During the Edo period (1603-1868), the Daishoji domain was ruled by a cadet branch of one of Japan’s most powerful feudal clans. Its lords encouraged some remarkable developments in the fields of art and culture which, along with the numerous temples that remain from those times, have bestowed the town with its unique atmosphere. Besides walking along splendid alleys of cherry trees and enjoying a tranquil cruise on a small rivercraft, one can discover the widely acclaimed local art of Kutani Porcelain and seek the town’s historical majesty.
JR Kaga Onsen Station
JR Daishoji Station
The period spanning from the second half of the 18th century to the end of the 19th century marked the heyday of trading vessel companies known as Kitamaebune (north-bound ships). Today, the word Kitamaebune still refers to a trading route connecting Osaka to Hakodate in Hokkaido along the coasts of western Japan. This house used to be a part of a larger residence that belonged to Kubo Hikobei, one of the wealthiest Kitamaebune shipowners, whose business thrived in the area before the Meiji Restoration. Originally built in the neighboring town of Hashitate in 1841, the full Kubo Hikobei residence was bought up and divided between Kaga City and Kanazawa City for preservation in the early 2000s. The Soryokan is a restored version of what was the main residential quarters of the original building. It was constructed using the finest materials of its time, with pillars of Japanese zelkova, and 200-year-old pine wood ceiling beams. Its rock garden depicting Kitamaebune fleets in the Sea of Japan is especially noteworthy.
The famous 17th century poet Matsuo Basho stayed in this Zen temple and wrote a famous haiku inspired by the willow tree in the garden. In addition to the splendid main building, the temple is also famous for its 517 small sculptures depicting “rakan”, the disciples and followers of Buddha, according to the Kyoto Sect of Buddhism. This very delightful collection is displayed in a detached lodge. These statues were commissioned by the temple’s high priest to a famous sculptor from Kyoto and carved in 1867. As the work was financed by a large public subscription, the donors’ names and crests are carved on the statues making the collection a valuable source for historians specializing in the Kaga domain. Alternately intimidating, intriguing, touching and even funny, every single “rakan” was carved with a thorough sense for facial physiognomy. Each one of them is absolutely unique. The variety and expressiveness of these works is such that the locals like to say that one could easily find in the collection a statue resembling an acquaintance.
This Zen temple was founded in honor of the samurai Maeda Toshiharu, the first of a dynasty of feudal lords who ruled the area during the Edo Period (1600-1868). Many of them are still resting in the adjoining garden’s graveyard. Cherry trees in the spring and bush clovers in the fall offer splendid scenes.
From the first blossoms of spring to the last leaves of autumn, you can get on board a wooden craft and enjoy a 30 minute cruise in the heart of the old feudal Daishoji. Soothed by the gentle sound of the water lapping the craft while listening to the boatman’s melancholic folk songs will surely make you travel back in time and feel the atmosphere of a bygone era.
Seasonal highlights such as springtime cherry blossoms and spider lilies in early autumn are likely to provide memorable moments.
Reservations are required in spring and autumn.
From April 1st to November 30th (not available in winter)
Cherry blossom season: Every day 8:30 -16:30（afternoon: reservations in advance only）
Apr.-Nov.: Mon.-Fri. 8:30-12:00, Sat.-Sun. and holidays 8:30-16:00（afternoon: reservations in advance only）
Not available on Tuesday and Wednesday except during the cherry blossom season and the town’s traditional festival season.
Set in a beautiful wooden house from the Meiji period, this museum is dedicated to the life and works of Kyuya Fukada (1903-1971). A native of Daishoji, gifted writer and mountain enthusiast, Kyuya Fukada wrote a very popular book among Japanese mountain lovers and hikers; One Hundred Mountains of Japan, a personal selection on criteria of grace, history and originality. This nice house also serves as an exchange space for mountain and great nature lovers. A tea salon and art gallery is also available.
The Kutani ceramic ware is widely considered as one of Japan's most original and highly decorative porcelain styles, with a remarkable artistic legacy that still continues. Along with the turmoil of history and the work of successive generations of talented craftsmen, the Kutani Ware has evolved to cover a wide range of distinctive styles and approaches that are presented in this museum.
On the second floor, you will find a cozy café overlooking the museum’s beautiful park and a shop that sells postcards and books related to the art of Kutani, as well as finely crafted tableware items.
JR Daishoji Station
JR Kaga Onsen Station