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3-Day Model Trip Day3 / Wajima - Kanazawa

3-Day Model Trip Day3 / Hokuriku / Wajima - Kanazawa

As we've come to a hot spring area, let's make the most of the hot spring baths straight away. One of the pleasures of coming to a hot spring is getting up early for a morning bath. And because we've risen early, today we're going to take a look at the Wajima Asaichi - Morning market.

Wajima's morning market is said to originate in the Nara Period (710 - 784), and started when people living on the coastal side of Noto-hanto Peninsula and those living on the mountain side brought along their specialty products to exchange here. Now it has become one of Wajima's most famous places, and is visited by lots of tourists. At around seven o'clock in the morning, both sides of a street called "Asaichi-dori (Morning Market Avenue)" are lined with outdoor stalls selling all sorts of seafood, dried foods, vegetables and fruit, as well as chopsticks and bowls painted with Wajima lacquer and other handmade craft products. Some of the foodstuffs are so rare that only local people know how to eat them, so if you are curious, you might try asking the seller how to cook the food. This kind of communication with the sellers is one thing that makes markets like Asaichi such fun. In the past, I have bought all my souvenirs by talking with the old women who sell things in the market. Asaichi is open all morning.

Wajima is famous for more than just Asaichi. Wajima Nuri originates here and is one of the best-known kinds of lacquer ware in Japan. It is made with between 70 and 150 processes, and is not only elegant but also hardwearing. The lacquer's calm, refined polish and the bright gold and silver lacquer work make Wajima Nuri wares seem more like works of art than eating utensils. You can see lacquer ware presented as art in both the Wajima Shikki Kaikan (Wajima Lacquer Ware Center) and the Wajima Shitsugei Bijutsukan (Wajima Lacquer Craft Art Gallery). We have chosen to come to the Lacquer Ware Center, because it is close to Asaichi. The second floor of the building is a display room, and contains lacquer ware as old as the Azuchi Momoyama Period (1573 - 1598). As well as eating utensils, it also contains other objects for daily use and weapons. This shows that people have loved lacquer ware for a long time, especially the richer classes like samurai and merchants. There is also a video showing the manufacturing process for Wajima Nuri, which enables you to glimpse this traditional technique. Wajima Nuri is expensive, but there are also affordable items such as chopsticks and spoons. Why don't you treat yourself, and buy something as a souvenir of this trip. Every time you use it, you might remember the scenery and people of Noto.

Traveling through Hokuriku, it is surprising what a rich variety of aspects the region has. All of these are full of surprises and provide an enriching experience: the magnificent natural scenery of Tojimbo; Eihei-ji Temple, where monks still train according to strict Buddhist precepts; the history and culture of the castle town Kanazawa; and the contact with local people at Asaichi Morning market. In a trip of three days and two nights, we have only be able to touch a small part of all this, but it was a very satisfying trip.