Temples and Shrines around Mt. Utatsuyama
There are around 50 temples and shrines at the foot of Mt. Utatsuyama near the Asanogawa River. In the feudal days, the lord of the Kaga clan had temples that were scattered around town moved here. This area was located in the direction of the Demon’s Gate (northeast) of the castle, and the lord intended to expel evil spirits by constructing a temple area in that direction. In 1599, Utatsu Shrine was constructed to worship the first lord of the clan, Toshiie Maeda, and in 1601, Utatsu-sannosha Shrine (later Toyokuni Shrine) was built and dedicated to Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the great unifier in the age of civil wars. Subsequent lords of the clan worshipped at these shrines. The temples and shrines were relocated to a complex terrain at the foot of the mountain; the area has many hills, long staircases and narrow, winding paths. It is an ideal place to enjoy strolling while enjoying seasonal natural beauty. The area also has many monuments with epigraphs to the memory of famous people connected to the history and culture of Kanazawa, including the haiku poet Matsuo Basho, the first-generation kabuki actor Utaemon Nakamura, and the leading fabric-dyeing designer Yuzensai Miyazaki. This is a good place to visit for people who are interested in literature and history.
Three Temple Areas of Kanazawa
Around 1616, the third lord of the Kaga clan, Toshitsune Maeda, gathered the temples that were scattered around Kanazawa into three areas of Kanazawa. There were several reasons for this: to defend Kanazawa Castle, to control the temples, to keep a register of the population, and to counteract the rioting of the Ikko Sect of Buddhism. The three temple areas are Kodatsuno in the southeast, Utatsuyama in the northeast and Teramachi in the southwest. Each area has its own distinctive atmosphere and presents an aspect of Kanazawa that will likely be new to you. To start with, how about deciding on the temple that you would most like to visit, and walking around the neighborhood?