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The Sun'll Come Out...

Since we arrived in Kanazawa bright and early in the morning (and mostly awake, no guarantees on THAT accord), Ryo and I had an entire day to explore the city. Ryo's friend who goes to Kanazawa University and has a car picked us up from the station and drove us to his apartment, where we dropped off luggage before taking a bus back to the main part of the city. It was a scorching 90 degrees without a cloud in sight, so after grabbing a quick bite at Starbucks of COURSE we decided to do the outdoor activities. We walked a good mile and a half from the Starbucks to Kanazawa Castle and the neighboring Kenrokuen Garden, which is one of the "three great gardens" in Japan.

Kanazawa Castle is built up on a hill and according to my pamphlet dates back to 1546. Apparently it also functioned as the campus for Kanzawa University until 1995--wouldn't THAT have been an inspiring place to study! The grounds were mostly deserted, except for a group of women sitting under some trees sketching. There was more open-space than actual building, and it was easy to imagine the time when samurai and horsemen would have roamed the grounds.

From there, we crossed a bridge over the road to Kenrokuen Garden. This was much more crowded, filled with school groups and people just wandering about, enjoying the ponds and the trees. I could try and describe it to you, but I don't think I could do it justice.

I can't compare it with the other two "great gardens" but it was a place of great beauty, one that obviously transcends the seasons. If I ever return to Kanazawa  I hope it's at a (slightly less hot) different time so I can appreciate the different moods of the garden.

One fun encounter: when Ryo and I had stopped under an awning to take a break from the sun, there was a man (late 30s, maybe) who was doing a watercolor painting of the view in front of us. We talked a little bit, and it turns out that he was French (with impeccable English). When it came up that he spoke other languages, one of which included Dutch, he and Ryo started talking in German. The world is so small sometimes. A Frenchman and a Japanese speaking German in on of Japan's premium gardens. Who would have thought.

After this, Ryo's friend met up with us and we drove about 35 minutes to the ocean, where we hung about on the shore dipping our feet in the water.
And for all my sun time I have a lovely, slightly-red glow to show for it.


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