Find your inner zen in Kanazawa
Kanazawa where East meets West
Kanazawa is one of these romantic treasures that have survived time. If you visit the Higashi Chaya district, you will find old tea houses and dream of geishas. Kenrokuen, a Unesco world heritage place, looks great and precisely the typical Japanese garden that you fancy. It is beautiful and it feels like you are back to the future, that you've jump into some stargate to find yourself living in the past.
But there is another Kanazawa that deserves all your attention the contemporary Kanazawa. The 21st century Museum of Contemporary Art (www.kanazawa21.jp) is located next to the castle and the Kenrokuen in a round shape building of glass and cement. For the moment the temporary exhibition is about architecture in Tohoku but there is a small room devoted to architecture for dogs. It's fun and informative.
There are some objets in the garden and huge works inside. The upside down pool creates strange impressions while Kappoor's room will invite you to meditation and introspection.
The D.T. Suzuki Museum is the must of the city.
Suzuki-sensei is a philosopher and zen buddhist of the 20th century.
The museum is brand new and created by architect Yoshio Taniguchi. It was inaugurated in 2011. If you have ever been to Ryuanji in Kyoto, hopefully in a quiet day, you will find at Suzuki's museum the same atmosphere. Instead of a dry garden, you have a water garden where the moon is diving without leaving any trace of its passage.
The museum is divided into three spaces: history of Suzuki and his philosophy, a study and a meditation place. But to tell the truth, the whole place that Taniguchi has conceived according to Japanese architecture principle but with modern materials: steel, cement, woods, blue stones and water, will act like a magician on your stress: it will disappear.
In Nagamachi district, that used to be the samurai city, you also find a lot of select boutiques with many temptations (better to go to the Suzuki museum before as it reminds you not to attach yourself to mondaine stuffs) and also very nice coffee shops to enjoy a small rest.
Dumbo café is managed by a young and welcoming couple. The decoration of the shop is modern and warm, all in woods but I preferred their toilets so you find a picture here...
Their coffee is wonderful. Jazz music invites you to stay a little bit longer and enjoy the scones. All West here!
Then you switch to the East at the Kanazawa's fish market of Oomi (omishijo). You will find here lots of fish you have never seen before. Many restaurants are open and have fresh fish ready for you. My favorite is Omi-shokudo: cantine of Omi.
You can have there fish a la mode grilled, sashimi, macerated in sweet soysauce, in tempura, ... and also all kind of typical dish like "fu" a gluten based thing that monks used to eat instead of meat and that is quite common here.
Kanazawa, a place where East meets West and they both like it!