■Located in the central part of the mainland of Japan, Kanazawa is the prefectural capital of Ishikawa Prefecture. The southeast area of the city faces the mountains and the northwest area faces the Sea of Japan. The main city area is located between the Saigawa River and the Asanogawa River. Kanazawa Castle Park and Kenrokuen Garden (one of the three greatest gardens in Japan) are located in the center of the city, and they are surrounded by several shopping districts (Korinbo, Kata-machi, Musashi, and Kanazawa Station).
Kanazawa has a population of 464,431 (as of October 2014), and it is the center of the economy and culture of the Hokuriku area (consisting of Toyama Prefecture, Ishikawa Prefecture, and Fukui Prefecture). The shopping districts in the city are crowded with shoppers from various parts of Hokuriku on holidays.
Moreover, Kanazawa is a leading tourist city where 8 million tourists visit every year. It was a great castle town ruled by an influential leader from the 17th century to the second half of the 19th century. Kanazawa has not suffered from any war devastation or big natural disasters. Thus, Kanazawa has maintained rows of historical houses and various traditional handicrafts and traditional performing arts.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen (a high-speed railway line) from Tokyo to Kanazawa will start operating on March 14, 2015, and the further economic development of Kanazawa is expected, along with an increase in the number of sightseers.
The climate of Kanazawa is almost as mild as that of Tokyo or Osaka. There are few days with temperatures below freezing between December and February. However, there are few days of fine weather, and the snow often piles up.