Ishikawa Prefecture lies on the west coast of Japan's main island, a part of Hokuriku in the larger Chubu, or "central", region. It is best-known perhaps for its capital city of Kanazawa, an old castle town rich in history and natural beauty and surprisingly compact in size (a good thing -- more on this later). Kanazawa offers a range of sightseeing destinations and cultural experiences -- not to mention the tasty food -- that will delight history buffs and artisans alike.
Ishikawa Prefecture is not just rich in history; it is also historically rich. The prosperous Kaga Domain -- led by the Maeda clan -- which occupied this area during the Edo period precipitated the development of an array of fine arts, crafts, and products. On a recent trip to Kanazawa, I experienced a few highlights including Kanazawa gold leaf, Kutaniyaki porcelain and Ohi-style pottery, and locally brewed sake.
Behind me, I could hear the train departing. About four-and-a-half hours earlier, I had set out from bustling Tokyo Station. Now, I was virtually the only person at the ticket gate. This was fortunate as I struggled to coax my suitcase through the turnstile; the burgeoning bag bouncing off the barriers like a bowling ball down a bumper-clad lane.
Built in 1890 (the 23rd year of the Meiji Era), the venerable Fukuzumiro's entire complex is a registered cultural landmark. The area I will be specifically detailing is a Japanese-style room located on the mountain stream side of the building. Outside its window, the view of luxuriant greenery and the rushing river unfolds before my very eyes.