Craftmanship and Hidden Gems of Ishikawa Prefecture

Craftmanship and Hidden Gems of Ishikawa Prefecture


Cover photo courtesy of Kanamori Alloy Co.,Ltd.

From June 19 to 21st, I had the incredible opportunity to explore the lesser-known corners of Ishikawa. The tour group wandered through Kanazawa, Kaga, and Hakusan, full in culture and traditions. Meeting passionate locals who strive to preserve traditional crafts was truly heartwarming. They eagerly shared their stories and welcomed us into their areas, often overshadowed by Ishikawa's more famous spots. I'm excited to share my reflections on this eye-opening journey into a different side of Japan!

I arrived in Kanazawa from Osaka just before lunch, and the train ride was surprisingly easy—a smooth 2.5-hour journey with one transfer on the Thunderbird and then the Shinkansen (bullet train). It made me wonder why I hadn't come sooner.

Upon arrival, we headed straight to Gyokusentei, a stunning 200-year-old  restaurant with a garden. The gardens are a masterpiece! There's a pond, meticulously placed stones, and greenery that embody Japanese landscape design. The highlight? I had the pleasure of dining there. Waitresses in traditional kimono served a lunch course made from seasonal ingredients, carefully explaining each dish as it was brought to the table. It was literally a feast for my eyes and tastes.

After lunch, I had a fascinating visit to an aluminum factory—yes, a factory! It's about a 15 minute drive from Kanazawa station.  Kanamori Alloy in Kanazawa offers a unique opportunity create a personalized item, perfect as a thoughtful gift or a personal keepsake. You can engrave a word (or name! or special date, or anything, really!) of your choice on the an aluminum cast of the item. Some of the things you can make are a butter/dessert knife, chopstick rest, and cutlery holders. They have 24 generations worth of experience, so we knew we were in good hands. I tried my hand at hammering a pattern on an aluminum dessert knife shaped like a fish. It only took about 15 minutes! 

Photo courtesy of Kanamori Alloy Co.,Ltd.

Established in 1714, Kanamori Alloy has upheld recycling-oriented manufacturing for over 300 years. I was especially impressed with how much they recycle the material in an effort to be sustainable while meeting modern demands. Anything that is unused can be melted and molded again. They even supply parts for!

At night we visited a special eatery for dinner where I got to bond a bit with my tour mates. After a full day of touring, sharing stories with the team, I had totally forgetten to snap photos of the dinner, but believe me: I was so grateful to be surrounded by experts in the tourism industry, yet humble professionals. What was really enjoyable was walking the Higashi Chaya (lit. East Teahouse) District at night with the crew. It used to be an entertainment district during the Edo Period (1603-1868) and the traditional architecture is well-preserved even to this day, giving it such a charming and old-time look. We were lucky to walk it at night where there are no crowds.  

Check out our tours that include these places so you can get in on the experience as well. 

The next chapter of the journey will be in the next blog post. It will contain a full day of adventure including a cycling tour, pottery museum, luxurious sake tasting, a charming town of culture and crafts! Inspired to take a trip to Japan? We can make it happen.