2nd day in Kanazawa. Geisha district, Temple district and Matcha Tea ceremony.
Our Host at the hotel was introducing us to the myths of Geishas – was sharing lots of interesting informations about the differences between Kanazawa and Kyoto. These two locations are the major Geisha cities all around Japan but the ‘existence’, education and everydaylife of Geishas are very different here and there. U can easily find a ‘geisha experience’ – depending of the location and who is the ‘maiko’ – price is around 3000-5000yen. Freakin turistic experience and a bit bizarre but u have to do it. Basically u pay entrance for a ‘maiko show’ – maiko is an apprentice geisha in a young age and u can see her performance on the stage – similiar what she will have to do as a work. I ve seen an act like this in Kyoto so i ll talk about it later when im there.
Anyway, we were heading to the big Geisha district, wood houses painted red and black, very traditional lampions outside in each every houses. Pretty, streets full of people, looots of them wearing kimono – mostly tourist. If u fancy to become a ‘silly local’ for a couple of hours or just want some cool pictures u can easily find shops to rent traditional clothes for both women and men, plus if u dont mind to spend a fortune u or your miss even can get a proper geisha makeup and hair for about 4000-8000yen. I was planning to do – but arriving there just seemed soooo f#cking silly lol. But u can give it a go.
Keep walking in the district u can find plenty sake ‘brewery’ – to be fair they just expensive shops. Great looking bottles – doubled price, doing tasting but expensive again. Move on.
Gold. Golden. Yesssss! Because Kanazawa is also very famous of its gold production – gold museum, gold factory and gold everything. In the heart of the district just follow the people holding a soft icecream – u will reach the source, the ‘famous gold icecream’ place. I just had to buy it. It was around 1000 yen (hyperexpensive ofcourse), plain vanilla icecream with a massive piece of ‘edible’ golden leaf.
footnote: the pure clear gold is not harmful for the human body – i can not really say its edible because our guts will never going to digest it – but also not going to dissolve pretty much at all. As soon as your gold is not clean 24k – additional stuff might harm you so consumption is not suggested. LOL.
Get that icecream and eat outside (appearantly u are not allowed to walk while u are licking your icecream hahahaha dunno) – we kept walking, finding pretty little cafes selling matcha lattes and wagashi sweets. Obviously very expensive – but f#ck it, u need a pee break anyway and great to try good quality matcha and wagashi. I will have a pretty story about this little beautiful japanese sweets – i had the luck to learn how to make when i met with my penfriend Kyoe – but just in Kyoto later on.
Keep going, we ticked the Gold Museum where u can check out how they make lots of beautiful but useless things with gold, furnitures, paintings, sculptures, creams and so on (u will try tea with gold). We were pretty amazed – especially when i discovered the gold toilet – with its intelligent automatic seat. What a flashhhhhhh…
For the afternoon we decided to explore the biggest temple district. Oh my God. Never ending temples and shrines in the hill, up and down, every corner. Literally. Shame we didnt count them – but kept walking for hours and hours and was a proper neverendingstory. Most of them abandoned (favourite on the top in the woods) surrounded with cemeteries. Very peaceful vibe i have to admit. We were also lucky having lots of sunshine. Great stuff.
After walking all day was really time to get energy – this was the point when my loyal friend Dary did choose an italian pasta restaurant for her – so i was heading to find anything interesting. Ended up in a very local tiny izakaya famous for its chicken wings (i didint know that just after). Nobody spoke anything other than japanese – so i used my only but very useful sentence : ‘OSUSUMEN’ which means please choose for me, what u suggest. I got a couple of interesting dishes – mostly yakitories – i did not finish the pork intestine one. That was definitely too much and too porky plus too intestiney. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I had some great stuff other than that – chicken, fish, cheese… and 2 little jug of house sake which made me nicely tipsy very first time of my journey. Loved it. Paid around 2500yen, full and happy.
Our hosts was organizing a matcha tea ceremony for us before sleep just to make sure we all know what does it mean, how to serve and how to prepair.Was very nice of her and it was cool. Our informal ritual took about 1 hour – normally it takes 2-3 hours (!!!!!!!). U can also find everywhere a proper matcha tea ceremony as a workshop – cost around 3000-8000yen depending on the location. Oh, and when im talking about these activities – just be prepaired, plenty to do in Japan but nothing really if u are a solo traveller. Most of them starts from 2 people. Good to know.
Chef’s tipp to try;
MELONPAN. Has nothing to do with melon or bread. Lol. Perfect non complex carbohydrate and bad sugar with bad fat for breakfast. But freakin delicious. Imagine a freshly baked warm light brioche bun with creamy soft vanilla icecream ‘sandwich’. Yes please.