With the current popularity of Tokyo and Kyoto, first-time visitors to Japan often overlook Kanazawa when planning their trips—though locals and savvy visitors alike are well aware of the immense value in making a stop in Ishikawa Prefecture's capital city. Originally founded as a castle town by the Maeda-clan in the late 16th century, Kanazawa (which translates to "Marsh of Gold") has a plethora of well-known attractions one should be sure to check out when visiting. Among the more notable areas to visit are its well-preserved chaya districts, or "tea house streets" found near the downtown area and along the Asano river. These districts originated during the Edo-era, are incredibly well-preserved, and are highlighted by their sleek, wooden architectural designs and stone-paved streets. These unique areas—now labeled as Japanese cultural assets—mainly served as places of entertainment where locals would dine, drink, and take in geisha performances. It's important to note that these chaya districts are actually divided into three main areas: the largest and most popular, Higashi Chaya-gai (Eastern Tea House Street), Nishi Chaya-gai
(Western Tea House Street), and Kazue-machi Chaya
(named after a Kaga region samurai clan).