We arrived late at night in Kanazawa after a full day of train travel. Our host met us at the train station to drive us to her house.

It had been raining and the roads glistened with reflections of the street lights. The house was located along a massive highway in the outskirts of the city. Explorations later on during our stay suggested that the surrounding area used to be mostly agricultural before the asphalt covered the rice fields.

After struggling out of our shoes, we slid our feet into the sea of rubber slippers and shuffled inside. A couple was playing table tennis in the dimly lit, vast entrance hall. It turned out that they were from Belgium – what were the chances of meeting Belgians in the suburbs of Kanazawa?

We were shown to our room which was at the end of a corridor. After some confusion about whether we could wear the slippers into the rest of the room, we dropped our bags onto the tatami-matted floor and briefly stuck our heads outside the sliding doors.

It was almost pitch black in the garden. The air was thick with the earthy fragrance of summer rain.

The building used to be a ryokan before it was sold to the family currently living in it. Despite being continually inhabited, the building looked forlorn.

The humidity in Kanazawa seemed to have left its mark. The house was falling apart in some places – in particular, the roof – and looked in need of restoration.

It would be a shame if the building was left to crumble from neglect as we could see that the building had a solid structure and nice design. It was strange to feel this way about a building. But I couldn’t help it as the house held much potential, especially given the wonderful garden.

As we would discover to our delight over the next days, the Japanese garden in the inner courtyard was lovely and the nicest part of the house. Imagine waking up to birdsong and insects chirping, sipping some hot tea while observing the fat drops of water slowly gather at the tips of the branches and leaves…

This is one of the few places where I’ve stayed during my travels that I remain undecided on whether or not to recommend to other people.

If you are going to be in Kanazawa – which is absolutely worth a visit, if only for the beautiful Kenrokuen garden – and are interested to stay here, please feel free to drop me a line and I can provide you with more information.

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3 replies on “Vignettes of Japan #9: The remains of a ryokan in Kanazawa

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