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Kanazawa - Japan

Kanazawa, the seat of the prefectural office, is made up of three hills, the Kodatsuno Plateau that stretches southeast between the Asano-gawa and Sai-kawa rivers and Mt. Utatsu-yama and Teramachidai, which spread out on both sides. It is the center of economy, commerce, and culture in the Hokuriku region. Kanazawa has prospered for some 300 years since the feudal lord Maeda Toshiie built a castle here in the late 16th century. At the center of the city lies the Kenroku-en Garden, famous for the "Yukitsuri," ropes stretched from the top of a tree to the lower branches like an umbrella to protect it from snow damage. Kenroku-en is one of the three most famous gardens in Japan, along with the Kairaku-en Garden in Mito and the Koraku-en Garden in Okayama. Beginning in 1676, it took about 170 years to construct the 105,000-square-meter garden.

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