Our hotel in Kanazawa was completely different from the places we’d been before. Hotel Pacific has a cafe for the lobby with a lift in the back up to the rooms. The style was minimalist and slightly hipster but it was really pleasant. We dropped our things and had a mooch about before dinner. Straying slightly away from our normal Japanese dinners we went to the Spice Box for a curry. It was run by a Sri Lankan family and the food was really good. The place was small and had a mixture of tourists and locals. After dinner we headed for Polé Polé a reggae/dive bar, the guide book said it had a floor littered with the shells of monkey nuts but we thought it was an exaggeration until we arrived and literally had to wade up to the bar! There was years and years worth of shells covering the small bar. It was very dark and things hadn’t quite kicked off for the evening, we were the only people there. We stayed for a couple of rums and then headed home for an early night.
The next day we explored the grounds around Kanazawa Castle, since it was built in 1580 it has been reconstructed many times and today has been fully restored but has some original features as well as the Ishikawa-mon Gate which was constructed in 1788. We then went to Kenroku-en, a beautiful garden with a different style from the gardens we’d seen earlier in the trip. It is considered one of the 3 great gardens of Japan. We lost ourselves in the shrubbery for a while and then headed off to the station for our afternoon trip.
We took the train to Tōjinbō, a small seaside town with volcanic rock formations jutting out into the sea, approximately 70km south west of Kanazawa. We managed fairly easily to get the train as far as we could but in order to complete the journey a bus ride would be necessary. It was a really small station and we had clearly left the tourist trail. We wondered up to a window that we were fairly confident was where you needed to buy the bus ticket, unfortunately the lady behind the window really didn’t speak any English and couldn’t really understand our attempt at Japanese! After a confusing exchange we had our tickets and 2 two origami shirts holding toothpicks.
The confusion carried on to the bus journey as we were not entirely sure where we were headed but our doubts were allayed and we arrived in Tōjinbō. It was a really interesting place it felt like a tourist spot just for the Japanese. We seemed to be the only foreign tourists, probably because it’s so difficult to get to without speaking Japanese. It was a short stroll from the bus stop to the coast and the rocks. The tide was low and it was easy to climb down and around the rocks for a closer look. We then had a walk further along the coast before heading back to bus stop. The journey had taken longer than we thought so we didn’t have much time before the last bus back to the station.
That evening we headed to a few bars and once again went back to Polé Polé. This time we were not the only people in there, there was a lively group and we joined them at the bar. It turned out that they were on a work evening out and had enjoyed quite a few drinks already! They were very friendly and we chatted in broken English. Later on an unsuspecting american man popped in and was forced to join in as well. He could speak Japanese, he had lived and worked in Kyoto for a few years and was in Kanazawa on business. It was a really fun night and again quite a surreal one, especially with a vhs of Bob Marley playing in the background. We were the last to leave and the owner of the bar got us to sign our names on the wall as many other patrons had. It was lucky that Jon’s tall as one of the only spaces was on the ceiling. The owner also played us a Kanazawan tourist information video before we headed home which was slightly bizarre at 2am!
The next day we nursed our sore heads and relaxed in the park before it was time to move on to Takayama our last stop before returning to Tokyo.