Kanazawa is a lovely place to visit. It's sometimes called 'little Kyoto' and while the cities are actually quite different, it's safe to say that if you enjoy Kyoto, Kanazawa is for you. The bullet train didn't reach Kanazawa until 2015, and this brought a huge influx of new visitors. You'll find that a lot of the accommodation on offer is fairly new as the city expands to cope with the new arrivals.
Across Japan you'll often find hostels that also offer private rooms, often with their own bathrooms, or conversely, boutique hotels that have a dorm room or two. Some of the spots on this list fit this description, and before you recoil in horror, know that hostels in Japan tend to a lot nicer, cleaner and quieter than their counterparts on this side of the world. Accommodation can get a little expensive, and these offer a more wallet-friendly alternative. It's also just a nice way to meet people.
Kanazawa would be a lovely place for a ryokan stay if that's on your radar, and we've included three guesthouse-style options.
What we look for
In our search, we don't hunt for a lot of luxury, but location, a bed that fits a tall person, and a reasonable price are all high on the wish-list.
We haven't stayed in all of these hotels, this is the product of a long Google search, cross-referenced with Agoda. Prices are estimates only, based on the dates we looked at. Be aware that hotel prices will change depending on whether you're staying across a weekend or a public holiday- sometimes spiking quite dramatically.
You'll also find a map below. Public transport in Kanazawa means catching the city buses, and the city is roughly divided into chunks that you can explore on foot, and bus between. We rented a car which meant we could cover a lot more ground and explore the surrounding area and peninsula.
Our Kanazawa accommodation shortlist:
Riverside Hotel Sararaso
A boutique hotel, as the name suggests this hotel is set on the side of the Sai River. It's a smaller hotel, and set in a quiet neighbourhood. So expect a little walk to the sights, but you're on a bus route.
Siphon coffee and baked treats are available on site. There's a shared lounge and a bar area that you can hang out in. And the breakfast nabe is a real treat. They will also made any leftover rice into onigiri for you to snack on later.
The rooms are well-equipped, have their own bathrooms, and most have a small balcony. There's a small car park just down the street with reserved spots for the hotel.
Expect to pay around AU$130 a night for a room for two that's 8m².
Hotel Pacific Kanazawa
A hotel 'without meals', Hotel Pacific makes up for it by being excellently located, and offering great coffee. It's also very close to Higashide Coffee, which is a gorgeous kissaten that roasts coffee on-site.
The hotel is next to Omicho Market, which might be even more fun than Kyoto's Nishiki Market. Spend some time there shopping and snacking, queue up for entry to one of the excellent sushi train restaurants, and try a softserve Kanazawa-style, that is, topped with gold leaf.
Japanese-style and western rooms are on offer- as this hotel is on the snug side, consider taking the traditional option and creating space by rolling your futon when it's not in use.
Expect to pay around AU$110 a night for a room for two that's 16m².
If you're travelling in a group, or looking for something different, the team behind Sararaso and Hotel Pacific also have two more traditional accommodation options:
From a different operator for a bigger group: Intro, Tamagawa
Kaname Inn Tatemachi
Right in the centre of things, this hotel is a stylish option. It's new, opened in April 2017, and boasts a bar, cafe and a music bar, stocked with vinyl and all set to 'take you on a journey'.
There's a good variety in rooms types, from larger suite-style rooms, down to smaller doubles. The hotel's blog gives a great insight into the surrounding area and is well worth a browse.
Expect to pay around AU$140 a night for a room for two that's 25m².
If you're travelling on a budget, the hotel also runs a hostel, with large and small dormitories, and female-only options. The beds are all semi-doubles, and it looks like a good option for groups of friends travelling together.
HATCHi (The Share Hotels)
Set very close to the Asano River and the Higashi Chaya District, this is a location that's hard to beat. The onsite restaurant and bar provides locally-influenced breakfast and dinner (and is excellent!), and there's a coffee stand for drip coffee.
A great spot for hostel-dwellers, there are also private rooms, and it really has the feel of a boutique hotel. You'll benefit from the add-ons though, there's a generous shared kitchen and laundry. Reviews suggest that this can be a tricky spot for light sleepers, so choose wisely!
Expect to pay around AU$150 a night for a room for two that's 22m².
KUMU (The Share Hotels)
A twenty-minute walk from the station, Kumu is even more heavily influenced by local craft and culture. Shared spaces include a tea salon and a rooftop garden area. Breakfast is available on site, and you can have traditional tea and sweets in the salon.
Again, there are lots of different types of rooms, most designed to share. The hotel is strongly design-focused and has recently been renovated.
Expect to pay around AU$250 a night for a room for two that's 27m².
Hotel Resol Trinity Kanazawa
Part of a chain, these hotels are a step up from a standard business hotel, and this one heroes the local surroundings through craft displays, and food with 'Kanazawa Kitchen' as one of the dining options.
It's really well located, very close to Omicho Market, and in walking distance from the galleries, garden and Higashi Chaya District.
Expect to pay around AU$120 a night for a room for two that's 17m² (but note that prices here do seem to vary wildly between seasons).
Where to stay in Kanazawa
Wondering where to stay in other parts of Japan? See more of our picks