I saw a sign for a cool looking library on the Senseki line that I was taking out to Matsushima and researched it and found this article, which states that this is the second collaboration between Tsutaya and a public library (the other city is Takeo in Saga prefecture in Kyushu). It has a Starbucks and restaurant in addition-the library is next to the station and is the kind of "third place" that I like to hang out at. So since it was raining I stopped for a coffee and checked out the cool design-lots of light and space. It seems to be a successful idea, so I hope to see more of these collaborations in Japan in the future.
This is the public library space adjacent to the commercial space.
Yamadera in the hills from the station platform. I went to Sendai and then took a local train to Yamagata to visit this temple-famous for one of the places in Tohoku (the Northeast) that Matsuo Basho wrote a poem at.
It was a natural transition to the impressive Kenrokuen from Kanazawa castle.
The next stop was the 21st Century Museum Of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. The exhibition I saw featured three artists (Japanese, Korean, and Chinese) who created their own mythical Asian country and depicted it in various art works-as well as some art fro the regular collection.
The Fourth High School Memorial Museum of Cultural Exchange.
Lunch was sushi (I'm not huge on seafood, but since Kanazawa is known for seafood I've made an effort to eat it), at Sushi Genpei in the Omicho Market.
Curio is a self-described Seattle style coffee shop that came highly recommended. I talked to the owner and he's from Seattle. Nice vibe-friendly staff, good coffee and free wifi-that's all you need.
I walked down to the Nagamachi Samurai District to have a look, had i gone earlier I could have gone to some of the several museums that dot the area. But the sun and heat were too much. However, I feel I got a sense of the place by walking around near closing time, 5pm.
I really like finding cheap and cheerful izakayas like Goishiya which has lots of local delicacies in an informal atmosphere. I can sit at the bar and ask for recommendations from the staff when not busy.
I didn't take notes, but this is a duck stew with gold flakes (Kanazawa is known for their skill with using gold leaf in crafts-they put it on ice cream and other foods as well).
Some local nihonshu.
Apparently the cucumbers are special here, bigger than elsewhere. This dish was pickled cucumbers with spicy miso-very tasty.
I stopped by Jibiruba both nights i was here since it is THE place for craft beer. There are 8 taps. He had a collaboration with a local company that I liked Johanan X Jibiruba IPA, a Shigakogen beer(my favorite Japanese beer company), and Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA from California on tap.
Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture is a place I have longed to visit for some time given it's reputation for grand old chaya houses and the castle and garden, Kenrokuen (one of the three most beautiful in Japan). The station has a distinctive modern design (which calls to mind the controversial Kyoto station).
Art inside the station...
...outside the station.
I decided to leave the most famous destinations (castle, garden, 21st century art museum) for early on Thursday in order to beat the crowds. So I decided to start my tour with some of the lesser known attractions like the DT Suzuki Museum that celebrates the famous author and zen Buddhism.
The outside of the prefecture Historical Museum-I didn't enter.
Sanjusangengoji Temple is famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, however, photography inside the building is prohibited-it's a religious place after all. It's a shame because there are some fascinating statues there. There are two film/literary associations with the temple as well. The best known is that is the location of legendary Musashi Miyamoto's famous duel depicted in Hiroshi Inagaki's film Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple, starring Toshiro Mifune as Miyamoto. A lesser known film, A Tale of Archers at Sanjusangendo (1945) is underrated director Mikio Naruse's lone martial arts film. It fcitionalizes the annual archery contest Toshiya held at the temple.