02 November 2015
This past week, IES Abroad Tokyo sponsored a trip to Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. We traveled by Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Kanazawa Station and started our sightseeing and relaxation voyage.
Kanazawa was absolutely beautiful. It was nothing I would have ever expected Japan to be or look like. The landscapes of the countryside reminded me of camping trips back home. Once we arrived in Kanazawa, our first order of business was a visit to Higashi Chaya Machi district. We got a chance to walk around this older, very unique-looking tourist spot where we first encountered gold ice cream (literally ice cream with gold sheets or specks on them).
Higashi Chaya Machi district
We then visited the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. This simplistic yet beautifully complex museum was very cool to walk through and experience modern art from another side of the world.
The Swimming Pool exhibit by Leandro Erlich
After the activities for the day were complete, we went to our ryokan, Nakayasu, a welcoming and cozy Japanese style hotel.
Our day began at 7:00AM with a large and delicious breakfast at the ryokan. At 8:50AM we boarded the bus and went to visit Kenroku En Garden.
Kenroku En Garden
The net stop was a Ninja Temple. Myoryuji Temple (or Ninjadera Temple) is not actually connected to ninja existence what so ever, as was highlighted to us quite a few times. The temple was very intricate! It had all these hidden staircases and rooms and even a hidden floor (or two). I could imagine what samurais had to master in order to flee, run through, hide, and fight or attack swiftly in this building.
We then went to Omi Cho Market for lunch and were set free to find and choose anything to eat. I ate buckwheat soba and even made friends with the chefs.
Soba restaurant in Omi Cho Market
After Omi Cho was the Imai Gold Leaf Studio. This was probably my favorite part of the trip! We actually got to make gold leafed plates. We even got to taste very thin sheets of gold (which was… interesting).
My gold leaf plate : バットマン (Batman)
After checking out of the hotel, we traveled about 2 hours to Shirakawa-go Village. This cute little town was a gold spot for tourists, which was expected because it was so beautiful. Here we got to make mochi and spend some time enjoying the sights.
よいしょ (yoisho) is chanted while pounding mochi for better taste
For the last night we stayed at another ryokan called Hida Takayama and all enjoyed the onsen (public bath) before we went to sleep for the night.
After breakfast we walked to Zenoji Temple for a 30-minute meditation session. It was nice to have some time to simply sit and think (about nothing at all). After checking out at the hotel we went to Ishii Miso in Matsumoto, a famous miso brewery that is 147 years old. This brewery was especially unique because it used an old and traditional Japanese technique to brew the miso beans. They keep them in large barrels weighing about 4 tons each for up to 3 years. For lunch, we ate miso that was brewed for 10 years! In the words of another IES Abroad student, Jasmine C., “that place was magical”! Our last sight right before our train-ride back to Tokyo was Matsumoto Castle.
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<p>Hey there! I am Onyekachi Nwabueze and I am a Nigerian born and raised in San Francisco, California. I am a student at Occidental College studying Cognitive Science, Education, and Linguistics. I love love LOVE to dance, sing, learn, try new things, and paint my nails. My current career paths include varsity athlete, big sister, wanna-be professional dancer, and villainous chiller (one who chills like a villain).</p>