Kanazawa has a number of fascinating little neighbourhoods, one of which is the Nagamachi Samurai District.
Not too far from Kanazawa Castle (see previous post), Nagamachi is where samurai and their families lived while serving the castle and its inhabitants. With narrow roads and small, walled houses, this is an area that should be explored on foot as many of the small lanes are pedestrian access only.
A number of the old samurai houses have been converted into museums, some of which are free to enter. Inside are artifacts about how these families used to live, as well as a collection of intricate samurai swords and other weapons.
The Nomura house is one of the more impressive ones, once inhabited by a high ranking samurai solider. The house had large tatami rooms, stunning gardens with waterfalls and ponds, and entertaining areas.
In comparison, the mud-wall houses of the ‘Ashigaru’ or ‘foot soldiers’ were very simple and humble, reflecting their lower rank.
Nagamachi is a somewhat small area, which can be walked in about an hour. It is worth strolling around to see the unique architecture of the samurai district, going into the museums, and seeing a true piece of Kanazawa’s living history.