There’s an old Japanese proverb that says, “You can leave without your lunchbox, but never leave without your umbrella.” In Kanazawa (pictured above), a city where it rains about 160 days out of every year, this is wise advice. But rather than seeing it as a negative, Kanazawa embraces the rain, and the heavy precipitation has come to influence everything from the way its buildings are built to the city’s unique culture.
UAN Kanazawa hotel opened in December 2017 in the city, centrally located just a short walk away from the Omi-cho market and Kanazawa Castle. And starting with its name, it’s a celebration of the charms of Kanazawa in the rain. The two kanji of the hotel’s name in Japanese are 雨 (rain) and 庵 (hermitage, or retreat), and the concept behind the hotel is that guests should feel lucky that they were able to spend time in Kanazawa on a rainy day.
Of course, the many appeals of UAN Kanazawa can be enjoyed rain or shine. Perhaps the first thing that strikes guests when they step into the hotel is the spacious “Hare-no-ma” lounge. Inspired by the design of Kanazawa’s countless tea houses, the space is meant to serve as a luxurious “living room” for guests, where they can rest, relax, and stretch out.
There are several amenities that can be enjoyed in the lounge area. There is a 24-hour tea service featuring local hojicha (roasted green tea), and for an evening snack, complimentary soba noodles are served from 9pm to 11pm each night. Also in the evening, for a fee, the lounge offers a sake bar where guests can sample a wide variety of sakes produced in the Hokuriku region. As a tribute to Kanazawa’s legacy as a place where learning and literature has flourished over the centuries, Hare-no-ma is outfitted with a library featuring books that delve into the region’s history and art volumes that highlight the visual culture of Ishikawa Prefecture and Kanazawa.
Hare-no-ma is full of artistic touches as well: on its walls you can find paper art made with traditional Kanazawa washi paper and urushi lacquer, as well as traditional noren curtains and Kaga furoshiki cloth decorated in the traditional Kaga Yuzen style (you can find these noren adorning the hallways of the guest floors too). Another remarkable item on display in the lounge is a piece of “cubist calligraphy” – in this case, of the kanji for rain – created by the artist Sisyu.
Guests can also get in touch with their own creative side through a series of workshops offered in the lounge. Workshops are available in decorating pottery or creating mizuhiki paper art; check with the front desk or on UAN Kanazawa’s website when making reservations for more details.
The 47 guest rooms at UAN Kanazawa are a perfect extension of the elegance that can be found in the lounge area: each one is spacious and elegantly appointed. There are a variety of room types available, with comfortable spaces that will suit everyone from single travelers to families of four, and some rooms feature private terraces and courtyards. To start the day off right, a hearty Japanese or Western-style breakfast service is available from 7am to 9:30am.
Finally, as a souvenir of your stay at UAN Kanazawa, you might want to pick up a unique item that will conjure up memories of a rainy day. Created in collaboration with Souhitsu Hachiya, a 20th generation master of the way of kodo, or incense, the Uan scent box is meant to evoke the smell of stone pavement that has been dampened by the rain. It’s a mix of aromatic sandalwood and 12 different ingredients, and makes for a perfect way to remember a rainy day in Kanazawa – and there’s no need for an umbrella.
For UAN Kanazawa’s contact details, see our Concierge listing.