Sightseeing in Kanazawa with kimono rental in Omicho Market and Higashi Chaya - Vikingess Voyages

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sightseeing in Kanazawa with kimono rental in Omicho Market and Higashi Chaya

Kanazawa is a city in Ishikawa prefecture known for its rich Japanese culture. Some people refer to the city as “little Kyoto”, and both the architecture and atmosphere of the city can remind visitors of the former Japanese capital. You can find many well preserved old districts within the city, making Kanazawa an ideal destination as a less tourist-filled alternative to Kyoto.
One way to get in the right mood while walking in the old streets of Kanazawa is to rent a kimono for the day. There are a couple of companies offering kimono rental in Kanazawa, but we had chosen to reserve with Kimono Rental Wargo, a Kyoto-based company I've previously used for sightseeing in Asakusa. The reservation was made in advance online, so it was easy to ensure that we got our preferred time.
After arriving at Kanazawa station by the shinkansen (bullet train) we took the taxi to the shopping mall Korinbo Tokyu Square where the store was located. It took us around 10 minutes to get there, and the price of the ride was around 1500 yen. The kimono rental place was situated in the ground floor of the mall, just by the Seseragi river.

They had some English speaking staff at the store so my mother and grandmother were happy they could make themselves understood. After a quick explanation we got to choose our own kimono, obi belt and a small handbag to bring our valuables with us. You can see some of the items you get to choose from below:

After we had picked our kimonos and the other extra items we were taken to the back of the store where they helped putting on our kimonos in the changing room.

Above: A couple of the kanzashi hairpins you can choose between for your hairdo.

It took about 45 minutes to get everything done, including the hairdo. Once we were finished we placed our valuables into the small kimono bags we had borrowed, and the rest of our luggage we left at the store (we only had a couple of smaller bags with us though).

Getting around Kanazawa
There is a city bus going around Kanazawa to all the major destinations in the city, and if you have bought Kanazawa's 500-yen day pass you can travel with the city busses all day without any extra charge. This pass can be bought at Kanazawa station and some designated places such as the city's major hotels, so if you're planning on seeing as much as possible in a day then this pass is an absolute must. We bought ours from the hotel located in the the same building as the kimono rental place.

The Omicho Market
The first place we visited was the Omicho market where we had lunch. Most of the restaurants had long queues so it took us a while before we could find a place to eat. It is also worth to notice that prices are quite touristy inside the market area so if you end up eating here you'll most likely have to pay 1,200+ yen for lunch. You can also buy small food items such as scallops, but the price per item is also rather expensive. Either way the market is a nice place to visit just to experience the local environment up close.

Above: Notice the gold on my kaizendon lunch. Kanazawa is known for its gold leaf, and you can find various products with gold flakes on them.

The Higashi Chaya District
After the visit to the Omicho market we took the bus again, this time to go to the Higashi Chaya district. This area is known for its beautiful traditional buildings, and if you're lucky you might also be able to see geishas here.
Above: 3 generations dressed up in kimono with my grandmother looking like a real gangster geisha!

Before checking out the old streets we took some time to relax by the river, conveniently situated right by the buss stop. And while one is on holiday.. It is also nice to check out the local beer! After having enjoyed some fruit we bought at the Omicho Market by the river our next stop was the brewery Oriental Brewing where we had a cold glass of refreshment.
Above: Enjoying a glass of local beer

Finally it was time to check out Higashi Chaya. Chaya litterarly means "tea house", and along the small cozy streets here you can find a number of petite and elegant tea stores. You also find many stores selling handicrafts, so if you're looking for pottery or other Kanazawa souvenirs you might be able to find something of interest here.

Above: Hyakuman-san, or Mr. One Million, is the mascot (yurukyara) of Ishikawa. I've previously written a blogpost about him here.

Once you get tired of walking around you can find a small tea house or coffee shop to sit down for a second and relax. We found that most of the places were rather crowded (this was on a Saturday though), but eventually we ended up at Higashiyama Ikkyu where we could order a wagashi (Japanese traditional sweet) and a cup of coffee.
After a long day of sightseeing it was time to return the kimonos to Wargo. The kimonos had to be returned by 17:30, and since we started our sightseeing before noon we certainly got the most out of our time wearing them. It had been fun to walk around in the streets of Kanazawa wearing kimono, especially since we received a lot of positive comments from locals who seemed to enjoy the sight of foreigners wearing their traditional gown. Kanazawa was also a beautiful destination that I would love to visit again at a later occasion!

 Basic Info
  • ・Kimono Rental: Kimono Rental Wargo - The Kanazawa Kourinbou Store
  • ・Address:〒920-0961 Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa, Korinbo, 2 Chome−1−1
  • ・Homepage:
  • ・Price: From 2500 yen/person and upwards depending on your kimono plan
  • ・Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m. (you have to return the kimono by 17:30)
  • ・Access: 10 minutes by city bus. From JR Kanazawa Station East Exit you can get off at the "Korinbo" bus stop; the shop is located on the ground floor of Korinbo Tokyu Square along the Korinbo street.

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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