Hello965 friends: KANAZAWA, Japan

KANAZAWA by @Almallaks


Why we chose this city: Simple city, but cool things to see: one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan, an authentic samurai house/museum and a modern art museum. Oh yeah, and a ninja temple. So you can guess what we did there.


Duration: We only stayed one night, which was enough. But, we made sure to leave Kyoto early to make use of our first day in Kanazawa and took the last train the next day to Matsumoto.


Where we stayed: We stayed at the Kanazawa Excel Hotel Tokyu. It is a good hotel and the location was perfect. Walking distance to almost all our attractions. But, you will need to take the bus from the train station to the hotel. Just ask the information desk at the station and you’ll be good to go. Note: all directions below are made based on this hotel.

  • Things to do/see in Kanazawa:
    • One of the most beautiful gardens in Japan: Kenrokuen Garden


    • While walking from the hotel to the garden, you will pass the modern art museum on your right hand side. It will be hard to miss. Stunning building.20140329_113719


    • The samurai district is on the opposite side of the hotel. Ask for directions. But, it is a pleasant walk and the tour of the house does not take long. Very interesting to see.20140329_121350
    • What’s even better than the samurai house, is the ninja temple called Ninjadera. This needs to be booked in advance so make sure to ask your hotel to arrange it for you!
  • Shopping in Kanazawa:
    • We weren’t there long so we didn’t get around to shopping. BUT, there is a HUGE department store literally across the street from the hotel should you feel the need to spend some Yen.
  • Food in Kanazawa:
    • On your way to the garden, on your right hand side, you will pass by a small shop. They sell Melon bread with ice cream. MAKE SURE YOU TRY THIS. And don’t worry, you can’t miss it, the heavenly smell will get you.
    • If you take a left after you exit the hotel and then a right, you will be in a small street. On your right hand side, there will be a small restaurant called The Cottage. It’s a husband and wife run place. You will love it. And the menu consists of whatever Tony feels like making that day. If you go, please tell Tony and Momo that Saad and Noor from Kuwait say hi! And make sure to try Tony’s tiramisu if it’s available… to die for!

      The Cottage

      The Cottage


[JR Train: (Kanazawa to Matsumoto) – 5h 15m – 1 transfer]


by @Almallaks

Hello965 Friends: KYOTO, JAPAN

By @Almallaks

Why we chose this city: Kyoto is the old capital of Japan and if you like history and sightseeing, this is really a city you have to visit. It is filled with beautiful shrines and monuments. There is really a lot to see. It also known to the place where geishas reside.


Duration: Essentially we stayed 2 nights. BUT, we recommend that you stay at least 2 additional nights (total of 4) depending on how much you want to see. There is A LOT to explore in this city and it may take a while to get from one place to the other (especially by train or on foot), so it really depends on you and how much you want to see.


Where we stayed: We stayed at the Best Western Hotel Kyoto. It is a nice hotel and the location was great too in between the markets and main shopping streets.

  • Things to do/see in Kyoto:
    • Monuments and shrines are endless – you must research in advance -but because we didn’t have a lot of time, we picked the top ones we wanted to see. They are:
      • Fushimi Inari Shrine (featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha). This will easily take you 2-3 hours to finish if you plan to walk through the whole shrine.


      • Kinkakuji (Golden Temple) – so, so gorgeous.


      • Arashiyama Bamboo Groves: this was like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Very cool.


    • Make sure to walk around in the Gion district of Kyoto, and ask your hotel for recommendations in this area. It has restaurants, cafes, stores, art, you name it. This is the best place to see geishas – especially in the evening.


  • Shopping in Kyoto:
    • Shijō Kawaramachi – this is the main shopping street in the area and it intersects with many others. So just pick a day and walk around to explore the area. There is really a lot to see.
    • If you take a right after exiting the hotel, there is a whole area of shopping in the back. Really nice stores. There was even one store where you can get new prescription glasses made in 15 minutes. No, we’re not lying, because we actually did it. Japan will blow your mind.
  • Food in Kyoto:
    • Kiyamachi Street. Lovely place. Lots of restaurants.
    • Chaochao: We loved this dumplings place on Kiyamachi Street. Ask your hotel for directions. Simple and delicious food. They even have a dessert dumpling (chocolate on the inside, ice cream on the side, YUMMY!)


    • British Baaba: We had breakfast at this European pancakes place. I know I know, we’re in Japan – but hey, it’s breakfast! Amazing little restaurant with the coziest interior and the most decadent pancakes you’ll ever see. 1 minute walk from the Best Western Hotel Kyoto.


[JR Train: (Kyoto to Kanazawa) – 2h 7m – 0 transfer]


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