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ISHIKAWA A scenic route to experience tradition and style
  • TOKYO
  • ISHIKAWA

Theme of the Scenic Route

QUALITY BORN OF TRADITION

TRAVELER

  • Traveled : November,2019 Amanda O'Brien
    Travel Blogger
    Reside in United Kingdom London
  • Traveled : November,2019 Kathryn Wortley
    Journalist and content creator
    Reside in Tokyo
    Home country: United Kingdom London

For an immersive experience of tradition and elegance, this itinerary takes you from the Imperial Palace—site of the Imperial Residence where Japan’s Emperor and Empress live—to Kenrokuen Garden in Ishikawa Prefecture. Take time to savor the serene beauty as you stroll its grounds, an embodiment of the former local feudal lords’ hopes for eternal prosperity.

London Heathrow Airport

JAL Examine the directions from your country

  • Amanda O'Brien

    JAL international flight : The flight was on time leaving London and arriving into Tokyo. The interior of the plane was very modern with USB ports and charging points in all seats. I found the seat very comfortable and the amount of leg room adequate. I managed to sleep for several hours. There were many new Hollywood movies to watch. The food was very tasty for both dinner and breakfast. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful.

Haneda Airportmore

Haneda Airport

The airport serves as an air gateway for Tokyo. The passenger terminal is filled with various commercial facilities, and visitors can command a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay from the rooftop observation deck, so that every one, even those who are not flying, can enjoy the terminal.

Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Day1

TOKYO

Imperial Palacemore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

Imperial Palace

Built on the site of the former Edo Castle, this oasis in the heart of Chiyoda Ward became the permanent home to the Imperial Family in 1869. Surrounded by garden areas filled with beautifully manicured plants and flowers, moats, and remnants of the old Edo Castle structures, this area is perfect as a respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Imperial Palace : The Imperial Palace was very beautiful. The combination of the moat and the gates and trees made for some lovely photos. The stories of the Imperial Palace about why it is open to the public and the naming of the gates were very interesting. I enjoyed seeing the traditional building style of the imperial palace gates against the modern buildings of Tokyo.

    Lunch at Kakurebo Minami Aoyama : This was a lovely restaurant with a modern and upmarket ambience. I liked the booth in which we sat. The meal was fantastic–particularly tasty were the sashimi and the crab croquette.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Imperial Palace : We had a walking tour around the Imperial Palace, home to the Emperor and Empress of Japan. We saw the impressive iron statue of Kusunoki Masashige, the 14th century warlord. This statue is believed to depict the ideal of samurai loyalty to the Emperor for these days. We also observed the Fujimi Watch Tower, which is the precious existing remains of the Edo Castle main bailey. It is deeply emotive to think people in the 17th century could see Mount Fuji from the top of this about 16-meter-high elegantly shaped tower!

    Lunch at Kakurebo Minami Aoyama : Cosy and comfortable, this restaurant offers a range of Japanese set meals, which are beautifully presented. We ate in a calm and stylish private room. Meal was tasty and well balanced and the service was great.

Train
20 minutes

Saideigama Potterymore

Saideigama Pottery

Saideigama Pottery has pottery classes where you can experience making pottery. You can enjoy pottery in an attractive classroom about a 3-minute walk from the local station. There are English-speaking courses and protective-clothing rental to allow you to feel at ease while enjoying the full experience.

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Saideigama Pottery : The pottery class at Saideigama was a wonderful mix of traditional and stylish and modern, which was more than I imagined. I had never heard of ‘kintsugi’ so far and thought the concept that pottery has a second chance to be reborn was wonderful. I found that the process of making this art requires concentration. The teacher was very clear in his directions and very helpful.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Saideigama Pottery : We tried the ancient art of kintsugi, the traditional Japanese reparation of broken pottery with powdered gold. It was fascinating to hear the concept behind the art; not only to give objects a second chance to avoid waste, but to also find artistic values. The teacher was engaging and patient, and made this experience something beautifully valuable.

Train
20 minutes

Houseboatmore

Houseboat

Houseboats can be boarded from tourist areas such as Asakusa, Odaiba and Shinagawa. The services offered vary depending on the houseboat operator, but it is common for the boarding fee to include an all-you-can-drink menu. After enjoying Japanese dishes such as sushi, tempura and sashimi prepared with seasonal ingredients, enjoy the night view of the city center from the boat deck. Another popular attraction of houseboats is an opportunity to enjoy seasonal scenery from the water, such as cherry blossoms in spring and fireworks in summer. In the summer it is recommended that passengerss wear yukata (informal cotton kimono) and jinbei (informal summer clothes for men).

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Houseboat : The boat was very attractive with red lanterns against the night sky. The atmosphere was very fun and joyful. The food was extremely tasty. I most enjoyed the tempura prawns and the sashimi. The boat trip provided an excellent opportunity to take photos of the Tokyo Tower and Skytree at night.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Houseboat : Our trip down the Sumida River was the perfect way to end the day. The boat was stable and we were able to have a meal comfortably. There was various dishes such as sashimi, crab, tempura, and rice cakes, and bottomless drinks. We enjoyed fabulous views of Tokyo at night, particularly outstanding were Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower seen from the river.

Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Day2

HOKURIKU(ISHIKAWA)

Tokyo Stationmore

Tokyo Station

October 2012 saw completion of the preservation and renovation work on the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building. The red brick facade long loved as the symbol of Tokyo Station has made a comeback, along with the history and grandeur of the original building dating nearly a hundred years back. The occasion also saw the reopening of Tokyo Station Hotel and Tokyo Station Gallery. The former is the only hotel situated within an important cultural property of Japan. The interior is designed in a sophisticated, classical European style to blend with the splendor of the Marunouchi Building exterior.

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Shinkansen (Tokyo→Kanazawa) : I was much surprised that the train was so spacious. There was a lot of space in the aisle as well as legroom, which created more comfort. The seat was very comfortable too and I could move it back to relax. I had a window seat and was able to enjoy Mt Fuji and the beautiful Japanese countryside. In addition, there was a very convenient storage space for large luggage.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Shinkansen (Tokyo→Kanazawa) : From Tokyo, Kanazawa was only 2.5 hours by Shinkansen. Thanks to the on-time departure/arrival, fine services, and clean, spacious seating, the journey was much relaxing and I even saw Mount Fuji as we flew by the countryside!

JR Hokuriku Shinkansen

Kanazawa Stationmore

Kanazawa Station

Chosen as one of the 14 most beautiful stations in the world by Travel+Leisure in 2011. It is characterized by a dome supported by massive pillars modeled after Japanese drums used in traditional performing arts. Furthermore, the inside of the station is decorated with local traditional handicrafts as if it were a museum.

Bus
10 minutes

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Lunch at Buemon : What a beautiful restaurant! I loved the pleasant, traditional wooden building as well as the tranquil garden in the back area. The restaurant’s famous soba noodles were very delicious! I very much enjoyed my hot soba noodles with tempura. The service was very efficient and very quick.

    Gold leaf workshop at Sakuda : It was extremely interesting to learn about the process of making gold leaf. I very much enjoyed anticipating and having a chance making a craft piece. It was great fun to practice the application of gold leaf to a lacquer box. Through this experience, I actually appreciated how much skill is required in the delicate process, and learned its wonderful value.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Lunch at Buemon : Nestled into a narrow street, this calm and cosy restaurant is a renovated machiya which was once a public bath. It still retains its historic charm a lot thanks to stunning wooden beams and the interior fabrication that views a small, traditional garden. I enjoyed specialty soba noodles with tempura, which was very delicious.

    Gold leaf workshop at Sakuda : As an area renowned for gold leaf, Kanazawa felt like a great place to experience this craft. After learning about the timestaking process of making gold leaf and watching artisans extend fine sheets of gold leaf thinly and handle them carefully in the workshop, I decorated a compact mirror with that gold leaf, with great results!

    This district was a delight to explore because it retains much of its historic character. The old, wooden buildings, tasteful willow trees and chayas are a reminder of the important role Kanazawa played centuries ago and give a sense of traditional Japan.

Kenroku-en Gardenmore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

Kenroku-en Garden

Kenroku-en Garden is one of the three most famous gardens of Japan, and it is the most beautiful "samurai garden" that has taken around 180 years to establish. The garden offers enjoyment of different views for every season of the year; cherry blossoms in spring, rabbitear irises in summer, autumn colors in the fall, and "yukizuri (poles and ropes to prop up trees in winter)." Visitors can also tour the neighboring Kanazawa Castle. The town of Kanazawa was developed around the castle, and there are numerous historical and cultural facilities nearby.

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Kenroku-en Garden : Kenroku-en Gardens were definitely one of the highpoints of the trip! As soon as you visit here, you will see why these are known as one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan. In particular, the Karasakinomatsu Pine tree set up with yukizuri were splendid. The trees were extremely photogenic–particularly with the foreground of Kasumigaike Pond.

    Dinner at COIL : COIL is a wonderfully innovative concept which involves guests in the creation of their meals. I thought the soup, which was instantly created by adding boiling water to stuffed monaka (light wafer biscuit), was very good idea. It was very much enjoyable to choose my own sushi fillings and roll my own sushi rolls! I was able to order extra items such as mayonnaise, and was very much satisfied to experience a personalised sushi creation!

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Kenroku-en Garden : Because it was early November, the activity of putting ropes on this garden’s trees to protect their branches from heavy snow, called ‘yukizuri’, had been completed. This annual activity starts from ‘Karasakinomatsu Pine tree’, which exhibits the most handsome-foliage in the garden. The ropes put on trees created more impressive and tasteful landscapes. The reflection of the roped trees off the lake with the autumn colours was very beautiful. I felt afresh how wonderful the Japanese garden is.

    Dinner at COIL : This fashionable restaurant with stylish interior proved the perfect place for us to make our own sushi. It was really entertaining to make original rolled sushi using the bamboo mat, vinegared rice, condiments and toppings that were prepared and the result was very delicious. I was fully satisfied to experience the sushi cooking process.

Bus
10 minutes

Walking
5 minutes by foot

Day3

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Kimono wearing experience : Dressing up in a kimono and visiting the sights of Kanazawa was one of the unforgettable memories of my visit to Ishikawa. I had no idea there were so many clothes to wear under a kimono–or the amount of time that was required. Choosing the elements of the kimono and my hair style and accessories was so much fun. The ladies who worked at the kimono rental store were extremely friendly and helpful. I would highly recommend the kimono wearing experience to other travellers.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Kimono wearing experience : This is hands down the best kimono wearing experience I have had in Japan. The shop has not only a wealth of kimono, obi belts and so on to choose from, it has all the undergarments too, allowing you to experience what it is really like to wear a kimono. You can also have your hair done and rent traditional bags and umbrellas.

    Nomura-ke Samurai Residence : This ancient residence proved a great spot to soak up some of the area’s history and peacefully relax in the beautiful garden. This is the best opportunity to touch ancient Japanese culture. There are some great spots for Instagram-worthy photos, too.

D. T. Suzuki Museummore

D. T. Suzuki Museum

The museum is a place where you can experience the world view of Daisetz Suzuki, a Buddhist philosopher who was born in Kanazawa and promoted Zen culture abroad.
Visitors can learn and think about the thoughts and life of Daisetz through his calligraphic works, photos and writings.
The museum is within walking distance from popular tourist destinations such as Kenroku-en Garden and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.

  • Amanda O'Brien

    D.T. Suzuki Museum : I very much enjoyed the level of thought which appears to have gone into every detail of the museum - from not using captions on the displays to dividing the museum into the three spaces. I liked very much the extremely peaceful water mirror garden and contemplative space. It was so comfortable that I would like to spend all afternoon here.

    Lunch at Hacchoya : Both the exterior and the interior of this restaurant were beautiful. You can enjoy Kanazawa local food here. Because the size of each dish was not so large, I was able to try many local flavourful specialties. My favourite was the beef stew dish from the Kanazawa area.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    D.T. Suzuki Museum : I loved the large, open spaces of this museum. In this space, you are welcome to sit and absorb the impressive architecture and modern design; a great place to learn more about D.T. Suzuki, a Buddhist scholar who introduced the Japanese Zen culture broadly overseas and to glimpse the Zen thought.

    Lunch at Hacchoya : The grilled fish set I opted for was really tasty. There was a large range of set meal options to choose from and the service was good. There was both horigotatsu seating (Japanese-style seating around low tables with a sunken floor) and Western-style table seating. It was a very enriched time to have meal in the calm atmosphere.

Express Train
30minutes

  • Amanda O'Brien

    JR Thunderbird : The JR West Thunderbird was another fantastic train experience in Japan. This very modern train was super comfortable with a high roof. The train left on time and delivered us into Kaga Onsen Station right on time. I think Japanese trains are much superior to those in the rest of the world!

  • Kathryn Wortley

    JR Thunderbird : The short ride was smooth and punctual. As to be expected with Japanese transportation, the carriages were very clean and I enjoyed a comfortable ride. There was a color-coded guide on the platform to inform us of the position of pre-booked seats.

    Yamanaka-za : Playing games with the geisha and learning from them how to play the taiko drum was a special experience. They taught us patiently and kindly so it was easy to pick up what to do. The geisha performances of dance and song were wonderful.

Bus
30 minutes

Kakusenkeimore

Kakusenkei

In the beautiful valley of Kakusenkei settled in a hot spring area, a 1.3 km promenade invites visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery while walking. Spring features cherry blossoms, summer has fresh greenery and autumn has radiant foliage. The scene that unfolds before you is a superb view. Visitors can also enjoy quaint strolls along bridges, such as the all-cypress Koorogi bridge and the S-shape modern Ayatori bridge.

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Walking tour of Kakusenkei Gorge : Due to bad weather we were only able to explore the Gorge in the late afternoon light. Even under such situation, I was able to find that this is a very beautiful place–particularly with the autumn leaves. Koorogi bridge is extremely picturesque place.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Walking tour of Kakusenkei Gorge : We took this tour in the evening due to expected rain the following day so views were limited, but I enjoyed seeing some autumn leaves, hearing the rushing water of the river and seeing the bridge lit up pink, which you can see only at night time.

Taxi
20 minutes

Koorogiro

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Dinner at accommodation : Wow! I have never seen such colourful food before and it was so beautifully presented in the front of me! The seafood courses were awesome– particularly the crab. It was a lovely experience to be part of the cooking procedures by putting live foodstuff that came out raw on the burner. The service was very fast and courteous.

    I had never before stayed in a Japanese ryokan and I was very much looking forward to this part of the visit. It was much better than I imagined! The beautifully decorated room I stayed in was wonderful. I liked much the outdoor bath and enjoyed it twice, in the evening and in the morning! The ryokan was very peaceful and so beautifully yet simply designed.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Dinner at accommodation : We were treated to a delicious Japanese-style set meal comprising around ten courses. Dishes were elegantly prepared and very delicious. It was a precious and luxury experience to be served in our room at a leisurely pace while enjoying views of the autumnal leaves from the window.

    Accommodation - Koorogiro : This ryokan (inn) has only seven rooms, which gave it a cosy, relaxed atmosphere. The Western-style beds were comfortable, the tea cups never ran dry and the view of autumn leaves and the river from the room was stunning. The outdoor onsen (rotenburo) was also a treat.

Day4

Koorogiro

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Lunch at Enuma Station : I loved this restaurant! Its décor was a mix of a small French tavern done in a stylish Japanese manner. The food was as very beautiful as it was tasty. The service was excellent and I thought that the menu of the day from which we ordered represented excellent value.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Lunch at Enuma Station: The food at Enuma Station was modern and polished; the local ingredients were used and seasonal taste was excellent. Just like food, its interior is polished and providing calm atmosphere. The balance of Japanese and Western food was great and each of the three courses was delicious.

Natadera Templemore

Natadera Temple

A temple of Shingon Buddhism founded in 717.
The grounds are likely the result of an underwater volcanic eruption, and there are several important cultural properties in addition to strange rock formations that have been eroded by wind and waves for many years, providing a wonderful view.
Visitors can enjoy surrounding scenery each season, but the temple is especially famous as a autumnal spot, and when fall arrives the jagged rock walls are colored with red and yellow foliage to create stunning scenery.

  • Amanda O'Brien

    Nadatera Temple : I was blown away by this beautiful temple and its amazing garden! I felt so lucky to visit such a lovely place at the time when you can enjoy the colourful autumn leaves very much. I was able to take some more stunning photos from the view point. We had an excellent time!

    Sake tasting at Noguchi Naohiko Sake Institute : I had almost no experience with sake. However, I learnt so much at Noguchi Naohiko Sake institute about the different types of sake available and the different serving temperatures. I very much enjoyed the pairing of sakes with both savoury and sweet foods. It was a huge honour to meet the acclaimed sake master Mr Noguchi personally.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    Nadatera Temple : In this expansive complex, there are many sightseeing points such as various temple buildings as well as caves in which Senju Kannon is enshrined, and gardens. Beautiful nature and historic buildings are well harmonised there. The site is all surrounded by stunning autumn foliage, and the scenery was very beautiful blended with coloured leaves.

    Sake tasting at Noguchi Naohiko Sake Institute : In bright surroundings with views of rice fields, a wide range of sake to try and an expert to advise on how to best enjoy each sake, this felt like a luxury experience. I particularly enjoyed pairing the Japanese sweets (wagashi) with sake, which I felt was an innovative combination.

Bus
60 minutes

Bus
12 minutes

Komatsu Airport

JAL Show details

  • Amanda O'Brien

    JAL domestic flight : This was a very comfortable plane with nice leather seats! The plane left and arrived on time. I found the staff to be very friendly. I appreciated the night lighting on the plane which made it easy to nap presently! If you are a foreigner who lives overseas, you can use JAL Explore Pass (JEP), which offers JAL domestic discount airfare cheaper than usual. When a foreigner uses a domestic flight in Japan, these fares must be checked!

  • Kathryn Wortley

    JAL domestic flight : The flight to Tokyo was great. We departed on time, enjoyed omotenashi hospitality and received a complimentary soft drink. The flight was very comfortable.

Haneda Airport

  • Amanda O'Brien

    I loved the mix of the traditional and the modern in Tokyo. It was wonderful to see the Imperial Palace–a tradition which is still very much alive today–as well as learning about and practicing the still current craft of kintsugi. The food was absolutely outstanding and just what I was hoping for on my visit to Tokyo! Other than that, this tour was a wonderful mix of activities which allowed me to immerse myself in both traditional and modern Japan. I was able to appreciate the most beautiful arts and crafts of Japan, such as Katuni ware, kintsugi, and gold leaf as well as being able to learn these techniques for myself. I very much enjoyed seeing how Japanese architecture seeks to connect the individual to the building, its themes and nature. This was clearly evident in the DT Suzuki museum as well as the Samurai house, the Gyokusenan tea house and Koorogiro Ryokan. It was also evident in the traditional Nadatera Temple, the Kenrokuen Gardens and the Imperial Palace. The range of various food and drinks we took also allowed us to experience both old and new Japan - from classic soba noodles at Buemon to French cuisine at Enuma Station to the matching of food and sake at Noguchi. A truly fascinating and beautiful trip, which I highly recommend.

  • Kathryn Wortley

    In Tokyo we experienced views of the beautiful Imperial Palace by day and the city’s iconic landmarks and skyline by night. Meanwhile, in Ishikawa, we enjoyed great views of autumn leaves, fine food and relaxing onsen hot springs. Experiences in Tokyo and Ishikawa this time were much fun and interesting. This trip combined modern and traditional Japan in a well-balanced manner, and you can see various aspects of Japan. It was a short period, but we were able to see highlights of both cities.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS

A fantastic opportunity to learn about how different Japanese arts and crafts originated and are being utilised today in Japan’s biggest city, Tokyo, as well as in beautiful Ishikawa Prefecture.

Amanda O'Brien
Travel Blogger
Reside in United Kingdom London
  • Hobby

    Luxury Travel

  • Number of visits to Japan

    1 trip 30 years ago

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS

This was an active tour in which traditional and modern Japanese experiences were well combined in both Tokyo and Ishikawa Prefecture. We saw iconic sights such as the Imperial Palace, Rainbow Bridge and Kenrokuen Garden, which is ranked one of Japan’s top gardens. It was great to experience wearing a kimono and creating a craft with gold leaf, and I was able to obtain beautiful memories of the trip! We could enjoy many aspects of Japan by travelling only a short distance from Tokyo.

Kathryn Wortley
Journalist and content creator
Reside in Tokyo
Home country: United Kingdom London
  • Hobby

    Travel, the outdoors, music, books

  • Length of stay in Tokyo

    11 years

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