It’s quite the road trip to drive from Kyoto to Kanazawa. It takes just under 4 hours. You first go right next pass the largest lake in Japan, the Biwa lake琵琶湖，and after a bit of fun mountain bends, you reach right next to the East Sea, which takes you all the way up north, through Kaga, to the beautiful seaside town of Kanazawa:金沢.
Stylish biker watching when you stop for water and snack along the way. If you start the drive after a late breakfast, and take a couple of biker watching breaks on the way, you’ll reach Kanazawa likely by dusk.
Take a good night’s rest, likely after going for a great onsen session(since Kanazawa has the origin of the famous “beauty onsen” from natural volcanic water source), then make sure to get up early to get a peek at all the actions at the Omicho fish market.
The fishermen start early before the day even begins. Benefiting from its location right next to the East Sea, Kanazawa has all the freshest, seasonal seafoods delivered straight from the fisher boats.
You can get oysters, sea urchins, raw crab/shrimps straight off the stalls. The fishermen will clean them for you, and you can eat right by the side of the shop. Or, pop into any restaurant in the market, and you’ll get to sample a range of the freshest sushis you’ve ever had, all to your heart’s content. Seafood donburi is a popular choice too. You get an explosion of fresh seasonal seafood(especially crab meat in the winter season) on a bowl of rice. It is… pure..bliss!
With a happy tummy full of the freshest sashimi, a bit of a walk along the beautiful coast seems like a good idea.
Kanazawa is considered north of Japan, and being a seaside town, it is quite a bit colder than Kyoto, and much more than Tokyo for sure. A layer of heat tech thermos, a cashmere jumper, a thick woolen cardigan plus a long faux fur coat, just about kept me warm by the sea.
Shop Faux Fur/Teddy Bear Coverups
There isn’t an awful lot going on by the shore to be honest. There’s no cocktail bars or seaside resorts here. But because of that, there’s not many people either. You get a peaceful, somewhat wild shore to take a nice walk along. And if you happen to be a Japanese film lover, you’ll find the views of the sea ridiculously familiar. It’s a little unreal. (You’ll get what I mean if you watch Japanese films)
Any seafood lover needs to visit Kanazawa. And when it comes to accommodation, there are all the major international hotel names, as well as a dozen very prestigious, traditional ryokans in Kanazawa. But a great local hotel, reasonably priced, equipped with the best onsen+breakfast, beautiful period features in the lobby, and the most friendly staffs, is the Hakuchoro Hotel Sanraku.
I chose it initially for just the onsen. While the spa itself didn’t disappoint at all, everything else really exceeded my expectation. The concierge is very helpful at making reservations for restaurants and activities, as you understand how difficult it can be in Japan. It is a place I’d go back to stay 100% if visiting Kanazawa again. *NOT AN AD