Located on Japan’s west coast, Kanazawa is one of the most overlooked cultural destinations in the country. Historically a feudal town with a strong Samurai presence, there is an enormous wealth of history here, which is best discovered in the city’s temples and castles. It’s also a respected art center, and Kanazawa’s museums make sure everything’s showcased in a unique and modern fashion.
Kanazawa is a pleasure to walk around as its main attractions are centerd on the castle and Kenroku-en Garden, whose lakes and bridges lead you to traditional tea houses amidst the flowers. For a more modern take, visit the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. The Chubu region as a whole is rugged and diverse, with working rice paddies, snow-capped Japanese Alps and soothing hot springs. See the infamous snow monkeys bathing near Yudanaka onsen or lap up ultimate luxury at Yamashiro onsen, where you can stay at a traditional ryokan for a taste of Japanese life.