Chikako was our guide for a Kanazawa half day private tour. She was excellent - well informed, superb at scheduling our day so we could enjoy the key sights with the minimum amount of crowds, offered historical context and cultural insights, kept up a good pace so that we could see the most during the half day (particularly as it was sunny that day and the next two days there would be heavy rains). We greatly enjoyed our time with Chikako and her helpful advice not just for Kanazawa but for Ishikawa and our upcoming next step in Noto Peninsula. She was an excellent companion for first day in Kanazawa and we greatly enjoyed her company.
In our time with her we visited the Nomura Samurai House and enjoyed green tea and the quiet of the garden, walked through Rikugien and Gyokusen Gardens, and explored the grounds of Kanazawa Castle. She took our preferences into account to make it a fully customized tour. She knew we enjoyed coffee so she took us to an excellent siphon coffee cafe and Jonathan had a screw fall off his eyeglasses so she took a swift detour to an optometrist and he was able to fix Jonathan’s glasses with minimum time and charge. Jonathan is a vegetarian so Chikako called ahead to arrange for delicious vegetarian options for Jonathan so I could enjoy fresh Kanazawa sushi at a small sushi bar. The chef and hostess at the sushi bar treated us so well and it is some of the best, freshest sushi I have ever had. In fact, we liked it so much we returned for lunch on the second day - it felt special to be remembered and we loved the way they bowed upon our departure, knowing we had made a conscious choice to have lunch there again.
Chikako filled in at the last minute for another guide who could not meet with us but handled it so well and everything that day went so smoothly, as if it had been long planned. She took the trouble to drop us off at Gyokusen Garden at the end of our tour and to urge us to visit Seison-Kaku Villa later that day and that Rikugien Gardens can be entered at no charge between 6:00 - 7:45am.
Her words echoed in my our minds often as we explored Kanazawa on our own for the rest of that day and the following day. We visited the Kanazawa Castle lightup that evening to experience Kanazawa Castle at night and visited the 21st Century Museum and explored Higashichaya shops near our minshuku the following day in the rain.
If you are on the fence about booking a Kanazawa half day or full day private tour, I would strongly recommend you do so. It’s well worth the expense and it will enable you to see Kanazawa with a fuller context that only a local and private guide can provide. You will not regret your decision.