October 1, 2017
For sights in Kanazawa see the previous post.
This Western style hotel is a nice break from a series of ryokan. Not that I don’t like the ryokan experience but sometimes it’s nice to have a bed available all day and not have to lounge on the floor.
The rooms and bathroom are small by Western standards, but the bed, a queen, is very comfortable – firm with a soft top. Or it might be that after several nights of futons it feels good to sleep on a Western bed again.
Amenities include a good selection of bath products, water boiler and fridge. Tea and coffee are available in the lobby to bring to your room. There is also a coin operated washing machines on the 2nd and 5th floor.
We did not get the hotel breakfast. There is a Doutor coffee shop across the street that opens at 7AM. Unfortunately they are light on traditional Western breakfast fare and serve more of a lunch selection all day. A 7-Eleven is right next door to the hotel for all your snack, alcohol and money needs. There is also a Startbuck’s, down the street, across from the Omi-cho fish market, but I don’t know what time they open or what kind of food they have.
Dinner in Katamachi. Following the advice given in Lonely Planet, we headed south to the eating and drinking district of Kanazawa. At first we wandered the streets to the east of the main street, Hyakumangoku-dori, and didn’t find much enticing. The area gets seedier as you get closer to the river. Cutting over to the west side of Hyakumangoku-dori did not improve matters. Except for a few places things looked pretty dead at 7 on a Saturday night.
We finally stumbled on Kiganeya, just off the main drag with a poster of fish on the sidewalk. We were looking for fish. Downstairs the patrons, all Japanese that we could tell, were happily eating and drinking. Couples are seated at the bar; tables are reserved for larger parties. No problem for us if the fish is good. The front section of the English menu was all meat but the back section was fish. We ordered a sashimi selection, the grilled fish of the day – choice of salmon or tai (sea bream) and a shrimp and pepper dish.
The shashimi was excellent – a generous portion of 3 thick slices each of 5 kinds of very fresh fish.
The shrimp and peppers simmered in oil were an ordering error on my part. While the shrimp was fresh and sweet it was not my favorite dish.
The tai however was grilled heaven on a platter. A weird cut of fish, you have to pick the morsel of fish out between the bony sections, but what tender succulent morsels, some of the best fish I’ve had anywhere. All very reasonable priced – 2000 yen for the shashimi and 800 yen for the grilled tai. Draft beers were 500 yen each.
After dinner we finally stumbled on Kiguramachi which actually has rows of interesting restaurants. Kiguramachi is located east of Hyakumangoku-dori, at the intersection with the 7-Eleven on the southeast corner and McDonalds on the northeast corner.
Dinner in Kirguramachi
On a Sunday evening just before 7 many of the restaurants were closed and the ones that had patrons were pretty full. We were turned down at a couple of placed before we finally got a seat at this place.
Not sure what the name is. It wasn’t a great find so I won’t go to more trouble to figure it out. They had a very nice note at the door saying that their English wasn’t very good but that they will try.
They have an English menu with a variety of dishes. Some of the dishes around 1500 yen like the grilled fish and beef tongue were very small portions for the price.
The tempura was beautifully presented and fresh hot but was not cooked at a high enough temperature to get the coating as crispy as it should be.
Still hungry we ordered the fried chicken – super crispy moist morsels of mostly dark meat.
As we waited we watched the young prep cook dice and slice with precision, first vegies and then a sashimi plate for another customer. The service is very friendly and the atmosphere a tad upscale, but I’d look elsewhere for really good food.
Driving to Kanazawa
We arrived around 2:30PM on a pretty Saturday afternoon in late September. It was an easy drive using Google Maps to the train station where we dropped the car at the Toyota rental office. I recommend looking at Toyota for renting a car in central Honshu. They seem to have the most options and their one way surcharge from Toyama to Kanazawa was only about 30 USD.