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Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle is a magnificent fortress located in the heart of Kanazawa City. It has been a significant historical landmark since the 16th century.

By Abhijit Sen

Japanese castles are an essential part of Japan’s cultural heritage. Although many people associate them with imposing structures and tall towers, that isn’t the case for some. An example of such a castle is Kanazawa Castle, which is unique in its features. Located in Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture, the castle was built in 1580 by Lord Maeda Toshiie. It served as the residence of the Maeda family, who governed the Kaga Domain for over 280 years.

Kanazawa Castle Restoration

Kanazawa Castle

Photo by: PIXTA/ TAKEZO In 2008, Kanazawa Castle was designated as a National Historic Site.

Despite facing numerous devastating fires over the years, some of the castle’s structures have been reconstructed to their original glory. The castle was fortified with moats and loopholes in the outer wall, and its roof tiles were made of weathered lead. During the Maeda family’s reign, the castle was a symbol of their power and wealth. Unfortunately, the castle’s central keep was destroyed by fire in 1759.

The park’s most iconic features are the two towering turrets: Hishi-Yagura and Tsuzuki-Yagura, which were constructed using traditional woodworking techniques. These turrets and the connecting storehouse have been equipped with modern amenities such as elevators and stairlifts to ensure accessibility for all. Visitors can also explore the castle’s stone walls, which were built in different periods, with some dating back over 400 years. Before its restoration, Kanazawa Castle served different purposes, such as a Japanese army base and a campus for Kanazawa University. In 2008, it was designated as a National Historic Site.

Gyokusen’inmaru Garden and Kenrokuen Garden

Kanazawa Castle

Photo by: PIXTA/ yoshihiro52 A popular cherry blossom viewing spot.

Kanazawa Castle is home to the Gyokusen’inmaru Garden. The garden is a magnificent example of Japanese garden design, which was built in 1634 by the Maeda family but was destroyed at the end of the feudal period. Thankfully, it was reconstructed in 2015 and now offers a magnificent light show after sunset. Kanazawa Castle is also next to Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens, maintained by the Maeda family for generations.

Kanazawa Castle Park is a vast area with numerous spots ideal for experiencing hanami (cherry blossom viewing). Many people love to witness the iconic view of the castle framed by beautiful cherry blossoms. One of the best spots to enjoy this view is from Ishikawa-mon Gate, where cherry trees line the walkway connecting Kenrokuen Garden to the castle grounds. Another picturesque sakura (cherry blossom) view can be found along the Uchibori inner moat, where the castle’s stone walls provide a stunning backdrop to the cherry blossom trees, which are reflected on the mirror-like water surface of the moat.

Overall, visiting Kanazawa Castle is a great experience, whether you want to enjoy the stunning gardens and cherry blossom views or learn about the fascinating history of Japan’s past.

Things To Know


From March 1 through October 15 the castle is open from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

From October 16 through February 28/29 the castle is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

To enter, tickets for adults are ¥320 and ¥100 for children up to 17 years old.

Places of interest

Oyama Jinja Shrine

It is situated opposite the Nezumitamon Gate of Kanazawa Castle. It is dedicated to Kanazawa’s founder, Maeda Toshiie. The shrine’s main gate combines Japanese, Chinese, and European design elements, along with beautiful Dutch stained-glass windows.

How To Get There


By train

To reach Kanazawa Castle from Kanazawa station, take a bus to Kenroku-en shita and then walk to the Ishikawa-mon gate. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Kanazawa station to Hirosaka stoppage and then walk to Kanazawa Castle Park Imori-zaka gate.

Where To Stay

Kanazawa Hakuchoro Hotel Sanraku
  • 6-3 Marunochi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa, 920-0937 Japan
  • ¥21,090 - ¥26,220
  • 4.59/5 (2,357 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
Uan Kanazawa
  • 6-30 Oyamamachi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa, 920-0918 Japan
  • ¥21,150 - ¥23,400
  • 4.36/5 (138 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
Henn na Hotel Kanazawa Korinbo
  • 1-2-32 Korimbo, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa, 920-0961 Japan
  • ¥6,460 - ¥17,400
  • 4.32/5 (328 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
The Hotel Sanraku Kanazawa
  • 1-1-1 Owaricho, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa, 920-0902 Japan
  • ¥22,325 - ¥64,030
  • 4.73/5 (254 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
Tokyu Stay Kanazawa
  • 4-50 Minamicho, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa, 920-0919 Japan
  • ¥8,755 - ¥18,715
  • 4.45/5 (464 reviews)
  • 0.5 km

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