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DAY 3. Kanazawa
Kanazawa was once the residence of the Maeda clan, the second most influential clan in Japan. This history fostered arts and crafts, making Kanazawa a rival to Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo). Explore the city and its masterpieces!

Breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 - Guided tour of Kanazawa.
9:10 - Oyama Shrine. Explore the charming garden and whimsical Dutch Gate, blending Japanese, Chinese, and European styles.
9:40 - Cross the Nedzumitamon Bridge and visit Gyokusen-in Maru Garden before heading to Kanazawa Castle. The 16th-century castle, though reconstructed, holds historical significance and offers serene walks around massive stone walls, secluded ponds, and majestic pines. The tour covers the castle grounds without entering the museum.

10:40 - 12:30 - Visit Kenrokuen Garden, often ranked among the top three most beautiful gardens in Japan. Discuss the philosophy of Japanese garden art and its symbolism.
12:30 - 14:00 - Enjoy lunch at a restaurant owned by our acquaintance, Miharu-san, located within Kenrokuen Garden. The restaurant, named "Three Huts," opened in 1875, the same year visitors were allowed in the garden. The venue, where Emperor Taisho and imperial family members dined, has been cherished by Kanazawa residents for nearly 150 years.
Visit the region's largest gallery of hand-painted Yuzen silk, an art form for which Kanazawa is renowned. The 117-year-old workshop creates silk paintings not only for kimonos but also for ceremonial flags and costumes. Meet the head of the house, who, despite their venerable age, will be represented by their daughter. Learn about the Yuzen technique, the intricacies of the process, observe stencils, and witness the work of one of the apprentices.

"Master Katsumasa Okuda and Masoko Okuda at Work"

Explore the Nagamachi district, once inhabited by samurai and their families, retaining the atmosphere of bygone eras with preserved walls, historical buildings, and gardens. Enter the Nomura house to experience the layout of a traditional Japanese home and its connection to the garden. Though the garden is small, it is renowned beyond Japan and often appears in rankings of the best Japanese gardens.

Return to the hotel.
DAY 4. Kanazawa
9:00 - The day will begin with a visit to Kaneko-san's studio, where we will change into yukata (light kimono). The dressing process takes about 40 minutes, and there are options available for women, men, and children. If for any reason you choose not to change, you can take a stroll through the ancient streets, as the studio is located in the district of traditional tea houses once frequented by geishas, called Higashi Chaya.
A stroll through the tea districts, where geishas lived, trained, and entertained guests, allowing time for leisurely photography in yukata. We will navigate the narrow streets of Kazuemachi, cross the bridge to the Eastern district.

Visit traditional arts galleries that showcase Kanazawa's renowned crafts:

1. Kutani Ceramic Gallery: With over a century of history, the gallery owner will welcome us and share the story and unique features of Kutani ceramics. We will learn why specific colors are used and have the opportunity to view rare samples. There will also be ceramics available for purchase; however, please note that the export of ceramics to Russia should not exceed 40,000 yen (approximately 300 USD). The collection includes both antique pieces and more affordable yet beautifully crafted items.
Gold Leaf Gallery:
Kanazawa, translated as "golden marsh," is the sole producer of gold leaf in Japan today. Sakuda Company, in operation since 1919, specializes in the production of gold leaf. We will visit their gallery, where you can witness the process and observe skilled artisans at work.
Originally, the company applied gold leaf to lacquered items from Yamanaka. However, today, their range is incredibly diverse, encompassing glass, fabric, metal, and collaborations with artisans from other regions of Japan.
Unfortunately, due to restrictions on exporting goods to Russia, it is not possible to purchase items exceeding 40,000 yen (300 USD). Nevertheless, there are affordable pieces available for purchase.
Excursion to the Geisha House "Shima":
Embark on a journey into the historic Geisha House "Shima," constructed in the year 1820, representing a significant cultural heritage of Japan. Today, it functions as a museum where the interiors have been meticulously preserved. On display are musical instruments and various items once used by geishas.

Lunch at Omi-cho Fish Market:
Indulge in a delightful lunch experience at a restaurant located in the Omi-cho Fish Market.
Continuation of the Stroll in Kanazawa:
Continue your exploration of Kanazawa with a visit to the museum street. Take a moment to peek into the D.T. Suzuki Museum, relax by a pond, or explore the 21st-century Museum of Contemporary Art, where you can capture photos with art installations, including those in and around a pool. All these attractions are conveniently located close to each other, ensuring a leisurely and enjoyable walk.
Optional Dessert Experience:
If you'd like, consider a delightful visit to Chef Confectioner Tsudziguti's café, located at the art museum. Mr. Tsudziguti, a third-generation confectioner, grew up in a family of traditional Japanese sweet producers. However, he chose to specialize in European desserts and has been recognized as one of the best pastry chefs in Japan. Indulge in a sweet treat and perhaps a refreshing beverage at the café (desserts and drinks are not included in the tour and can be purchased on-site).
DAY 5. Shirakawa-go
7:15 Check-out from the hotel, transfer to the station (7 minutes). Leave luggage in the storage room.
8:10 – 9:25 Transfer to Shirakawago.
The village of Shirakawago once served as a refuge for surviving members of the Taira clan. It is worth coming here to see with your own eyes the amazing "gassho-zukuri" structures with thatched roofs in the midst of idyllic valleys surrounded by forests and mountains. Gassho-zukuri means "hands in prayer," and the roofs of these houses resemble the folded hands of Buddhist monks in prayer. The houses themselves are built without a single nail. It's worth noting that these houses are very durable. Some of them are over 400 years old, and people still live in them. The residents of Shirakawago trace their lineage back to the famous Taira clan, a side branch of the imperial family.
Lunch at a simple rural cafe.
13:40 – 15:05 Transfer from Shirakawago to Kanazawa.
Retrieve luggage from the storage room at the station, purchase a bento dinner set for the train.
Transfer by train to Kyoto, a 2.5-hour journey.
Arrive at the hotel, check-in, and rest.

Fuji Travel - luxury travel DMC in Japan
8-32 Saga Oritocho Kyoto, Japan 616-8345
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