Kanazawa (金沢) is the capital city of Ishikawa prefecture. From the late 16th century until the end of the Edo period, Kanazawa (which means “marsh of gold”), was home to the powerful Maeda clan who invested in the development and teaching of crafts—many of which have survived and can be seen in the city.

Kanazawa was never a hub for the industrial modernization of Japan and so escaped destruction in the bombing raids of World War II, leaving behind some of the country’s best examples of Edo period districts. Being on the coast, the city is also famous for its fresh seafood which can be bought and tasted at Omicho Market.

Long popular with Japanese tourists, Kanazawa is increasingly seeing foreign tourist footfall, especially after the extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線) in 2015 made it possible to travel directly to Kanazawa from Tokyo on the bullet train.

Key Attractions

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

Contemporary art museum that opened in 2004 and is today one of Kanazawa’s key attractions
The public zone is open 9am to 10pm and the exhibitions are open 10am to 6pm (8pm on Fridays and Saturdays). Note that the museum is closed on Mondays.
Depends on the exhibition but ¥1,000 is typical. Discount tickets available if you want to see multiple exhibitions.

Higashi Chaya District

Edo period pleasure district with many historical buildings. The largest and the most popular chaya (“tea house”) districts in Kanazawa.

Kanazawa Castle

Home of the powerful Maeda family who governed the region for 280 years from the late 16th century up until the end of the Edo period. Since its early days, the castle has been pivotal to Kanazawa and the city has developed around it.

D. T. Suzuki Museum

Museum built in memory of the Buddhist philosopher, D. T. Suzuki Museum. Famous for its Water Mirror Garden
9:30am to 5:30pm. Closed on Mondays (unless that day is a public holiday)
¥300 (free for under 18s)

Oyama Shrine

Oyama Shrine (尾山神社, oyama-jinja) is a shrine dedicated to Maeda Toshiie of the Maeda clan that would go…

Kenrokuen

Famous garden founded and developed over the years by the feudal lords (daimyo) of Kaga. Today it is generally regarded as one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens.
9:00-16:30
Adults ¥310, children 6-17 ¥100, seniors (65+) free

Myoryuji

A small temple popular with tourists since becoming known as the “Ninja Temple”
Weekdays 9:00-16:00 with tours running every hour. Weekends and holidays 9:00-16:30 with tours running every 30 minutes.
Adults ¥1,000, children ¥700

Nagamachi Samurai District

Former area of residence for the samurai of Kanazawa with narrow canals and stone paths. Some of the homes are open to the public. There is also a small museum showing how the merchant class used to live, complete with a reconstructed old style pharmacy, tea room, traditional garden, and displays of local handicrafts.

Omicho Market

Bustling food market also referred to as “Kanazawa’s Kitchen”
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