Kanazawa deserves more recognition than its nickname ‘the Little Kyoto’ warrants

Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture is so alluring it may possibly quickly turn your quick weekend visit into an prolonged stay. Once ruled by Maeda Toshiee, some of the powerful samurai warriors of his time, Kanazawa still carries the aura of back when it was one among the wealthiest towns within the region with a flourishing art and cultural scene.

A sublime town, Kanazawa is well-known for its pristine historical district lined with traditional shops, an Edo castle, Insta-worthy art museums and trendy coffee shops and breweries. These are all of the often-desirable features that may very well be a magnet for over-tourism, yet, in comparison with other “traditional Japanese” spots like Kyoto, Kanazawa manages to stay off the radar. 

Connected to Tokyo with a direct Shinkansen (bullet train) in lower than three hours, Kanazawa is a city too good to pass up. So Are you feeling the allure yet? Listed below are five places to go to for a visit to Kanazawa that can keep you busy and have you ever daydreaming of coming back.

1. twenty first Century Museum of Contemporary Art

Did this kid find the upside-down? Photo: WikiCommons/ajari

Home to everlasting exhibitions displaying artwork by James Turell and Anish Kapoor (amongst many others), this contemporary art museum warrants a visit to Kanazawa all by itself.

And trust us, nobody will blame you when you feel immediately drawn to probably the most Insta-worthy everlasting display within the museum—the Swimming Pool by Leandro Erlich. Other notable pieces within the museum include “Blue Planet Sky,” where visitors enter a room with an oblong hole within the ceiling designed by famous American artist James Turell who, in his own words, “sell the blue sky.”

The museum’s beautiful architecture is circular. Thus, there are not any predominant entrances. As a substitute, there are a lot of small entrances dotted across the constructing. This design selection was intentional, conveying that there are multiple ways to approach art and that the museum is open to the world.

Open: 9 a.m. ~ 10 p.m. (Closed on Mondays)

Admission: Free (Temporary exhibitions are each priced in another way)

1-2-1 Hirosaka, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa – Map

Nearest station: Kanazawa

Nearest bus stop: Hirosaka twenty first Century Museum

2. Kenroku-en Garden


A garden as eloquent as the town itself. Photo: WikiCommons/663highland

Positioned mere steps from the contemporary art museum, Kenroku-en Garden is one among the “Three Great Gardens of Japan.” Having visited the garden through the fall colours season, through the day and nighttime illuminations, I can attest to its beauty.

Once served because the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, Kenroku-en has been open to the general public since 1874. It isn’t a spot for a fast visit but to take your time and let the garden surprise you with recent scenery at each corner. There are two picturesque ponds, bridges and 4 tea houses, all surrounded by a whole bunch of types of trees.

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© GaijinPot

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