For this year’s version of the winter retreat, SSAJ members visited Kanazawa （金沢市）, the capital city of Ishikawa （石川県）, one of the snowy prefectures of the Hokuriku （北陸） region. Unlucky for us we were only treated to a little snow (and some rain instead), but nonetheless had a great time enjoying every single portion of Kanazawa we have visited.
We started Day 1 with Kenroku-en （兼六園）, one of the three most famous gardens in Japan (the other two being Koraku-en of Okayama, and Kairaku-en of Ibaraki). After a short stroll, and a stroll across the road (peppered with many stops to try the local snacks available… yum yum!), we reached Kanazawa Castle (金沢城）and enjoyed the its magnificence and beauty. Incidentally, Kenroku-en was once the castle’s private garden.
Come nightfall, we paid a visit to the local shrine Oyama Jinja （尾山神社）, and performed the usual rites, the Japanese way.Day 2 started with the ninja temple, Myōryū-ji（妙立寺）, and we were treated to its amazing and neat architecture. Myōryū-ji is a 2-storey building from the outside (due to restrictions that it cannot be built higher than the Kanazawa Castle), but it is actually a 4-story building with 7 different layers internally. 23 rooms, 29 staircases and a 25m deep well out of nowhere, we had a good time observing all the traps and sorceries it had. Unfortunately, we were unable to take any photos in there, so there is no other way to experience the mystery of the temple besides paying a visit yourself!
Lunchtime beckoned. Ishikawa prefecture, being close to the Sea of Japan, is famous for its seafood, and we got to lavish our taste buds with one of the best sashimis and sushis ever from a local sushi restaurant in a district renowned for the remnants of Samurai houses (長町武家屋敷). We ended the trip with some shopping along Higashi Tea Sreet (ひがし茶屋街）, which was a quaint and picturesque street filled with the pottery, tea, gold leaf, and the smells of traditional artistry.
We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Good food, a great place, and jolly friends from SSAJ, once again it was nice to gather with fellow Singaporeans again. Special thanks to Eustacia for coming down all the way from Hakata (and for being so patient with the massive jam thanks to the fire outbreak at Tokyo station), Nicholas for doing extensive research for the trip (and a recce!), Liang Cheng and Eustacia for the high quality photos. Our next event is the Chinese New Year Lunch. If you are available on the 26th, don’t hesitate to sign up, and makan together once again la! =)
Photo credits: Liang Cheng & Eustacia