One of Japan's most historic cities, Kanazawa is home to an absolute wealth of fascinating cultural sights. As well as its beautiful traditional garden, imposing castle and host of museums, there are a handful of districts of preserved buildings, allowing visitors to stroll around the city as it would have been long in the past. East of the station there's the Higashi Chaya district, where you can visit or stay in former geisha homes; then south of the castle is Teramachi, where the temples are.
It's not far from the famed Myoryu-ji, known as the "ninja temple" despite having no connection to ninjas. From there it's just a very quick walk south-east, and you're in among the temples. The devout will be shocked, but for me there are so many that there's not really any need to distinguish them. The pleasure for me was to just walk around the district slowly, wondering what I'd find behind each new gate.
What you'll get here is a peaceful atmosphere, as you walk around the grounds looking at the various gardens, buildings, statues and carvings. Some of them are more recent, but some hundreds of years old, as you can tell by the mosses and lichens growing on the ground and the statues, some of them deeply eroded by the passing of centuries.
There aren't many differences between the buildings, but at some temples you'll find neatly tended gardens, at others you'll be poking around overgrown, shadowy graveyards. Most of them are homes to populations of Buddhist statues, be they fierce guardian demons, serene deities and devotees, or even sometimes cute children's characters.