Kanazawa was always high on my list when I was planning my return trip to Japan. In reality, this small city – perched beside the Sea of Japan – exceeded all of my expectations. From the moment my white-gloved taxi driver pulled into the Higashi Chaya District, I fell in love with Kanazawa. My driver, Masa-san, spoke perfect English, and gave me a brief introduction to his hometown, where he managed to reference Japan’s most beautiful garden, the ancient samurai district and the city’s thriving art scene all in one sentence. I could not have been more excited to have arrived in the capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture.