Kanazawa, Noto Peninsula, and Other Cities

Discover secrets on the places in and around Kanazawa City,
where are located on the other side of Japan's east coast!
Jump in a Hokuriku-Shinkansen bullet train at JR Tokyo station, 
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Shrine To Protect Against Evil

In 1599, this shrine “secretly” deified the spirit of the first Maeda lord. Located north east of Kanazawa castle, an ominous direction according to Onmyodo mysticism, they enshrined his spirit here to protect the family from evil. The hold object housed here was later transferred to Oyama-Jinja shrine in 1873. Utasu-Jinja is now famous as one of five great shrines in Kanazawa.

Published: January 31, 2011

Place: Utasu-Jinja Shrine
Date: February 3

13:00 Serving Japanese rice wine
14:00 Setsubun-Sai ceremony
14:30 Geisha performance
14:40 Maem-Maki (throwing holy beans)

Mame-Maki And

Japan has four seasons with a special word to denote the beginning of each: Risshun (Lichun / Feb 4-5), Rikka (Lixia / May 5-6) , Risshu (Liqiu / Aug 7-8) and Ritto (Lidong / Nov 7-8). Setsubun is the festival that occurs the day before a season officially starts. After the Edo period, it came to be connected with the day before spring. People celebrate Setsubun by throwing beans, called Mame-Maki, to dispel bad luck. As kids we would throw dried soybeans indoors as we yelled, “oni-wa-soto!” which means “out with the demon!” or “Fuku-wa-uchi!” means “in with fortune!”

There is a gorgeous Setsubun festival every year in the Higashi Chaya district’s Utasu-Jinja shrine where you can see them make fresh rice cakes and sweets, and sample sake. But the real stars of the festival are the Geisha!
I remember my last Setsubun. Snow was lightly falling. It was freezing, but the glittering flakes created a world of beauty. The festival had already started when we arrived, and was overcrowded with locals, barring us from the inner shrine. After a cursory examination of the two gates, we found an unusual ritual utensil on display—A holly branch with an fish head. I later learned that it was called “Hiiragi-Iwashi” and is displayed on Setsubun as an amulet to protect the shrine from evil. They say that the holly thistles stab the demons’ eyes, while the fishy smell of Iwashi sardine drives them away.

At last, the Geisha appeared to perform an elegant dance. Their folding fans were like butterflies! Every single movement was beautifully choreographed. The audience crowded in with their cameras, attempting to catch their movement in flight. If I was taller, then I could have stood over the

crowd and snapped some better pictures. Next year I’m bringing a step ladder!

Finally, they throw holy beans! Geisha came down the stairs holding beans, attended by a maid with a red umbrella. They were getting closer, and closer. The highlight of the festival was here! They began to languidly toss the beans into the crowd. It’s a life or death struggle against the wall of bodies, all pushing forward to grab the beans. Some greedy people take more than their fair share. Don’t follow their example! The Gods are watching you! I could care less about counting beans, I was there to photograph the beautiful Geisha, who were clad in a special black Kimono for this spiritual event. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

Utasu-Jinja / 1-30-8, Higashiyama, Kanazawa / Map

Kanazawa Area
Kenroku-En Garden
Seisonkaku Villa
Kanazawa-Jo Castle
Hishi-Yagura/<br>Gojikken-Nagaya/<br>Hashizume-Mon Tsuzuki-Yagura Museum
Chaya-Gai<br>Geisha Districts
Nagamachi Buke-Yashiki-Ato (Previous Samurai District)
21st Century Museum of<br> Contemporary Art, <br>Kanazawa
Nomura-Ke<br>Samurai House
Yuwaku Onsen-Kyo Spa Village
Kanazawa Yuwaku Edo-Mura Museum
Following Matsuo Bashô’s steps in Ishikawa - 1/6 [Introduction]
Following Matsuo Bashô’s steps in Ishikawa - 2/6 [Kanazawa]
Light-Up Bus

Noto Area
Rokkosaki Cape
Mitsukejima Island
Day Trip from Kanazawa #01-Wakura-Onsen Spa Town Nanao City
Day Trip from Kanazawa #01-Ipponsugi Dohri Street Nanao City
Noto-Jima Glass Art Museum
Wajima Asaichi Morning Market
Sohjiji Soin Temple

Kaga Area
Komatsu Experience
Shirayama Hime-Jinja Shrine
Daishoji District
Kaga-Hashidate District
Higashitani Mountainous Area
Following Matsuo Bashô’s steps in Ishikawa - 3/6 [Komatsu City]
Following Matsuo Bashô’s steps in Ishikawa - 4/6 [Natadera Temple]
Following Matsuo Bashô’s steps in Ishikawa - 5/6 [Yamanaka Onsen Town]
Following Matsuo Bashô’s steps in Ishikawa - 6/6 [Daishoji District]
Rosanjin in Yamashiro Onsen Town

Hakusanroku Gibier: Local cuisine utilized wild game from the mountain area
Noto no Shio: Salt extracted from the sea
Jizake: Local sake in Hokuriku region
Buri: Yellowtail
Kaga-ryori:<br>The Traditional Local Food
Kanou-gani & Kobako snow crabs
Kaga Yasai:<br>Traditional Vegetables
Komatsu Udon Noodle

Enyukai: Geisha Party
Geisha Performance with Dinner
Sunday Zazen Session


Arts and Crafts
Yamanaka Shikki: <br>Lacquer Ware made in Yamanaka
Wajima Nuri<br>Lacquerware
Wagasa<br>(Traditional Umbrella)
Kaga Temari<br>(Traditional Handball)
Kaga-Yubinuki<br>(Traditional Thimble)
Aochibu Blue Dot(br)Kutani Artist - Kingyoku Nakata
Kaga Hachiman Okiagari<br> Paper Doll
Kaga Kebari<br>Feather Bait
Stroll Kanazawa in Rental Kimono - 1/2 [Renting kimono]
Stroll Kanazawa in Rental Kimono - 2/2 [Strolling in Kimono]

Dezomeshiki<br>Firefighters' Ceremony
Enyukai: Geisha Party

Setsubun-Sai Festival
Yukidaruma Matsuri<br>

Enyukai: Geisha Party
Sakura Viewing

Seihakusai Festival
Kutani Chawan Matsuri
(Outdoor Market)
Otabi Matsuri Festival
Okaeri Matsuri Festival

Hyakumangoku Matsuri<br>Festival

Enyukai: Geisha Party
Abarei Matsuri Festival
Yamashiro Daidengaku Dance Festival

Issaki Hoh-toh Matsuri Festival
Niwaka Matsuri Festival

Kanou-gani & Kobako snow crabs
Enyukai: Geisha Party

Enyukai: Geisha Party

All Year Round
Wajima Asaichi Morning Market
Sunday Zazen Session
Light-Up Bus

Stroll Kanazawa in Rental Kimono - 1/2 [Renting kimono]
Stroll Kanazawa in Rental Kimono - 2/2 [Strolling in Kimono]
Sunday Zazen-Session


Kanazawa Smoking<br>Etiquette Guide
Special Interview<br>after the Tohoku Earthquake
Tourist Centers
About Ishikawa Prefecture
How to Get to Kanazawa
Access from Tokyo
Access from Osaka
Access from Nagoya
Access from Takayama
How to Get to the Noto Peninsula
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