From gold leaf sweets to retro variety stores, explore more of Kanazawa by rental bike!



From gold leaf sweets to retro variety stores, explore more of Kanazawa by rental bike!


There's so much to see in the town of Kanazawa. Although exploring Kanazawa by bus is very convenient, you will have to plan your schedule around bus times. If you don't want to wait around for the bus, one great alternative is to use Machi-nori, Kanazawa's rental bike service. Not only can you travel around at your own pace, you can also enjoy the natural beauty of the area like the autumn leaves in the fall. Let's take a closer look.

First up, the old world charms of Higashi Chaya-gai

You rent and return Machi-nori bikes from designated "ports" around the town. As long as you return the bike to a port within thirty minutes after taking it out, you can use the bike as many times as you'd like for only 200 yen! There are twenty-two ports around the town. They are conveniently located close to train stations or popular tourist spots so you'll never need to worry about not finding a port in time. 
The elegant Asano River is also called the Onna River.
The elegant Asano River is also called the Onna River.

You can start your day by renting a bike close to the train station and heading towards the Asano River. You can enjoy the old-world charm of the area by biking along the river that runs parallel to Kazue-machi Chaya-gai, which spans the length of the river between the Ume No Hashi Bridge to the Nakanobashi Bridge. Once you cross the Asanogawa Ohashi Bridge located between these two other bridges, return your bike to port number 18 (Higashiyama Port) and head off to explore Higashi Chaya-gai! 
There are many cafes and variety stores in Higashi Chaya-gai
Along the street are rows of renovated tea houses that are now home to cafes and variety stores.

Even "first-timers" can explore these elegant tea houses during the day!

The outside of Kanazawa Higashi Chayagai Kaikaro

One unique aspect of the culture of traditional tea houses is that Ichigensan (first time customers) are usually not allowed without an introduction from a regular customer. However, there are tea houses that everyone can explore here. Once such tea house is Kanazawa Higashi Chayagai Kaikaro. In addition to holding formal Japanese-style dinners in the evening, this tea house opens its doors during the day to visitors eager to see its more than 190-year-old architecture.
Kinpaku Kuzukiri
Here is a popular dish called Kinpaku Kuzukiri (1,400 yen).

When you come to this tea house, there's a special sweet you absolutely must try: the kinpaku kuzukiri. This is jellied kudzu starch served with a special muscovado sauce that has been covered with a sheet of gold leaf. You can enjoy this luxurious treat in the tea space around the hearth. 

From vermilion-lacquered stairs to tatami mats dyed with plants to even a tea room with gold leaf, this gorgeous tea house is a chic stop.

Kanazawa Higashi Chayagai Kaikaro | 金沢ひがし茶屋街 懐華樓
Address: 1-14-8 Higashiyama, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken 
Hours: 9:00am~5:00pm 
Entry fee: 750 yen 

There are performances every year in the spring and autumn during which visitors can listen to English explanations about geisha and the culture of tea houses as well as enjoy a geisha performances. Please see the link below for more information.

From the retro Owari-cho to Oyama-jinja Shrine

There are plenty of historical buildings and long-standing shops to explore in the area.
There are plenty of historical buildings and long-standing shops to explore in the area.

Hop back on your bike and travel along the west side of Kenrokuen Garden towards Oyama-jinja Shrine. As you travel along Hyakumangoku-dori Avenue, you'll enter Owari-cho, one of the areas enclosed by this avenue. This area was once home to the merchants summoned by Maeda Toshiie, a leading general of Oda Nobunaga, after he invaded Kanazawa. Travel here feels like going back into the past. 

A unique shrine with unusual architecture and stained glass

Maeda Toshiie and his wife Maeda Matsu (also called Omatsu no Kata) are enshrined at Oyama-jinja Shrine.Maeda Toshiie and his wife Maeda Matsu (also called Omatsu no Kata) are enshrined at Oyama-jinja Shrine.

Return your bike to Port 6 (Oyama-machi Port) and head to Oyama-jinja Shrine. The unique design of the gate feels like something from a different country, and it was designated as an important cultural property. One particularly striking feature of this gate is the five-colored stained glass inlay on the top floor. It is very lovely when illuminated at night.

Oyama-jinja Shrine | 尾山神社
Address: 11-1 Oyama-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken
Hours: shrine compound can be entered freely at any time
Website (Japanese only):

After taking a stroll through the shrine garden, make your way to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa via Ohori-dori Street which wraps around Kanazawa Castle Park. This walk is especially captivating during the fall. 

Get to Tate-machi and Shintate-machi Streets easily by bike 

Take your bike from Port 14 (Hirosaka Port) and head towards Port 12 (Tate-machi Port). This port is located at Tate-machi Square. This is a great place to take a little break as the square has some benches. In front of the square is the calm Tate-machi Shoten-gai. Home to mainly stores carrying a diverse array of clothing and accessories, this area serves as the center of fashion trends for the Hokuriku region. 
The outside of Yaoya Matsuda Shisanao Shoten

With its blend of Japanese and modern sensibilities, Yaoya Matsuda Hisanao Shoten is sure to catch your eye. This fruit and vegetable shop has been in business for more than a hundred years, and the current shop owner still likes to sell his wares in an old fashioned way. For example, he sets his fruits and vegetables in traditional woven sieves called saru on top of raised platforms. He can also tell you how best to prepare these delicious vegetables. 

Yaoya Matsuda Hisanao Shoten | 八百屋 松田久直商店
Address: 3-104 Shintate-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken 
Hours: 8:00am~6:00pm 
Closed Sundays and national holidays
Website (Japanese only):
Retro bar Parlour Kofuku

The retro bar Parlour Kofuku is housed in what used to be a barber shop. Careful attention was paid to keep the feeling of the original architecture during renovations. Not only is this a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, you can also have an alcoholic beverage starting from the early afternoon. Return your bike to the nearby port, order up one of your favorite drinks, and spend some time relaxing with the locals. 

Parlour Kofuku | パーラーコフク
Address: 3-118 Shintate-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken
Hours: 3:00pm~10:00pm
Closed Wednesdays and every second Tuesday. There may also be additional closings.
Website (Japanese only): Parlour Kofuku's Facebook

The Shintate-machi Shoten-gai continues on the other side of the intersection. Here are a selection of variety and antique stores with lots of personality that maintain the Showa-era feeling of this outdoor shopping arcade. You can find plenty of interesting items to buy here. 

Make the most of your time in Kanazawa with Machi-nori bikes!

There are total of 22 ports as of November 2016.
There are total of 22 ports as of November 2016.
When traveling through Kanazawa by bike, it's suggested that you take the side streets instead of the main roads. To help guide your way, there is a map listing where the ports are as well as popular tourist destinations attached to the basket on the front of the bike. Enjoy some hidden spots and gorgeous scenery that you might miss when traveling by bus or on foot. Remember to bike safely!

Machi-nori | まちのり
Raibu 1 Bldg., 1F
Address: 3-2 Konohana-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken 
Hours: 9:00am~6:00pm

This article is based on information that was obtained November 4, 2016. Please be advised that changes to store menus, hours, and et cetera may have occurred.

The original Japanese version of this article was published on co-Trip.


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