Hyakubangai is the collective name for all the shopping and dining areas inside the Kanazawa Station building. There are three main areas: “Anto” on the south side of the station concourse, “Rinto” on the north side, and “Kutsurogikan” on the west side of the station. Together these three sections make for one Kanazawa’s best shopping malls with plenty of local specialty goods, fashion brands, and some of Kanazawa’s best eateries all concentrated in one area. Let’s take a look at each of these areas in turn and see what they have to offer.
Shopping at Anto
Anto on the south side of the station concourse is primarily a souvenir market. This is actually one of the best places in Kanazawa to find souvenirs because it has all of Kanazawa’s major handicrafts and local specialty foods collected together in one spot. All the best known traditional manufacturers are represented in Anto, so just walking around and looking at the items on offer is an education in Kanazawa’s traditional craft culture. Kanazawa is particularly well known for confectionery, sake rice wine, goods decorated with gold leaf, kutani-yaki style ceramics, and shikki style lacquerware.
Kanazawa “shikki” lacquerware is famous for its artistic ornamentation which can include inlaid gold, silver, or sea shells.
Gold leaf production in Kanazawa dates back to the late 16th century, and is still used to decorate a variety of handcrafted vessels, ornaments, and accessories. Recently it is also used to decorate food, and in Kanazawa tourists can easily buy a cup of tea with golden flecks, or ice cream cones coated in gold!
Kutani-yaki is a variety of pottery unique to Kanazawa with a history that dates back to 1655. It is notable for its rich and varied coloring in deep shades of blue, red, purple, yellow, and green.
Kanazawa has long been known for its traditional sweets, which developed along with the tea ceremony under the encouragement of the local nobility. The sweetness of the confectionery is meant to balance with the bitterness of the tea.
For those who like something stronger than tea, Anto’s liquor shop has a fine selection of local sake brands and also a bar where you can sit and have a drink before you decide what to buy!
At the back of Anto, there is a dining section called “Ajiwai Koji” which literally means “Flavor Lane”. This area has branches of some of Kanazawa’s best known restaurants and has a fair selection of sushi, oden style stew, Kanazawa style curry, ramen noodles, and Chinese food. If you want to eat lunch here, it is best to go a little bit early, as many of the restaurants are popular and quickly fill up.
Stores: 8.30 – 20.00
Restaurants 11.00 – 22.00
Shopping at Rinto
Rinto is on the north side of the station concourse. This area of Hyakubangai is mainly devoted to fashion boutiques and clothing brands. Here are some highlights.
Strawberry Fields sells a range of modern and elegant ladies’ wear suitable for both work and play.
Makanai natural cosmetic products were developed based on the beauty secrets of the women working at Yoshitaka Gold-Leaf Foundry.
Jelly Beans is a shoe boutique selling a wide variety of colorful shoes that can be worn on formal and informal occasions.
Kissora is a Japanese leather bags and leather goods specialty shop. This branch has some items which are only sold in Kanazawa.
Men’s formal wear can be found at Le Trio Abahouse.
Traditional kimonos are on sale at the Nadeshiko shop.
Urban Research is a popular brand in Japan selling comfortable, casual, fashionable clothes for both ladies and men at an accessible price.
Tully’s Café is a good spot for a break from shopping.
There is also a souvenir area in Rinto, just across from the Tourist Information Center. This is a good spot to pick up last minute souvenirs before you take your train.
Opening hours: 10.00 – 20.00
Shopping at Kutsurogikan
The Kutsurogikan section of Hyakubangai occupies 4 floors on the west side of the station building. Part of this is taken up by the Via Inn hotel which has an entrance on both the 1st and 3rd floors. On the first floor you can also find a convenience store, cafes, a bakery and some casual eateries.
There are more restaurants on the 2nd and 3rd floors, and the 4th floor is mostly taken up with health and dental clinics.
In the gourmet section on the 3rd floor you can find restaurants serving shabu shabu hotpot, kushikatsu skewered meat and vegetables, ramen noodles, soba noodles, and Kanazawa specialty seasonal cuisine. One top tip is that there is a supermarket on the 2nd floor which sells some local food and drink products at lower prices than the souvenir shops in Anto or Rinto!
Opening Hours: 7.00 – 23.00
The following credit cards can be used at Kanazawa Hyakubangai stores: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, UnionPay, and Diners Club International. Prepaid IC smart cards such as ICOCA, Suica, Pasmo, Kitaca, and Nimoca can also be used to pay for your purchases.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.