Kanazawa was governed by Maeda family during federal samurai period. The family controlled Kanazawa since 1583 when the first lord Toshiie Maeda came to Kanazawa. During samurai period, Maeda family had a strong power and Kanazawa was a forth biggest city after Tokyo (formerly called Edo), Osaka Kyoto and Nagoya. So lots of samurai are living in Kanazawa.
Naga-machi is the area where mid-classed samurai lived, meanwhile two chief retainers live in the same area though.
After samurai period has finished, samurai lost a job and they left Kanazawa. Kanazawa has declined because that reason. Samurai houses were broken in many areas. Nagamachi was not an exception and the area got smaller.
To keep samurai culture, Nagamachi was restored.
The walls were restored traditional way. The wall is layered – made of bamboo, gravel and mud.
In winter, the walls are covered with straw mats to prevent them from wet snow and ice. Ice is bigger than water, so if the walls get wet in the daytime and get ice at night, the walls will be cracked by ice. This is why the prevention is necessary.
So, you will see a different view if you visit samurai district in winter.
A shallow canal called Onoosho yousui flows south of samurai district. During samurai period, the canal was a kind of moat to protect the residential area. Another function of the canal is to carry supplies from the port.
Things to see
Nomura samurai house
There is a samurai house you can enter by the the canal. The name of the house is “Nomura-ke”. You should not miss this house. I have been there 50 times. I definitely recommend there. They have a samurai armor that is used in a battle in 1580’s. Also they displays many sword. And the garden is beautiful.
Kanazawa shinise kinenkan museum
If you have spare time, it is nice to visit Shinise-kinenkan museum – a pharmacy built in 150 years ago. The museum is about 1minute upstream from samurai house.