Plan for the day
Today we would be driving a long distance as we intended to be in Kanazawa city for the night.
Our original itinerary was to visit Makino Pic-land, then Keisoku-ji temple and then to Kanazawa for the night. So far we were half a day ahead in our itininerary and by yesterday we had already completed Keisoku-ji temple.
Our revised plan would be to visit Makino Picland in the morning and then drive directly to Kanazawa. We would be able to reach Kanazawa in the early afternoon.
Since we would arrive early in Kanazawa we should have enough time (about 3 hours) to visit the famous Kenrokuen garden. Kenrokuen garden visit was originally planned for tomorrow morning.
Makino Pic-land was only 13km from our hotel. We were visiting Makino Pic-land for two attractions. A fruit farm/market and a metasequoia road. Makino Pic-land was the name of the fruit farm/market.
We arrived at Makino Pic-land at about 9 am and the place was quiet. The market had very little to offer, selling mainly vegetable but no fruit. Not worth the visit if not for the Metasequoia road nearby.
When I was researching for this Metasequoia road the name Makino Pic-land kept popping. But on google map Makino Picland did not exist. So for a while I could not locate it. I finally found it after searching for it under Makino Pickland which had an addition “k” inserted into the name. I wasn’t too sure where was the exact location Metasequoia road but was sure that it was in the vicinity of Makino Pic-land.
It was only when I was nearing Makino Pic-land that I found out that the Metasequoia road was on the same road where Makino Picland was located.
The stretch of metasequoia trees lined road was about 2.5 km long. Driving from our hotel northward toward the location of Makino Pic-land, the metasequoia road started about 600m before Makino Pic-land and stretched for another 1.9km after Makino Pic-land.
Of the 2.5 km length of metasequoia road, I found the stretch just outside Makino Pic-land most beautiful. Not many vehicles drove passed as it was still early in the morning so it was very easy for us to walk to the middle of the road to photograph this beautiful road. The metasequoia trees were tall and enormous. Their trunks were big and straight and branches were fully laden with leaves that had just begun to turn red.
There was a walking path on one side of the metasequoia trees and the place was so romantic. Strolling under the wide spread branches of the trees, feeling the cool breeze in the air and looking at the trees that stretch endlessly ahead was awesome. The best part was there was no crowd and no haste at all.
This metasequoia trees road was a nice change of scenery after all the temples, shrines and the maple trees that we had been seeing for the last few days.
Kanazawa Kenrokuen Garden
Kenroukuen was a beautiful Japanese garden in the center of Kanazawa city. IKenrokuen (兼六園). Today it was declared as one of Japan’s three most beautiful landscape gardens.
It took us slightly more than two hours to drive 160 km from Makino Pic-land to Kanazawa city. Once we reached the city we drove straight to Kenrokuen Garden, bought our tickets (¥300 per person) and entered the garden at about 2pm.
During the Edo Period, Kanazawa was ruled by the Maeda Clan, the second most powerful feudal clan after the Tokugawa in terms of wealth and size. Kanazawa grew to become a town of great cultural achievements, rivaling Kyoto and Edo(Tokyo). Kenrokuen was the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, the seat of the powerful Maeda Clan. It was constructed by the ruling Maeda family over a period of nearly two centuries! In 1871 it was finally opened to the public.
Autumn was definitely a good time to visit the garden. We spent the next two hours walking the ground. Freshly dropped leaves were all over, carpeting the ground yellow, the scene was so beautiful. I saw a gardener sweeping the leaves and I felt like telling him that the ground looked better in yellow.
We enjoyed exploring the garden and it was a good thing that it was not crowded as we did not met the same kind of massive crowd that we had encountered the last few days.
This was a huge garden, it covered an area of 11.4 hectares. In the garden there were trees, ponds, small hills, bridges, streams, waterfall, stone lanterns, tea houses, resting huts, fountain and statues, all these different elements were integrated seamlessly with each others.
Before visiting this garden I had doubts as I was not particularly fond of man-made garden. But after my visit I felt that Kenrokuen was a very special garden, it had been very well design to ensure that the “man-made” elements blended well with the “god-made” elements.
Kenrokuen (兼六園) meant garden of six sublimities. This name was given to the garden because of six important factors that went into the landscape design of the garden. They are spaciousness, tranquility, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water and magnificent view which together made this garden one of the three best in the whole of Japan.
In the garden there were two ponds, Kasumiga-ike Pond and Hisago-ike pond. Kusumiga-ike Pond was the larger of the two. It was a rather huge pond and we strolled the entire perimeter of the pond walking past bridges, tea houses, stone lanterns, huge pine trees and small hill. From one end of the pond we saw some teepee like rope structures and wondered what they were. When we were nearer we found out that these “teepee” structures were built to hold up the heavy sprawling branches of the century old Karaski Pine trees in the garden.These branches broke easily under the weight of heavy of snow in winter.
Omicho Market (近江町市場)
Omicho Market was about 1 km just to the north of Kenrokuen garden. So after Kenrokuen visit we drove over to the market in search for dinner. There were many stores in the market and these stores were arranged in big “+” shape. There were fresh fish and seafood stores, vegetable and fruit stores, dried food stores and many more. It was already after 4 pm and we found half the number of stores closed.
This market was established about the middle of the 18th century. Though it was over 200 years old, it looked pretty modern. We walked around but could not find a restaurant where we would like to sit down to eat. So we left to check into our hotel, Kanazawa Manten Hotel Ekimae which was about 2 km from the market.
Dinner near Kanazawa Station
Less than 500 meters away from our hotel was the Kanazawa station. Around the station were huge shopping complexes so we decided to walk from our hotel toward Kanzawa station in search of dinner.
We found a eatery, ordered our food and had a good meal. Total cost of dinner for two of us came up to ¥1300. So far in almost all the restaurants and eateries where we had eaten our meals, green tea were provided free with the meal. We loved green tea and had saved a great deal from not having to paid for beverages to go with our meal.
Hotel for the night
Our room at Kanazawa Manten Hotel Ekimae was a double room at ¥6800 a night with ensuite bathroom, no breakfast. We parked our car at the hotel car park for a fee of ¥1000 a night. The room was small but fine for just a one night of sleep. Some online reviews about this hotel was that it was old, but from my experience though it was not new it was fine. The price and location were good.
I had requested for a room on the high floor which the hotel had accommodated. From our room we had a great view of the city.