Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa-jo Castle

Kanazawa Castle was built in 1583 by the powerful Maeda clan and is located in Ishikawa Prefecture. It is right next to Kenrokuen Garden, which originally formed the private outer garden of the castle. Kanazawa Castle is classified as a hilltop castle, and has some beautiful stone walls and distinctive white lead tiles that grace the roof. Legend says that in times of siege, these lead tiles could be melted down and used as ammunition.

Main Features of Kanazawa Castle

Hishi Yagura Turret

The Hishi Yagura Turret overlooks the northern approach to the castle.

Hishi Yagura Turret

Gojikken Nagaya Storehouse

The Gojikken Nagaya is a long storehouse that runs between two turrets – The Hishi Yagura and The Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura.

Gojikken Nagaya Storehouse

Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura Turret

The Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura Turret guards the entrance to the central area of the castle grounds. It is three stories high.

Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura Turret

Hashizume ichi no mon Gate

Entrance gate to the central area of the castle grounds.

Hashizume-mon Gate

Ishikawa-mon Gate

The Ishikawa-mon Gate was built in 1788 as a rear gate to the castle. It features two distinctive styles of stonework and has been designated an Important National Cultural Asset. It faces one of the entrances to Kenrokuen Garden.

Ishikawa-mon Gate

The Nagaya and Yagura Turret

Here you can see the two main turrets of Kanazawa Castle – The Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura and The Hishi Yagura.

Nagaya and Yagura Turret

History of Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle was the seat of the power Maeda clan, the ruling daimyo of the area (present day Ishikawa and Toyama Prefectures) from 1583 to the end of the Edo period in 1871. The castle has burnt down a few times through-out its history and the ishikawa-mon Gate is the only surviving original part of the castle.

The castle originally had a large 6 level keep, but this burned down in 1602 and has never been rebuilt.

In recent times there has been a project to rebuild the historic buildings of the former castle. The Hishi Yagura, The Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura Watchtower and The Gojikken Nagaya were the first buildings to be reconstructed. They were completely rebuilt to their original appearance using traditional techniques and materials.

Opening Hours

The Kanazawa Castle Grounds are open from
7:00 am to 6:00 pm – 1 March to 15 October
8:00 am to 5:00 pm – 16 October to 28 February

The Gojukken Nagaya Storehouse and Turrets is open from
9:00 am to 4: 30 pm

Entry Fee

Admission is Free for the Castle Grounds
Entry to the Gojukken Nagaya Storehouse and Turrets is 300 yen

How to Get There

Take one of the Hokutetsu buses from Kanazawa Station (East Exit bus stop 3) to Kenrokuen and get off at Kenrokuen-shita bus stop. It takes around 15 minutes and costs 200 yen. Alternatively, take a JR bus from Kanazawa Station (East Exit bus stop 4) there are 2-3 buses per hour and they are covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

Address: 1-1 Marunouchi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken 920-0937

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Best Time to Go

Kanazawa Castle is beautiful in winter when the white snow matches the white lead roof tiles. It can be seen in all seasons along with Kenrokuen Garden.

Tip: The main sights of Kanazawa can be seen a day, it also makes a great side trip along with Fukui Prefecture.

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John Asano (100 Posts)

John Asano is a blogger, traveler and freelance writer living in Gifu, Japan. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, he has lived in Japan now for over 12 years. John loves nothing better than picking up his camera and exploring all the amazing sights and attractions that Japan has to offer. He writes about the must see sights and attractions in Japan at Japan Travel Advice, as well as about Japanese culture and modern life on his blog Japan Australia. You can read more of his work at http://japan-australia.blogspot.com/