17 May 2024

2023 Japan Adventure - Part 12: Exploring Kanazawa

Welcome to the next installment of my Japan Adventure series! Last time, I shared our experience on the ship-sponsored shore excursion. This time, I'll share our experience exploring a Japanese city on our own for the first time! We only had a few hours before all-aboard, but we visited two great locations and once we were back home on the Silver Muse, we enjoyed an epic Kanazawa farewell before settling into some shipboard activities to round out the night as we sailed to the next port 🛳️

Tuesday 21 March 2023 - Exploring Kanazawa

We had dinner at Fumuroya Café (カフェ加賀麩不室屋) which is a chain of cafés and shops that specialize in traditional fu (麩) dishes and products. There was a thirty minute wait but it was worth it!

It's been so long now, I don't remember exactly what I ordered, but from the photo it's clearly curry rice with fu, miso soup with fu, and a veggie side salad 😆 All, to the best of my knowledge, vegan!

Our next stop was just a short walk away...

...Pokémon Center Kanazawa! It was my first time at a real life Pokémon Center 🤩

My husband and I, on the shuttle home, joyful after a successful unguided outing!

The dreamy view of our ship as we approached the port.

Our Pokémon Center haul! Plushies--including regional exclusives--postcards, a hand towel, a water bottle, and promo card packs ✨

We were treated to a farewell yosakoi performance just before departure 🤩

I'd never seen yosakoi before; there were dancers and flag wavers, sometimes at the same time, all timed to music. They performed several different routines for an epic farewell!

The game room was an excellent place to wind down with some correspondence and crosswords 🖋️

As always, I loved coming home to the ship's newspaper--which included information about our next port, the weather forecast, and upcoming shipboard activities--and some chocolates!

That's all for our adventures in Kanazawa. Next stop, Niigata, for some of our most epic moments yet! Thank you for reading to the end. I hope you'll look forward to the next installment. Until then, please stay happy, healthy, and safe ❤️

02 May 2024

2023 Japan Adventure - Part 11: Kanazawa Shore Excursion

Hello, everyone! It's been so long since my last entry in this series but I never forgot about chronicling my 2023 Japan adventure 🎌 I'm going to continue sharing my travels with you; I've dedicated my writing time for the next six weeks to this endeavor! I hope you'll enjoy reading until the end of the journey.

Click here to read the previous entry in this series.

So, on the eighth day of our adventure (I think? It's hard to figure with crossing the dateline and being awake when we'd normally sleep and such 🤔) we visited Kanazawa, and with our newfound courage, we not only participated in the ship-sponsored shore excursion, but did some exploring on our own! Today's post will focus on the excursion, which included a samurai house, geisha district, and modern art museum.

Tuesday 21 March 2023 - Kanazawa Shore Excursion

The beautiful sunrise as our ship neared the shores of Kanazawa.

The cruise terminal in Kanazawa.

They actually had a sign with our ship's name on and everything!
A little touch like that made me feel especially welcome 🥰

The first place on our guided tour was the Nomura Samurai residence.

This awesome suit of armor was just inside the house, as if to greet you!

A big feature of the house was its small but splendid garden.

Always lovely to spot a koi 🐟

Extra exciting for me was a collaboration with the new anime adaptation of My Happy Marriage!

This standee features the character Tatsuishi Kouji, the main character's childhood friend ❤️

After the samurai neighborhood, we visited Higashi Chaya, an old geisha district, and did some shopping! This is one of the gold leaf shops we visited: HAKUZA hikari-gura. There were many such shops because Kanazawa is famous for its gold leaf. The "kana" part of Kanazawa even means "gold"!

We bought some tasty treats and souvenirs for people back home at this matcha shop, Sawawa.

I was excited to come across this Shinto shrine, Higashiyama Sugawara Shrine, as it was the first one I got to visit during this trip! I offered my prayers to the resident god (kamisama) and received a good fortune in return 😊

The top of the fortune has a waka poem, followed by a general fortune, and your luck type (I believe mine is the lowest possible good, which is literally not bad!). The final sections address specific areas, such as desires, lost items, studies, illness, etc. The back also has a longer message of wisdom from the kamisama.

Our next stop on the guided tour was the Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Art. As you might imagine, this sculpture caught everyone's attention as the tour bus got parked!

This clever piece changes every moment, as the large square hole makes the entire room a frame for the sky! It's titled Blue Planet Sky, designed by James Turrell. There's seating all around the room, so you can sit and really enjoy the dreamy effect.

This is my favorite piece from the museum, The Man who Measures the Clouds, by Jan Fabre.

So nice to get to see this whimsical sculpture on a cloudy day!

It seemed our cruise was perfectly timed to enjoy the sakura in most of the places we visited!
This is me and my husband, Sean, posing with one of the museum's trees.

I wanted to enter this installation, but, as you can see, it was very popular, especially with energetic kids! It's called Colour Activity House and was made by Olafur ELIASSON.

This is another piece I would have liked to try, but it's specifically designed for kids, so I left it to them 😉 It's titled Wrapping and was made by Fernando Romero.

One thing I DID do was get a selfie in this awesome sculpture! It took some digging but I discovered it is a commemorative piece made for the museum's 10th anniversary in 2016. It's called Spherical Pavilion “MARU” and was designed by Sejima Kazuyo and Nishizawa Ryue.

After this, we returned to our ship and prepared to explore the city on our own. I must say, I expected to share our Kanazawa adventures in a single post, but the research necessary to write knowledgeably about our excursion was a huge undertaking! I hope you'll check out some of these places if you get the chance to visit Kanazawa yourself 😊 I'll be back soon with the next entry in this series. Until then, please stay happy, healthy, and safe!