Spectacular Cherry Blossom display – Kanazawa Castle/Park-Japan

Kanazawa Castle Wall spectacular display of cherry blossom trees

Kanazawa Castle Wall spectacular display of cherry blossom trees

Kanazawa  under the Maeda Family

The Maeda family ruled the Kaga clan during the Edo period. The most famous of the Maeda family, Toshiie Maeda ruled the Kaga clan from 1583, with their headquarters in Kanazawa, at what is now known as Kanazawa Castle Park until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The Meiji Restoration brought about a chain of events which restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji and put an end to the feudal society under the Shogunate.

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Maeda family, Toshiie Maeda ruler of the Kaga clan

Kanazawa Castle Park

Leaving Kenroku-en Gardens we visited the adjoining Kanazawa Castle Park,  residence of the Maeda family for hundreds of years during their rule. The main tower of the castle burnt down and was never rebuilt. Other buildings within the castle complex burnt down many times over the centuries and were rebuilt during the Maeda rule. Fire was the greatest hazard in those days with the buildings made of timber. After the Maeji restoration damaged and gutted buildings were not  restored until recent times.

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Water flows into Kenrokuen from the Tatsumi Channel at the base of Yamtazaki Hill

Tatsumi Water Channel-Kanazawa Castle/Park

I found it is interesting to hear from our guide  about the water supply system to Kanazawa Castle/Park and Kenrokuen Gardens. This system has been in place for 370 years. A huge fire in 1638 burnt down Kanazawa Castle and 1000 building. After  this disaster the 3rd Lord Toshitsune  built the  Tatsumi water channel for the castle. The water comes from the upper reaches of the Saigawa River, 10 kilometers from the castle. One third of it flows through an underground tunnel. The Japanese  used the principle of the inverted siphon to pump the water to the castle.

It took a year to complete the tunnel. Originally wooden pipes  lined the tunnel. the wooden pipes replaced by stone pipes at the end of the Edo Period. Water flows into Kenrokuen Gardens from the Tatusmi Channel via a special underground pipe. The outlet is  at the base of Yamazaki Hill.

 Ishikawa-mon Gate -  Entrance gate to Kanazawa Castle

Ishikawa-mon Gate – Entrance gate to Kanazawa Castle

Ishikawamon Gate

The Ishikawamon Gate  rebuilt in 1788 and the Sanjikken Nagaya (50-yard-long warehouse) rebuilt in 1858 still remain. These are  the remaining structures of the former Castle.  The Ishikawamon Gate is an iron gate with the inner walls built of stone. The iron gate of Kanazawa Castle Park  is quite impressive in size and structure.

 Ishikawamon Gate huge iron gates with inner walls built of stone.

Ishikawamon Gate huge iron gates with inner walls built of stone.

Kanazawa Castle Park - Impressive Iron Gates

Kanazawa Castle Park – Detail of  impressive Iron Gates

In 2001  two turrets or  watch houses(Hishi Yagura),  and Gojikken Nagaya (warehouse) restored to their 1809 form using traditional construction methods.  The turrets and storehouse of Kanazawa Castle Park form the largest wooden castle structure built-in Japan since the Meiji period. Notice the distinctive white roof tiles of the castle. These are  lead tiles, which renders them fireproof. In times of siege the tiles  melted down and cast into bullets. Ancient cherry blossom trees still survive from the early periods.

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Sanjikken Nagaya (50-yard-long warehouse),Hishi Yagura(Turrets) Gojikken Nagaya, rebuilt in 1858) .

Ancient stone wall of Kanazawa Castle Park

The stone walls of Kanazawa Castle Park are among the best preserved in Japan, built with a great variety of stones. The carved markings on some of the stones are the identifying signs of retainers employed to supply stone materials for the wall. The grey stone walls highlight the beautiful pale pink flowers of the cherry blossom trees. 

Kanazawa Castle Wall - Identifying marks of stone suppliers

Kanazawa Castle Wall – Identifying marks of stone suppliers

Kanazawa castle park after the Meiji period

The Kanazawa castle used as a military base in the Meiji period, a home to Kanazawa University Campus from 1949 until 1989;  the site officially designated as Kanazawa Castle Park in 1997.

Magnificent display of cherry blossom flowers against stone wall of Kanazawa Castle/Park

Magnificent display of cherry blossom flowers against stone wall of Kanazawa Castle/Park

Kutani Kosen Pottery

Following  Kanazawa Castle Park, we visited Kutani Kosen Pottery. A family pottery business handed down from father to son. I found the Japanese way of sitting cross-legged on a platform level with the wheel-head for throwing,very interesting to watch as opposed to the western method.  The finished items at the Kutani pottery made from a fine porcelain, beautiful designs, hand painted and highlighted with gold (of course). This is Kanazawa.  Apart from the throwing demonstration, we also watched two  women hand-painting the delicate designs on plates and items.

Kanazawa Kutani Kosen Pottery

Kanazawa Kutani Kosen Pottery

After lunch a visit to the Nagamachi Samurai House area. 


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  1. Very beautiful photos of those cherry trees. Wish I could see them in person. Some day, perhaps.

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