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Rainy Nights And Solemn Gardens In Kanazawa

Updated on September 7, 2016
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Japanophile Cedric survived 10 solo trips to Japan. His visits now focus on discovering the country’s lesser known attractions.

Previously, I wrote about how rainy weather dampened my visit to Japan's iconic Fushimi Inari shrine. Such horrible weather persisted throughout the rest of that trip. The evening after the Fushimi episode, I arrived in Kanazawa in the midst of another heavy downpour. With the city being further north, and known for harsh winters, the temperature had also plummeted to near zero.

My disposition wasn't too affected though. By that point, I very much accepted that bad weather was going to stay. I was also determined not to let the rain get to me again and so after dinner at the ryokan, I geared up and ventured out. My destination was Kanazawa's famous Higashi Chaya District and after twenty minutes of trudging in the rain, I reached it with my feet wet, my hands freezing, and not a single other person in sight.

My dinner at the Kanazawa ryokan that evening. It perked me up!
My dinner at the Kanazawa ryokan that evening. It perked me up! | Source

Dang. But ... ...

I've read articles on how wet conditions could have unexpected effects on photography. Deciding there was no better opportunity to experiment, I wiped out my stuff and snapped away. While doing so, I realised that I wasn't alone as I thought. At the other end of the street, other photographers were at work too, several being venerable old gentlemen with wispy white hair. For the next hour, all of us concentrated on our photo-taking, never once speaking with each other. The photos themselves, while not as breath-taking as I hoped they would be, didn't turn out too disappointing either.

The Higashi Chaya district has a certain melancholy and otherworldly feel on a rainy night.
The Higashi Chaya district has a certain melancholy and otherworldly feel on a rainy night. | Source
Not quite what I wanted, but it wasn't too bad either.
Not quite what I wanted, but it wasn't too bad either. | Source
The famous Kenrokuen of Kanazawa City, Japan. Image after photoshop "enhancement."
The famous Kenrokuen of Kanazawa City, Japan. Image after photoshop "enhancement." | Source

As I predicted, rainy days and nights became my constant companion for the rest of that Japan trip. It was a huge nuisance, but at the same time, not without pleasant surprises too. For example, the next I got to see Shirakawa-Go covered in snow. It being April, I had expected sparse fields, not a wintry Christmas scene. At Nagai, I again had the whole stretch of the main street to myself. No tourists straggling past my camera or knocking into me; everyone was indoors because of the minus ten degrees temperature. The only grouch I have, if I must put down one, would be at Kenrokuen. It didn't rain when I visited. But the sky stayed balefully overcast throughout. For that reason, I determined to make a second trip to Kanazawa some day. And when I do so, you bet I'd be studying weather patterns very carefully before leaving home. Very carefully.

Other photos from my Kanazawa visit, including excursions

Most pictures from Kenrokuen didn't turn out entirely bad. Just solemn.
Most pictures from Kenrokuen didn't turn out entirely bad. Just solemn. | Source
Deserted Narai in early April. Narai is one of the preserved postal towns of central Japan.
Deserted Narai in early April. Narai is one of the preserved postal towns of central Japan. | Source
Shirakawa-go, Japan, covered in snow. Farmers here once braved harsh winters year after year. Today, the town is a renowned UNESCO world heritage site, and a tourism magnet.
Shirakawa-go, Japan, covered in snow. Farmers here once braved harsh winters year after year. Today, the town is a renowned UNESCO world heritage site, and a tourism magnet. | Source

Click here to read part 1 of this double post.

What do you do when it rains during your vacation?

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