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Source: Gaijin Pot

Kanazawa is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan’s Chubu region. A port town on the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa is famously known among the Japanese population as a destination rich with history, culture and—quite literally—gold. The name Kanazawa means “marsh of gold,” a moniker stemming from local legends of gold flakes in the region’s springs.

Visitors are drawn to Kanazawa by its beautiful castle remains and the lush Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s “Three Great Gardens.” The city also has a pristine, well-preserved samurai district—former residences of the nobles who once strolled the city’s streets.

Photo: iStock/ Thanyarat07
The Higashi Chaya District.

Even today, a popular activity is wearing a yukata (traditional Japanese robes) and exploring the tea houses and cafes of the Higashi Chaya District.

For lovers of samurai-influenced history and martial arts, Kanazawa offers an excellent opportunity to experience the spirit and principles of the practice. Here, the traditions of respect, weapon mastery and zazen meditation are in full practice.

The blade and the bow

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Learn from Toshihiro Enoki, a world-renowned kendo master.

The life of a samurai was filled with conflict—training for war was one of the essential tenets. However, just as important as knowing when to strike was knowing self-control. To wield a katana (Japanese sword) or yumi (Japanese bow) was more than life and death. It was the practice of bushido (samurai moral code), self-discipline and self-improvement.

These principles are most evident in the traditional Japanese martial arts that honed the samurai’s craft with weapons: kendo (the way of the sword), iaido (roughly “to always be prepared”) and kyudo (the way of the bow). While kendo teaches mastery, iaido …continue reading