Kanazawa photo spots

Located in the Hokuriku region, Kanazawa is one of Japan’s best-preserved ancient cities. Known as the place that “chose art over war,” the city offers unmatched glimpses into Japanese traditions and Edo-period architecture. As the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, the city’s train station is well connected to popular destinations like Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo, the latter being less than a three-hour Shinkansen ride away. 🚅 Kanazawa is a must-visit for those who want to experience the old-world charm of Japan. From beautiful gardens to geisha and samurai districts, you’ll not only immerse yourself in history but also find spectacular backgrounds for photos. To help you uncover all this beauty, this blog brings you the top 10 places to take photos in Kanazawa. 🇯🇵

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  1. Marvel at masterful Japanese landscaping at Kenrokuen Garden.
  2. Step back into an epic time at Kanazawa Castle.
  3. Hear the echoes of geishas and samurai in Higashi Chaya Machi.
  4. See how the great samurai warriors lived in Nagamachi.
  5. Explore the tree-lined, lantern-lit riverside at Kazue Chaya Machi.

1. Kenrokuen Garden

Undoubtedly one of the best places to take photos in Kanazawa, Kenrokuen Garden is considered one of the three great gardens of Japan and serves as a living testament to the country’s fantastic gardening artistry. 🌳

The pristine landscape is dotted with water features, scenic bridges, teahouses and gorgeous flowers and trees – all in perfect balance, as one can expect in Japan, creating a truly awe-inspiring scenery.

Every season brings different spectacles. During spring, the iconic cherry blossoms create a visual extravaganza along the streams on the northeastern side of the garden. 🌸 Autumn brings vibrant fall colours to the cherry and maple trees, and in summer a variety of flowers grow in the garden, making it even more magical. One thing doesn’t change, though: the profound sense of tranquillity you’ll feel visiting this Japanese marvel. 😌

2. Kanazawa Castle

Located across from Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa Castle has been an important historical landmark in the city for almost 300 years. 🏯 Once the seat of the powerful Maeda Family, its sight truly transports visitors back in time and provides majestic backdrops for photo sessions.

Surrounding the castle is the Kanazawa Castle Park, an urban oasis with some impressive structures, such as the imposing Sanjikken Nagaya armoury and the Kahoku-mon and Ishikawa-mon gates. Equally remarkable and beautiful is the area with two turrets and a storehouse that runs between them – a truly eye-catching corner that evokes the grandeur of the past. While exploring, don’t skip the Gyokusen Inmaru Garden, which boasts idyllic walking paths and lovely ponds. 😉

Extra Fly Tip: Just outside Kanazawa Castle Park, you’ll find the Oyama Shrine, dedicated to a member of the Maeda Clan and featuring a photogenic gate that blends European, Japanese and Chinese styles. Also close by are the D.T. Suzuki Museum, honouring the life and works of one of Japan’s most prominent Buddhist philosophers, and the incredible 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, home to the Instagram sensation, “Swimming Pool.” 💦

3. Higashi Chaya Machi

Kanazawa is home to not one but three well-preserved teahouse and geisha districts. Higashi Chaya District in the Higashiyama area is the largest, a place that echoes the elegance of a bygone era and has exquisite places to take photos in Kanazawa. Once an entertainment area for merchants and samurai, today the quarter’s stone pathways are lined with picturesque wooden houses where you’ll find lovely cafes and shops selling traditional crafts such as gold leaf products, a specialty of Kanazawa. ✨

Some of the charming tea houses, like the Shima Teahouse, not only feature beautiful traditional architecture but are magnificent spots to see geisha performances – an unforgettable way to experience the richness of this uniquely Japanese tradition. 😍

4. Nagamachi

A visit to Nagamachi, also known as the Samurai District, is another great opportunity to immerse yourself in Japan’s graceful and visually appealing heritage. In this part of town, you can see traditional wooden samurai houses showcasing austere elegance, feudal gardens with ponds and scenic views and the gorgeous, rustic, clay walls that surround them – a visual feast of Japanese aesthetics! 🎌

Some highlights along the quaint cobblestone streets include Nomura-ke, a restored samurai residence exhibiting the lifestyle and artifacts of samurai warriors, and Kaga Hanshi, a preserved rowhouse that hides a dazzling strolling garden. Around the district, you’ll also find amazing places to take photos in Kanazawa, from lovely canals, cafes and restaurants where you can grab a matcha or a Japanese sweet and simply relax, letting the environment inspire you. 🍵 🍡

5. Kazue Chaya Machi 

Along the south bank of the Asano River, Kanazawa’s Kazue Chaya Machi is another famous geisha district in town. This one is smaller and more secluded when compared to Higashi Chaya Machi. However, it is still teeming with charming alleyways lined with traditional Japanese buildings, local eateries, teahouses and a delightful surprise: here and there, you might hear the shamisen, a traditional instrument, being played. 🎶

A walk along the cobbled riverside street adorned with gorgeous trees and lanterns is a must if you want to feel the gentle pace of life in this part of town. 🏮 Don’t forget to cross the Naka-no Hashi Bridge, a slightly arched wooden bridge that still retains that lovely Edo-period allure. In spring, the bridge is a popular spot for watching the cherry blossoms that line the riverbank. It also makes for one of the most stunning places to take photos in Kanazawa. 👌 

Extra Fly Tip: Also worth a visit is the third geisha district, Nishi Chaya District. Nearby is Kanazawa’s famous Myōryū-ji, known in English as Ninja Temple because of its deceptive defences and many traps. 😮

Capturing Memories in Kanazawa

When you visit Kanazawa, that old-world charm is all around, but the modern side of Japan is also alive and well in the city through incredible entertainment venues, trendy spots and top-notch contemporary art museums.

Here are some extra tips to make your Kanazawa trip more special:

  • Visit Omicho Market: Kanazawa’s largest fresh food market is just a stone’s throw from Kanazawa Station. This vibrant local market is home to popular eateries where you can indulge in mind-blowing Japanese cuisine. 🍣
  • Rent a Kimono: To further immerse yourself in old traditions, rent a kimono from one of the rental shops found all around the city – this is a great tip for what to wear in Japan during a photoshoot. 🎎
  • Stay in a Ryokan: Spend the night in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn featuring tatami mat rooms, communal baths and traditional meals. 🍱


Planning a trip to Japan? Check out these Japan travel tips. Are you also exploring Tokyo? Get inspired with our picks of the top 10 places to take photos in Tokyo. Wherever you go, count on our local Flytographers. They are based in 350+ destinations around the world and will work their magic to capture memorable moments for you. 💙