts, and Kanazawa became a cultural center like Tokyo
(then known as Edo) and Kyoto.
After the Meiji Restoration in 1868 Kanazawa became the capital
of Ishikawa Prefecture, and has flourished as the hub of
political, economic, educational, and cultural activities in the
Kanazawa is blessed with a variety of foodstuffs, such as rice cropped in the Kaga Plain, Kaga vegetables, water of good quality in the Hakusan Mountains, and fish and shellfish caught in the Sea of Japan. Moreover, the production of soy sauce in the Ono area, advanced cooking techniques that was encouraged by the Maeda family, who ruled the Kaga Domain (the present Ishikawa and Toyama areas) in feudal times, and beautiful Kutani porcelain and lacquer ware raised the cooking culture of Kanazawa. There are high-class restaurants where people enjoy eating Japanese food in beautiful Japanese-style rooms while looking at a Japanese garden. Jibuni is traditional Kaga cuisine, made from boiled and seasoned duck coated with wheat, wheat gluten, and vegetables in thick soup.
Crab, Yellowtail in Winter, Deep-water Shrimp, and Sushi
Fish and shellfish of the Sea of Japan are delicious in winter, in particular. A ban on crab harvesting is lifted on November 6 in Ishikawa Prefecture and crimson crabs are seen at shop fronts in the Omi-cho Market. In Kanazawa, the male snow crab is called "zuwaigani" and the female crab, which is twice as small, is called "kobakogani."
Late in November, when it becomes cold and many thunders are heard, matured yellowtail appears on the market. Buri daikon, made from yellowtail boiled with daikon radish is especially delicious. Kabura-zushi, which is made by cutting turnip into round slices that are pickled in salt, is famous as a specialty of Kanazawa. Salted yellowtail fillets are sandwiched between the pickled turnip slices, and pickled with a mixture of rice and rice malt.
Thanks to the delicious fish and shellfish, there are many sushi shops and sushi-go-round bars in Kanazawa, and the delicacy the sushi has obtained nationally high evaluation.
Kaga vegetables are indispensable to Kaga cooking. There are 15 Kaga vegetables. These vegetables were planted in Kanazawa for the first time in 1945 or before. A leafy vegetable called "kinjiso" and red Japanese pumpkin are very unique to Kanazawa. These vegetables with high nutritional values are familiar home cooking vegetables as well in Kanazawa.
Kanazawa, Kyoto, and Matsue are called the three greatest Japanese place of confectionery making. In the Edo period (1603 to 1867), the Maeda family promoted the tea ceremony. This developed confectionery indispensable to the tea ceremony. Japanese sweets are made with advanced techniques in images of seasonal natural features from raw materials, such as rice, red beans, and sugar. Special confectionery connected with auspicious occasions, such as New Year cerebrations and weddings, have been developed. You can see a wide variety of colorful sweets including a brand that has been continuing for more than 380 years and sweets made with materials and techniques of Western-style cakes. Furthermore, there are facilities where tourists can experience Japanese confectionery making.
Sake (Japanese Rice Wine)
High-quality sake (Japanese rice wine) has been produced in Kanazawa for 400 years from rice harvested in the Kaga Plain and water taken from the Saigawa River and Asanogawa River in the cold winter of Kanazawa. The sake contains about 15% alcohol. There are four brewing companies in Kanazawa, all of which have been in operation for more than 100 years. Kanazawa's sake tastes rich and goes best with the food of Kanazawa. The sake has been loved by local people in Kanazawa for a long time.