The elegant former headquarters of Kanazawa’s mighty Maeda clan exudes a sense of historical greatness. For hundreds of years, the wealthy Maeda clan occupied the castle and used it as their headquarters. Today, visitors can explore the castle and feel a connection to the rich history of this powerful family.
One of the highlights of the castle is its moat, pond, and beautiful Japanese garden. These features add to the overall grandeur and beauty of the castle grounds. Additionally, a visit to Omicho Market, which is a short walk from the castle, is highly recommended. This bustling market offers a glimpse into the local culture and cuisine of Kanazawa.
To reach the castle, visitors can take a 20-minute bus ride or a 10-minute taxi ride from Kanazawa Station. The most popular entrance to the castle is through the Ishikawamon Gate, which is conveniently located near the entrance of Kenrokuen Garden. The Kanazawa Loop Bus also stops in front of the gate, making it easily accessible for tourists.
Kanazawa Castle is located adjacent to the famous Kenrokuen Garden, which was once the castle’s private outer garden. This proximity allows visitors to explore both attractions in one visit, immersing themselves in the historical and natural beauty of the area. The castle is also known for having the biggest variety of stone walls of any castle in japan, adding to its architectural significance.
The history of Kanazawa Castle dates back to 1583 when construction began under the Maeda family. The castle remained their residence for fourteen generations until 1869. Over the centuries, the castle was destroyed by fire multiple times due to natural disasters. Today, only a few structures remain, including the Ishikawamon Gate and Sanjikken Nagaya Warehouse.
In recent years, a major restoration project has been underway to recreate the original structures using traditional construction techniques. The Edo period allowed architects to prioritize aesthetics, resulting in the beautiful roof gables and intricate wooden decorations. Visitors can enter three restored large-scale wooden buildings for a small fee, which are reconstructions of structures that existed 125 years ago. These include the Hishiyagura Turret, Gojukken Najaya Warehouse, and Hashizumemon Tsuzuki Turret. Inside these buildings, there are displays and models showcasing the various architectural techniques used in the restoration.
From the top floors of the turrets, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the castle grounds, moat, and garden. This vantage point provides a glimpse into the past, imagining what it was like to defend the castle from enemy attackers. The solid and meticulous design of the castle was crucial for its protection and strategic advantage.
Aside from the buildings, the castle is also known for its variety of stone walls. These walls were constructed using different techniques, resulting in a mosaic-like appearance in some areas. The castle park has been referred to as a stone wall museum due to the different styles and eras represented.
Visiting Kanazawa Castle offers a unique opportunity to delve into the rich history of the Maeda clan and experience the architectural beauty of a partially-restored castle. The combination of the castle’s historical significance, its proximity to Kenrokuen Garden, and the ongoing restoration project make it a must-visit destination in Kanazawa.
In conclusion, Kanazawa Castle stands as a testament to the historical greatness of the Maeda clan. Its elegant architecture, beautiful gardens, and rich history make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and architecture lovers alike. The ongoing restoration project ensures that future generations can continue to appreciate and learn from this important cultural landmark.
Address And Maps Location:
1-1-1 Marunouchi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken