Kanazawa is going through somewhat of a boom. Increased accessibility allied to a J.League team gives more people than ever a chance and/or reason to visit a culturally rich city. Welcome to Kanazawa.
How to get there:
From Tokyo, east Japan: The new Hokuriku Shinkansen will take you from Tokyo or Ueno stations direct to Kanazawa station in around 2.5 hours, at a rough cost of ¥14,000 If you want to do it cheaper, long distance buses depart from Shinjuku, Tokyo and Ikebukuro. Prices start from around ¥6000 (one way – but you might be able to get special “early bird deals” that are cheaper).
From Kansai & the west: Get to Osaka station and take the Thunderbird limited express. It’ll take around 2.5 hours and cost around ¥7000 . Highway buses depart from Hankyu Umeda, Osaka station and various other points. Tickets start from around ¥2800
If you are lucky enough to fly there, you’ll arrive at Komatsu airport, which is around a 30 minute bus ride from Kanazawa itself.
How to get to the stadium:
By car, it isn’t far from the Hokuriku Highway Kanazawa Nishi junction. Apparently, there is parking for around 3,000 cars, meaning you’ll easily grab a space.
By public transport: A shuttle bus (¥400 return) operates from the west exit (Nishi-guchi) of JR Kanazawa station. Buses leave from stop number 1.
(Basically, if you head tot he station, just follow all the red shirts. Zweigen Kanazawa fans often set up a welcome committee – and not the kind of “welcome committee” staffed by hooligans – but a real welcome committee that helps away followers get to the stadium. A great effort by the home fans)
At the stadium:
Head to the “Chayagai” for all your refreshment & food needs. Oh, and don’t forget to take an umbrella – there’s very little cover there if it does start raining.
Pre/post match eats/drinks
Kanazawa means sushi. Don’t let anyone tell you other wise. Top of the list of places to visit should be Mori-mori Sushi on the 6th floor of Kanazawa Forus, a shopping centre adjacent to Kanazawa Station. But, and it is a big but, be prepared to wait. Minimum you’ll be waiting for is 30 minutes. The food is so worth it though. Some of the finest sushi you’ll taste, and very reasonably priced.
If waiting isn’t really your thing, on the second floor of Kanazawa station’s “100bangai” (go up the escalator in Kanazawa station, and turn left) is Sushi-dama. It’s very good quality kaiten (conveyor-belt) sushi, and the wait isn’t that long. The quality isn’t quite as good as Mori-Mori, but it will certainly suffice.
Omi-cho ichiba (seafood market)
Get here in the morning/lunchtime, otherwise all the best places close up. I could give loads of examples as great places to get food, as every place’s seafood is fresh and awesome in quality. If you want something that is cooked, try the small oden shop at the far end of the main arcade or the Omi-cho Croquette place (近江町コロッケ本店) for some of the finest fish croquettes.
Other stuff to do:
Visit Kenroku-en – one of Japan’s finest traditional gardens. It really is beautiful and it only costs ¥310 to enter the grounds. If you’re lucky enough to visit in early April or late October, the leaf colours will be amazing. As too, will the crowds. The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is a decent walk around, and it is located really close to Kenroku-en. If shopping is your thing, Kohrinbo is the main shopping area in the middle of the city.
Higashi Chaya-machi is the old quarter of the city. It’s ok on a nice day, but if the weather is inclement it is a lot less fun/interesting.