Head to Kanazawa and the Ishikawa Prefecture and you step back in time to the Edo Period (1603 to 1886), the height of samurai culture. Thankfully, Kanazawa was the second-largest city (after Kyoto) to make it through World War II intact. As a result, parts of the old castle town, including the Nagamachi samurai district and chaya entertainment districts, have survived in pretty good condition. Keep your camera ready to capture the rows of teahouses in the historic Geisha district. Kanazawa also boasts attractive temples, a wide variety of museums and a lively market dating back to 1721. About an hour away is Kaga Onsen, healing hot springs that are well worth a day trip.