The city of Kanazawa located in the Ishikawa Prefecture was once known as the city of canals. These canals served both to supply water and provide a means for transporting goods. Nestled between two canals (Onosho and Kuratsuki) that flow below Kanazawa Castle, you will find Nagamachi, the samurai district. It was once home to the samurai under the control of the Maeda clan who ruled the area.
The samurai that resided in this district were of the middle and upper classes. Their carefully preserved houses surrounded by earthen walls and the old stone pavements make you feel as if you have been transported to the Edo period. People still reside in these houses but some, such as the Nomura family house is open to the public. Visitors can also visit the Kaga Hanshi, a former stable with an adjacent garden and the Ashigaru Shiryokan, two reconstructed houses that are examples of the modest homes occupied by the foot soldiers or the lowest ranking samurai.
There are also several museums in the area worth visiting. Among them are:
Shinise Kinenkan Museum: a restored Edo period pharmacy, which houses local Kanazawa crafts.
Maeda Tosanokami-ke Shiryokan: a museum dedicated to the Maeda family, which features samurai armor and other relics.
If you visit Nagamachi during the winter months you will find that the mud walls are covered with rolls of straw to protect them from the harsh Kanazawa weather. This method is also used to protect the trees in the nearby Kenrokuen Park.
Nagamachi is the perfect destination for those who are passionate about Japan’s feudal past and the country’s samurai heritage. The district is relatively close to Kanazawa Castle and Myoryuji (Ninja Temple) so why not combine your visit and enjoy a full day in Kanazawa?