Kanazawa Walking Tour: Experience Gold Leaf, Japanese Sweets and Ninja Stars
All Year Round
08:30 - 17:00
Kanazawa Walking Tour: Experience Gold Leaf, Japanese Sweets and Ninja Stars
The city of Kanazawa, with its beautiful gardens, historic districts and delicious local foods, is more than just the sights within it. Why not get hands-on experience with Japanese and local cultural activities while exploring some of the lesser visited areas. The area is famous for its traditional crafts such as gold leaf, Japanese sweets, pottery, kimono-making, etc. On this tour you can try out using gold leaf, making Japanese sweets and also getting a chance at throwing two different types of ninja stars. If you are someone who wants to dive deeper into the culture of the city while walking around the city, this is the tour for you. Led by one of our local English-speaking tour guides, you will do three different workshops and see some of the sights that don’t normally make it onto the main Kanazawa tours. Experience the other side of this wonderful, beautiful and traditional city.
- Make a beautiful gold leaf plate that you can take home and display or use
- See a different side of Higashi-chaya District with a route that goes around through the Teramachi(Temple District)
- Make a variety of delicious Japanese mochi sweets that you can eat at your own pleasure
- Tour the backway to the Nishi-chaya District and slowly see Ishiura shrine, the DT Suzuki Museum and other outdoor art and attractions
- Learn more about ninjas and try throwing two different types of throwing stars at the Ninja Museum
*For those looking to join the tour from Tokyo, please see the FAQ Section below
This tour will start at Kanazawa Station at 8:30 A.M., where your guide will meet you in front of the Information Center near the Shinkansen Ticket Gates. You will have the opportunity to put your belongings in a coin locker at the station as well if you feel the need.
Starting from Kanazawa Station at, you will first head towards Omicho Market. Enjoy the contrast between the modern high-rises with the older buildings as we walk towards the market. This area is the main fish market for the center of the city and has lots of stores to pursue. Feel free to grab a quick bite to eat as we walk through the market. After passing through, we will soon arrive at our first activity, the gold leaf experience
This area is famous for its production of gold leaf which is gold hammered to within 1/10,000th of a millimeter and is a UNESCO Culturally Intangible Property. At this first experience, you can choose the shape of plate you wish to make and are guided by the experienced workers at the shop. When you’re finished you can even take it home as a souvenir!
After packing up your gold leaf plate, we will walk the back way through Kazuemachi, a geisha district, and cross an old Edo style bridge. From there we will walk some back streets to Teramachi, an area that used to be the center of religious activity in the city. Finally, we will arrive at Higashichayamachi, the famous tea house and geisha district. Here there is time for you to shop and eat lunch, with various recommendations from your guide.
The next activity for the day is Japanese Sweet Making. Near the famous Kenrokuen Garden, this activity will have you make Japanese sweets that can be eaten alone or with matcha. You will make three different types of sweets that change depending on the season. This activity is led by a Japanese sweet chef where you can feel the electric atmosphere of being able to make some of the famous designs that are found in most of the common tea ceremonies.
As we head towards the next activity, we will be stopping at a few famous, but not usually visited sites by foreign travelers. Squeezed in between Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa Castle and the 21st Century Museum is Ishiura Shrine. This small shrine complex has a little bit of everything. There is a torii tunnel, beautiful pond and other interesting natural and religious things to see.
Continuing along Honda-dori, we will then stop outside at the D.T. Suzuki Museum. Even without entering the museum you can enjoy a stunning and tranquil modernist Zen pool. D.T. Suzuki was a writer who is credited with bringing Japanese Zen Buddhism to the world and you can definitely feel inner peace looking out at the pool. Directly next to the pool is Shofukaku, an Edo-period style Japanese garden that had been privately maintained for decades.
After further walking down this street and crossing the clear water of the Daigawa River, we will enter another Teramachi. Here we will see some of the old temples and even the famous “Ninja Temple”. Passing through some of the narrow streets evokes a time lost to the modernization across the bridge.
Not so far from this area is the final activity of the tour, the Ninja Museum, in the Nishi-chaya District. This area was and is home to some of the geisha in the city and preserve the feel of the old times on this street. The Ninja Museum, a small and humble building on this street, is near the main road and entrance of this district. In here you can learn about and see different weapons and attire that ninjas would wear. Downstairs from the museum is the ninja star throwing experience. You can try the classic ninja star(kuruma-shuriken) or the stick style (bo-shuriken) by throwing them at a target. The technique can be a bit difficult but after a few tries you will feel like a real ninja.
The last part of the tour includes walking across the river to Katamachi, the nighttime and youth hub of the city. We will walk around some of the older areas of the city that combine artwork with the vibes of the 1970’s. After exploring the area a bit and learning about the possible food and shopping options, feel free to stay and have dinner or go back to the station by bus with the tour guide.
|Start your tour at Kanazawa Station, where your guide will greet you begin the tour.
The meeting point will be outside the Shinkansen ticket gate, in front of the information center sign.
|Walk around the Omicho Market, grab breakfast or a try some sea food or just enjoy the atmosphere of a busy morning market.
|Arrive at the Gold Leaf Experience. Prepare to spend an hour meticulously placing gold on your plate. Don't worry about mistakes, the professional assistants can fix just about anything!
|Go the back way to Higashi Chayamachi, encountering an old style bridge and a former temple district in the hills.
|Have lunch in Higashi Chayamachi. Your guide will have a few recommendations but feel free to look around too.
|Start the Japanese Sweets Making Experience. Enjoy making the sweets you have been eating with matcha during your stay in Japan. There are a few different kinds so you can try a variety of tastes and textures.
|Walk through many different sites on your way to the final area. This includes stops at Ishiura Shrine, outdoor art, D.T. Suzuki Museum and Shofukaku before entering the Temple District on the west side of the city.
|Arrive in the Nishi Chayamachi area. The other main geisha area of the city, enjoy the atmosphere before heading into the Ninja Weapons Museum. Here you can learn more about ninjas and try the throwing star experience.
|Walk around Katamachi and Shintenchi, 1970's and 80's era area of the city. There are lots of city art and has an interesting atmosphere that is usually only found in large cities like Osaka.
|Stay in Katamachi and have dinner or go back to Kanazawa Station by bus. Either way, at Katamachi the tour officially ends and we will say our goodbyes!
TOUR MEETUP POINT
1 / KANAZAWA STATION @ 8:30 A.M.
The meetup point is outside of the Shinkansen ticket gates, in front of the information center. If you are heading out from the gates, look forward and to the right and you will see a large ‘?’ inside of a circle, which is the sign under which we will be meeting. For those coming from outside the station, you will find this sign immediately inside of the East Entrance of Kanazawa Station. You may wait nearby there until the tour begins at 8:30 A.M. Be sure to look for the guide wearing a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour tag.
- English speaking guide
- Gold Leaf Experience
- Japanese Sweets Making Experience
- Ninja Museum Entry Free and Shuriken Experience
- This tour involves several hours of walking in the outdoors. We recommend that you wear shoes and clothes which are easy to walk in. Please check the weather forecast before you head to the meetup point and prepare an umbrella or rain coat if necessary.
- In winter the temperatures will be below 10℃ at the high , and in the morning and evening may be close to or below 0℃. Please wear warm clothing and footwear appropriate for snowy and cold conditions. There may also be snow and ice on the road/sidewalk, and so you should take care to not slip by preparing the correct shoes for such conditions.
- There will be some free time along the way for guests to enjoy the locations at their own pace. However, please make sure that you are at the respective meetup points at the time stated by your guide. If you get lost or need assistance, feel free to call the number which is listed on your tour pass, and our staff will assist you immediately.
- Q. I’d like to join this tour from Tokyo/Nagano. Is that possible?
- Yes, it is possible to do so!
For those coming from Tokyo, please ride the Shinkansen departing Tokyo Station at 6:16 A.M., to arrive in Kanazawa at 8:43.
For those leaving from Nagano, you can catch the same Shinkansen from Nagano Station at 7:38 A.M.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information.
- Can I choose to end the tour at Katamachi?
- Yes, you may end the tour at Katamachi.
There are many options for dinner here, and you can try fresh fish from the Sea of Japan. There are also plenty of tenpura and oden shops throughout the area. For those who do not have dinner plans, it may be a good idea to separate from the tour here in order to enjoy often overlooked local specialties.
- What should I wear/bring?
- Please wear clothing appropriate to the season in which you are taking the tour, and check the weather forecast ahead of time. Guests may wish to bring rain coats or umbrellas on rainy days, or sunscreen to avoid sunburn during the summer months. In the winter months, the air temperatures will be cold (10 to -5 ℃ on average), and so gloves, winter boots, warm hats, and hand warmers are recommended. Otherwise, please feel free to bring any other items, such as water or a snack, which you would normally carry when walking in the outdoors.
- Can I add accommodation to my tour booking?
- Yes. We can help book accommodation for guests who will be spending the night in Kanazawa, or nearby areas. Please send us an inquiry if you would like to request help.
- Is this tour wheelchair accessible/appropriate for guests with limited mobility?
- The nature of this tour means it is not wheelchair accessible and may not be appropriate for guests with limited mobility, given the amount of walking involved. Should this be of concern, contact us prior to booking to discuss options.
- Is lunch included on this tour?
- No. This tour does not include lunch however there will be opportunities to purchase food and drinks during the tour. If you prefer to, please also feel free to bring snacks and drinks with you.
(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara
All Year Round
08:30 - 17:00