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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain


JAPAN | Tuesday, 6 August 2019 | Views [123]

Newlyweds in traditional garb, Kanazawa

Newlyweds in traditional garb, Kanazawa

SOMETHING ABOUT THE SHORE EXCURSIONS IN KANAZAWA seemed familiar.  So we checked back in our journals and, yes, we had been here five years earlier.  In 2014 I wrote in the first “vagabonds:”

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  Kanazawa Station                            Traditional house

  The rice was already harvested and stored, possibly expedited by the typhoon threat, and stubbly fields were all that remained.  The trees are showing the faintest hint of autumn, pastels of pink, ocher and saffron.  Goldenrod and the flowers of late summer brighten the scene from the train window.  Another “local,” not the overpriced bullet train express — this time from Kyoto to Kanazawa on Honshu’s west coast.

  The Dormy Inn is perfectly located a stone’s throw from the train/bus station and a brisk walk is all it takes to get to the castle and Kenroku-en Garden, one of the top three gardens in Japan.  It was crowded on this sunny Sunday but somehow, like many places in Japan, still serene.   

  Yesterday we took a bus ride to see the gassho thatched farmhouses of Shirakawa-go, an hour and a half from Kanazawa.  Although it is still a working farming village, Ogimachi, the most accessible of the gassho villages, is definitely for tourists.  This is a chance to glimpse a bit of rural life rarely seen in modern Japan.  I am not sure how the locals put up with everyone peeping into their traditional homes, but they seem to accept it.  That it was moved to its present location in the 60s when the nearby dam flooded the valley it sat in may factor into their acceptance. 


              Changing Yen

Buses shuttled us from the pier to the train station where we skipped the loop bus and instead walked to the teahouse district in the old city.  On the way we stopped at a bank to change one of our 10,000 yen for smaller bills.  First I had to fill out a form like a deposit slip for the bank manager, the only one who spoke English.  But a $92 bill was too much for convenience stores to handle.  

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    Fake Geishas . . .                         Authentic Teahouse

My Kindle edition of Lonely Planet suggests that Higash Chaya teahouse district is a less crowded alternative to Kyoto.  If only. . . .  Kyoto remains untouched as my favorite city in Japan, but Higash Chaya made a decent substitute on this steam-bath of a day.   Even if they no longer sell tea, many of the buildings — some 400 years old — are original.  The geisha wannabes add color if not authenticity to the setting.  

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   Say a little prayer                                Samurai District

The historic Nagamachi Samurai district required a hop onto the loop bus and the air-con alone was worth the 200 yen charge.  Thanks to oversight or poor aim, WW II bombs never fell on Kanazawa, otherwise these traditional buildings never would have survived.


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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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