Kyoto has dozens of interesting and valuable spots to visit.
Too many to visit all of them in one trip. That’s why many Japanese people visit Kyoto again and again.
However, for people who have been to Kyoto before it might be a good idea to visit other cities nearby, to feel a different atmosphere. Short Trip from Kyoto: Where to go? introduces Nara, Osaka, Kobe and Kanazawa as options. From these options, Nara, Osaka and Kobe are popular among tourists because of their accessibility from Kyoto.
Yet, underestimating the value of Kanazawa is a bad idea. For people who can allocate two days for a side trip from Kyoto, Kanazawa might be best. Kanazawa is a historical city, however the atmosphere in Kanazawa is different from Kyoto.
When imagining Kanazawa, many people list gorgeousness, a market, fresh seafood, a castle park, the Kaga Clan, and Kenrokuen (very large Japanese garden). As for the amount of historical value, Kanazawa (or any other city in Japan) can not beat Kyoto. That doesn’t mean Kanazawa is not worth visiting.
This city is relatively small and has 5-10 important sightseeing spots. That’s why Kanazawa can be the best city to visit for a two-day trip. It is not difficult to visit all these places in two days if planning carefully. And to make a great plan, a guidebook and Internet research will be the best tools. Many guidebooks may overlook this lovely city, but don’t worry, because I (author of Kyoto Guidebook which is available in Amazon) am writing a very useful, informative and fun Kanazawa e-Guidebook. It is smaller than Kyoto Guidebook and is going to be available around March – May in 2014. Because of its size, it will be sold for 300 – 400 yen (about 3 – 4 USD). Stay tuned for updates.