Sunday, July 29, 2018

Japan Travel: Kanazawa 金沢: Omicho Market & Higashiyama Higashi Chaya District

As our Takayama-Hokuriku JR Pass includes non-reserved seats of ordinary cars on the Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) between Toyama and Kanazawa, we took Shinkansen from Toyama to Kanazawa 金沢. The journey took only 20 minutes, so much faster than local train which would take 1 hour!



Right in front of Kanazawa Station stands a twisting wooden structure called Tsuzumi Gate, a symbol of Kanazawa Station.



We checked in our hotel Toyoko Inn Kanazawa-eki Higashi-guchi to deposit our luggage before we embarked our journey in Kanazawa. First, we headed to Hokutetsu Bus Ticket Office to exchange our bus tickets to Shirakawa-go for the next day, as well as to purchase Hokutetsu Bus One Day Pass. It costs 500 yen for adult, and 250 yen for child. Since each bus trip costs 200 yen regardless the distance travelled, it would be worthwhile to get this pass if you can taking 3 and more bus trips within a day.



We took Kanazawa Right Loop Bus to our first destination of the day - Higashiyama Higashi Chaya District 東山東茶屋街, a traditional neighbourhood. This area reminded us of Takayama that we visited 2 days before that.



Our first target was to find the soft-serve with gold foil from Hakuichi 箔一, a shop that sells products made from gold.




One serving of soft-serve with gold foil costs 890 yen (~SGD10). Yes, it is very expensive! But since we travel all the way here, we would try once. You ask me how does gold taste like? My response is... it is tasteless! The ice-cream is very milky and creamy though.

At Hakuza 箔座, another shop that sells products made of gold, it was an eye-opening experience for us to see this room covered with 20 000 pieces of 24K gold!




There are tea houses that serve Japanese tea and wagashi (traditional sweets) in the area, however, we had to give it a miss as we needed to reserve space in our stomach at Omicho Market 近江町市場 (http://ohmicho-ichiba.com/). We took Kanazawa Right Loop Bus from Higashiyama Higashi Chaya to Omicho Market.



When we reached there during lunch hour, some stalls were ready to close. So if you want to buy the fresh food, be there early in the morning!

For appetiser, we had a sea urchin that cost 1000 yen (~SGD12.2) at Shimada Suisan 島田水産. Yes, it was quite expensive, but it was sweet!



I learnt about a restaurant called Inoya 井ノ弥 from a Taiwanese TV travel show. It was indeed very popular, we spent almost 50 minutes queuing! And this was the reason to queue:



Does this seafood don look luxurious? Crab, prawn, sea urchin, tuna belly and so on, and there were even gold flakes on it! At 2980 yen (~SGD36), I would consider that reasonable since we would not get such luxurious seafood don at this price in Singapore! Most of the seafood tasted nice, except 2 to 3 pieces that I had difficulty to chew. Don't say I never warn you, please share this don with someone.

Our children enjoyed the unagi don (3200 yen).



I was very full after the meal, but I suddenly found a small vacancy in my stomach when I saw a stall selling grilled and steamed seafood just opposite Inoya. I ordered one oyster (250 yen) that was steamed in a metal container. The oyster was sweet and succulent! How I wish I had more stomach space for a grilled one!



I also wished to have a crab, but I couldn't eat anymore! We noticed that the price of a crab with broken legs was much cheaper!



Other than seafood, there were also some fruits and vegetable stalls. The fruits looked so tempting!



The children were attracted by this fruit juice - the orange juice was inside the orange (400 yen)! We also had some cut melon (300 yen) and pineapple (150 yen) that were so sweet! They were not cheap, but the sweetness and freshness were what we were willing to pay for.



DaDi bought some croquettes. The stall owner was so thoughtful to have a microwave oven for patrons to heat up the croquettes.



Before we left Omicho Market, we bought some Hokkaido dried scallops and dried cuttlefish from a dried food and candies shop Nanbo なんぼ商店. I regretted that we only bought one packet of dried cuttlefish, I was surprised that the cuttlefish was juicy and easy to chew! We were also touched by the kindness of the cashier, she saw the plaster on DaDi's wounded finger was falling off, so she offered a new piece of plaster when he was making payment!

After the gastronomic adventure, we visited some iconic places in Kanazawa - 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kenroku-en and Kanazawa Castle. Read our adventure in this post!


How to Get to Kanazawa by Train
From Tokyo - take Hokuriku Shinkansen (about 3 hours)
From Osaka or Kyoto - take Japan Rail Thunderbird Limited Express (about 2 hour 40+ minutes)
From Nagoya - take Japan Rail Shirasagi Limited Express (about 3 hours)


Our Central Japan Travelogue June 2018


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