For Christmas 2018, I decided to split my trip between Kanazawa and Takayama (which I had previously visited with Odysseys Unlimited in 2016).
Much to my surprise, as I took the Hokuriku Shinkansen west from Tokyo, there was zero snow on the ground, even in Nagano. When I arrived in Kanazawa on Dec 22, the temperature was a balmy 16°C/ 60 Fahrenheit; in fact, I had to ditch the heavy winter coat I had brought.
My plan for my first day in Kanazawa was to visit Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa Castle, and then later that evening I had reserved a private four-hour cooking class with Kanazawa Cooking Salon on koji cuisine.
I strolled through the Higashichaya tea district and then up to several temples before heading to the gardens; at first it was overcast, but then glorious sunshine broke out. I also got a most fortuitous email from Kokoyui Kimono regarding my inquiry about renting a kimono for tomorrow’s kaiseki dinner at Kotobukiya with a coworker (who was by coincidence in the city at the same time I was).
I took advantage of the relative calm to enjoy green tea in the gorgeous tea house situated over the lake before heading to my hotel to check-in and on to my cooking class.