Even though Kanazawa is on the shore, the fact that it’s squeezed between the sea and the Japanese alps make snowing in winter something not surprising.
While I was on my stay it snowed quite heavily for few days, but during the day, if it’s sunny the snow melts really fast and becomes a kind of snow mud that is not that nice. There is few things to do in Kanazawa in winter. The first is the visit of the Kenrokuen. Than there is plenty dishes you have to try if you go to Kanazawa in winter.
What to eat in Kanazawa in winter
- Jibuni (じぶ煮), which is a thick duck (or chicken) stew with an umami taste. It’s a specialty of Kanazawa.
- Sea food : Nodoguro (blackthroat seaperc) and Kanburi (winter Japanese yellowtail) sushi, the season to eat them is fall and winter, they are known to be quite fatty and umami taste.
Amaebi, Krab, Oysters… the proximity of the city with the sea made it one of the best places in Japan to eat seafood. The Omicho market (近江町市場) is the largest fresh food market in Japan and is the best spot to eat seafood, sushi, croquettes…
If you want to know more about the Omicho market check out this video : Omicho Market – Cozy Japan
- Kanazawa Oden, おでん, Oden is a one-pot dish with a dashi stock and than ingredients that you choose (potato, eggs, fish, meat…). You can basically find Oden all around Japan but in Kanazawa it is a bit particular in winter because you’ll get ingredients you will not get anywhere else (Crab, Kanimen…)
- Toriyasai Miso Nabe, it’s a one-pot miso based soup with a bunch of ingredients like mushrooms, noodles, meat, fish, tofu… perfect to warm-up the body in winter.
- Kanazawa Curry, a cutlet served on rice with a thick and spicy curry sauce.
The Kenrokuen is the main garden in Kanazawa. It’s considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan and is therefore one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. It is known in winter for the Yukitsuri, which are ropes attached to the trees to protect them from the snow. There is more than 8000 trees, few fountains, ponds, stone bridges, stone lanterns, a tea house and a rest house.
It’s was developed from the 1620s to the 1840s by the Maeda clan and is now one of the main sightseeing spot of Kanazawa.
Opening hours : Every day in the year, 7 a.m to 6 p.m from march to October, 8 a.m to 5 p.m from October to February
In winter if you come at 6 a.m the garden is open for free but you have to leave it before the opening hours.
My experience of the snow
The 25th of january, I woke up at 5.30 to enjoy the Kenrokuen garden at night. It was heavily snowing and the garden was totally empty. Just the staff of the garden passed at some point to remove the snow from the path. It was the perfect moment to take pictures on my own and enjoy the calm of the garden which is usually quite touristic. I just regret that I hadn’t any tripod for my camera.
My way back from the garden through the city that was waking up.
The sun came back few days later and the snow started to melt really fast