Landed on Kansai International, nice and early. Collected the JR Pass from the ‘usual’ place, I think other than very first time in came to Japan the place to get the JR Pass has always been across from the station entrance.
On to Kanazawa and its majestic station entrance! Took the JR Haruka to Shin-Osaka and switched to the JR Thunderbird. So after 10 hours in the plane, another 3.5 in the train. Little did I know that the very next year the Shinkansen Hokuriku line would be opened and Tokyo-Kanazawa would be a breeze.
Kanazawa JR station is called one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, but really that’s only because that immense drum gate 鼓門 and the glass covered atrium behind it. The station itself is decidedly unimpressive compared to other big stations like JR Kyoto or even JR Hakata.
I’m staying really close to the station, as usual. Downtown is within walking distance and I’m planning to take my time anyways. And there are cheap buses in Kanazawa that all start or end at the station. Easy!
The Miyako hotel is one of those Japanese hotel chains that looks like it had their heyday in the ’90s and is now in need of an upgrade to make it interesting again. Nevertheless service is top notch as ever, and I can imagine it being a very safe choice for the Japanese older travellers who need to watch their spending a bit yet still want the obligatory Japanese service and quality.
After leaving my bag I went for some lunch at the station and then back to the hotel to unpack, change clothes and check on news & e-mail on my laptop. A little rest was also welcome, never have been able to sleep in planes. Tonight The Netherlands play Brazil in the World Cup for 3rd place, I’m not going to see it though. Can’t be bothered.
For afternoon ‘entertainment’ I decide to walk down to the city center, taking a left at the big intersection towards the river Asanogawa and the biggest geisha district, Higashi-Chaya. Although I’ve been to Kanazawa before for a day or 2, I’ve never been there before. Too focused on the castle, Kenrokuen (兼六園) and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art I guess.
The weather is gorgeous and the sun plays shady games on the traditional buildings in Higashi-Chaya.
to be continued