Historic Kanazawa is a firm rival to Kyoto with its collection of jewel-like temples, castles and Japanese gardens, with refreshingly small crowds when you hit the sights. The city’s rich history and bright and vivid present are best exemplified by the legendary Ōmichō market, which has been crammed with traders since at least the Edo period. Places to stay range from nostalgic ryokans to gleaming design hotels. Opt for one of the top picks below, bookable on Culture Trip.
Enveloped by a rare patch of woodland still clinging on in the heart of the city, this deeply dignified traditional inn feels like an escape across the centuries. Tatami rooms open onto forest views, and every bedroom has a unique feel, thanks to antique furniture, painted paper screens and traditional fabrics. Add fine Hokuriku cuisine and an on-site teahouse, and it’s the quintessential ryokan experience.
The philosophy of this downtown hotel is to function as a modern village square, connecting guests with locals and the city. That means excellent concierge services, delicious local food and smart, restrained rooms themed around the traditions of Kaga Yuzen silk dyeing. Each room is decorated in one of the Kaga Gosai, the five traditional colours that decorate Kanazawa kimonos. It’s a modern creation but unmistakably Japanese, down to the traditional bathhouse, and right in the thick of things near the castle.
Kanazawa’s landmark Kanazawa-jō Castle and Kenroku-en Garden are just a few minutes’ amble from this dynamic, modern hotel on Kanazawa’s main strip. It’s smartly designed, with mood-setting lighting, shimmering fabrics and mural-style headboards, plus swankier concept rooms inspired by Kanazawa landmarks. Modern artworks fill the futuristic lobby, there’s a bathhouse – of course – and the restaurant looks out onto an atrium garden.
Close to the Sai River, within walking distance of the parklands flanking Kanazawa-jō Castle, Agora Kanazawa blends sleek modernity with traditional ryokan motifs. The minimalist, modernist rooms have reinvented shōji screens, zaisu chairs (with no legs) and mattresses on raised platforms, but there are also Western-style rooms for the uninitiated. It’s very understated, very elegant, and there’s an enticing bathhouse and spa and a carmine-red restaurant inspired by traditional teahouse design.
So close to Kanazawa-jō Castle you can almost hear the arrows swoosh overhead, KKR Hotel Kanazawa is a sculptural concrete monument, full of airy public spaces and compact rooms that come in international and Japanese styles. It’s the location that steals the show here; you’re just minutes from the downtown sights, some of which can be seen from the bedroom windows.
Space isn’t everything – staying at the Kanazawa Capsule Hotel Musashimachi feels a bit like travelling into space, with beds in modernist pods set in futuristic arrays, like suspended animation bays for interstellar travel. Bathroom facilities are shared, but they have to be – the capsule rooms have just enough space for a mattress, TV, a shelf and a coat hanger. It’s very central, and certainly an experience that guests remember.
The Nikko brand is associated with high standards of service, and that’s certainly the case at this soaring hotel tower, almost on top of the train station but a little further from the sights. The high-rise setting means great city views, and the bedrooms have restrained colours, soft sheets and roasted green tea alongside filter coffee. There are multiple restaurants covering diverse cuisines; several take full advantage of those stunning city vistas.
Sarasaro is a very different hotel experience to anything else on offer in Kanazawa. Set in a low-rise, wood-clad building beside the Sai River, this low-key hotel feels like a suburban home; it’s calm, quiet and unpretentious. Rooms are compact, but there are perks: the owner, a former cook, prepares a full Japanese breakfast, and the old town is an easy bus ride from a stop just seconds from the front door.
The robot velociraptors behind reception are the first sign that Henn na Hotel Kanazawa Korimbo is not your average hotel. This offbeat concept hotel near the castle has a thing for technology, with touchscreen consoles in the rooms, vending machines in the lobby and robot-controlled check-in and check-out. Against this backdrop, the friendly restaurant serving homemade soba noodles is a surprisingly human touch.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.