30 Things to Do Kanazawa

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Source: Thomas Au

Kanazawa is called “little Kyoto” and there is a good reason behind it. Similar to Kyoto, Kanazawa is filled with many sightseeing places like museums and parks. The only problem with the city is that it is a bit small. However, you can enjoy all the Japanese culture in this small city. Here are the top 30 things to do once you are in Kanazawa:

1. Enjoy the Nature at Kenrokuen Garden

Source: Yoshihide Urushihara

How about enjoy the nature at Kenrokuen Garden. It is a beautiful Japanese garden present at the central part of Kanazawa and next to Kanazawa Castle. The garden has beautiful artificial ponds and many hills and houses. The big pond was called “Kasumigaike” was compared to open sea and considered a hope of long life and eternal prosperity. The plantings in the gardens are also quite impressive and one of the best cared for gardens in Japan. So you should visit this garden.


  • Name: Kenrokuen Garden
  • Address: 1 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0936, Japan
  • Opening hour: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

2. Visit Kanazawa Castle

Source: Tomoaki INABA

The Kanazawa castle is a large well-stored castle located in Kanazawa, near Kenrokuen Garden. The garden was once a part of the castle. The castle’s building is quite beautiful and large and much of it has been reconstructed. You can view the spectacular entrance gates and the watch tower. You can also visit Gojikken Nagaya here, which is a long, multi-sided hall used as a warehouse. There is also extensive ground around the castle where you can freely roam about.


  • Name: Kanazawa Castle
  • Address: 1-1 Marunouchi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0937, Japan
  • Opening hour: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Website: http://www.pref.ishikawa.jp/siro-niwa/kanazawajou/e/

3. Visit 21st Century Contemporary Museum of Art

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Source: Yuichi Shiraishi

This circular museum focuses on art produced since the 1980s and focuses on mixed-media piece and heavy installation. There are different display spaces and function rooms in the museum and it is big enough to hold large crowds. There is also a swimming pool which is an amazing place to go. The place is usually crowded, however, if you don’t like crowds, you should go right after the starting time.


  • Name: 21st Century Contemporary Museum of Art
  • Address: 1 Chome-2-1 Hirosaka, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0962, Japan
  • Opening hour: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Website: https://www.kanazawa21.jp/en/

4. Myoryuji Ninja Temple

Source: Kentaro Ohno

The Myoryuji temple is so big that it is like a small city of its own. Once you take a tour of the place, you will find all types of doors and booby traps. You will need to make a reservation for the place and it costs just a 1000 yen. The rules are a bit strict here and no photography is allowed in the temple premises. So if you have some time to kill, get lost in the hidden passages and doors.


  • Name: Myoryuji Ninja Temple
  • Address: 1-2-12 Nomachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 921-8031, Japan
  • Opening hour: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

5. Visit Omicho Market

Source: GanMed64

Omicho Market has been Kanazawa’s main market since the Edo period. Today, it’s a busy street lined with about 200 shops and stalls. Most of the shops sell excellent sea foods, however, you can also find clothing, kitchen tools and flowers here. The market is less crowded during the morning hours. So you should shop during these hours. It is a great attraction site for tourist and you should visit it once.


  • Name: Kanazawa Castle
  • Address: 51 Kamiomicho, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0905, Japan
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 6. Visit Oyama Shrine

Source: Guilhem Vellut

This shrine is dedicated to Maeda Toshi who was the first lord of local Maeda Clan. The town was built in 1559 and is known for its extraordinary large gate which has been designed by a Dutch architect using European and Asian religious themes. The gardens and the grounds are quite large where you can freely roam about and enjoy yourself. It is quite a peaceful and nice spot in Kanazawa.


  • Name: Oyama Shrine
  • Address: 11-1 Oyamamachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0918, Japan
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

7. Visit Higashi Chaya Area

The Higashi Chaya area is located is located at a walking distance east of Omicho Market. The place used to have quite a large population with many beautiful designed houses. However, most of these are now converted into teahouses and restaurants. The area gets crowded with a lot of tourists but you can avoid it by keeping a distance from the main road. You should also go to the Kazuemachi Chaya area, which is nothing short of fabulous.


  • Name: Higashi Chaya area
  • Address: 1 Higashiyama, Kanazawa 920-0831, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Website: http://en.go-centraljapan.jp/place/detail_126.html

8. View the Tsuzumi Gate

Source: inf_supTJ

If you want to be amazed on your visit to Kanazawa, then visit the Tsuzumi gate. It sure is a wonder of nature. The gate is so elegant that you would automatically be drawn towards it. You should go around it and take pictures with it. The interesting thing is that it is quite accessible and just five minutes from the Kanazawa train station. You can also sit near the gate and watch the world pass by.


  • Name: Tsuzumi Gate
  • Address: 1-1 Kinoshinbomachi, Kanazawa 920-0858, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: Open 24 hours

9. Visit Kanazawa Station

Source: つだ

The Kanazawa station is one of the biggest stations in Japan, operated by West Japan Railway Company. It is one of the gates of Kanazawa for the visitors. The station has a huge glass dome, known as Moetnashi Dome, which serves just as an umbrella during the rainy seasons. There are many eating places near the station. So when you get hungry, enjoy the food.


  • Name: Kanazawa Station
  • Address: Kanazawa 920-0858, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: Open 24 hours

10. Visit Kanazawa Phonograph Museum

Source: sparkle

The Kanazawa Phonograph museum is one of the best phonograph museums, not only in Japan but perhaps in the world. The museum has a collection about 540 phonographs and 20,000 SP records which can be played even today. You should also attend the phonograph demonstration which happens three times daily, at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. One thing is for sure. You won’t be disappointed by the immense history.


  • Name: Kanazawa Phonograph Museum
  • Address: 2-11-21 Owaricho, Kanazawa 920-0902 , Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Website: http://www.kanazawa-museum.jp/chikuonki/

 11. Visit Shinise Museum Hall

Source: sodai gomi

The Shinise Memorial Hall is a famous museum in which restored Nakaya Chinese Pharmacy. The shop is a good example of merchant’s shop during the Edo period. There are two stores; the first one serves as the storefront, whereas the second one is filled with traditional crafts and wedding related goods. All the artwork in the museum is quite interesting and you won’t get bored for a moment.


  • Name: Shinise Museum Hall
  • Address: 2 Chome-2-45 Nagamachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0865, Japan
  • Opening hour: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

12. Hang out at Saigawa Bridge

Source: GanMed64

The Sagawa bridge is quite a large and splendid bridge present in Kanazawa. The bridge was reconstructed recently with footpaths on the sides. It is a good place for bicycles, cars, wheelchair users, and pedestrians. An interesting fact about the bridge is that some wonderful photos can be taken from the bridge top. So when you come to visit the bridge, come along with your camera.


  • Name: Saigawa Bridge
  • Address: Katamachi-Nomachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: Open 24 hours

13. Visit Daijoji Temple

The Daijoji temple is a zen temple located in Kanazawa which was originally constructed in the 12th century. However, it was reconstructed later in the 17th century. If you want to experience the effect of meditation, you should visit this place. The Buddhists are here to give you an introduction to this topic. The entrance doors and the rooms are all quite large and show the history of the monks. The only problem is that the place is well 30 minutes walking distance from the station.


  • Name: Daijoji temple
  • Address: 10 Ru, Nagasakamachi, Kanazawa 921-8114 , Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

14. Visit Nakamura Memorial Museum

The Nakamura museum is another worth visiting site in Kanazawa. This museum was originally a place for tea ceremonies. However, the owner of the place believed that this place was a historic place and the old art didn’t belong to anyone but the public. So he made it into a historical museum. This is the reason why most people find it more like a hangout place than a museum. The place also has a beautiful garden where you can enjoy the nature.


  • Name: Nakamura Memorial Museum
  • Address: 3-2-29 Honda-machi, Kanazawa 920-0964, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

15. Visit Tentokuin Temple

The tentokuin temple was built as a family temple of the Tamahime during the first part of the 17th century. The building has a big and solemn gate. Once you enter the building, you are charged to visit. However, visiting and staying in this temple is cheaper as compared to other temples. The monks give you a visit to the place. There are many pamphlets around and you will also see a robot show at one time. So if you want to visit a temple with a bit of twist, visit Tentokuin temple.


  • Name: Tentokuin temple
  • Address: 370 Koyasan, Ito-gun, Koya-cho 648-0211, Wakayama Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

16. Visit Nishi Tea House Street

Nishi Teahouse Street is another worth visiting site in Kanazawa. This street is within 5 minutes walking distance from the Ninja temple and you shouldn’t miss it. Although the street is short, it is a really nice street. There is a free museum at one end. Some cafés and souvenir shops are also present here. The street is a nice experience for anyone who wants to know about the Japanese culture.


  • Name: Nishi Tea House Street
  • Address: Nomachi, Kanazawa 921-8031, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

17. Dine at Yuraku

Source: T.Tseng

If you want to eat the best Sushi in Kanazawa, then head to Yuraku. They are also good with their fish to rice ratio in their rolls. The Sashimi is quite fresh and served in large portions too. They also serve a variety of side dishes, like broiled salmon head, veggies with dip, soup, and steamed egg. There is also an open-air bath in the area surrounded by mountains. So you should visit this place.


  • Name: Yuraku
  • Address: 80 Ro, Higashimachi, Kanazawa 920-1121, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Website: http://www.yuraku.com/

18. Visit Osaki Shrine

Source: hirotomo t

Osaki Shrine is considered the home of the guardian deity of the Gate family. The shrine was built in 1607 but was recently restored. It is a good example of Date structure and art. The main building is composed of the main hall and the offering hall under the same roof. Some of the fortunes are black which reflect the shrine’s distinctive look. The great thing is that this shrine is just 5 to 10 minutes walking distance from the Sendai Station.


  • Name: Osaki Shrine
  • Address: 5-5, MarunouchI, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 1-1 Marunouchi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0937, Japan
  • Opening hour: 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Website: http://www.oosaki-hachiman.or.jp/pop/

19. Visit Korin-ji Temple

On your visit to Kanazawa, you should also visit the Korinji temple. It is the temple of the city center. There is the main hall and a two-storey building along with it. There is a concrete building close to the main hall. Although it has become a kind of a modern temple, you would get the idea of history. The admission fee is about 500 yen but the temple staff is quite polite and will show you around.


  • Name: Korin-ji temple
  • Address: 1-3-15 Nomachi, Kanazawa 920-8031, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

20. Enjoy Seafoods at Itaru Honten

Ikaru Honten is a bright and cheerful restaurant located in Kanazawa with lots of fresh sea foods with rice. When you go there, be sure to check out their special dishes like mackerel and Hokuriku fish. The staff is quite friendly and speaks both English and Japanese. Even the menu is both in English and Japanese so the tourists don’t have any problems. It’s a great restaurant to visit if you like seafood.


  • Name: Itaru Honten
  • Address: 3-8, Kakinokibatake, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

21. Visit Modern Literature Museum

The modern literature museum was made in the Former fourth Upper School building in 1891 in a western-style made of bricks. It is considered as quite an important part of cultural property. The great works of many literary men are found here, like Kyoka Izumi, Saisei Muroi, and Shusei Tokuda. The fee is 350 yen, which is normal considering a large amount of literature and entertainment for the people.


  • Name: Modern LIterature Museum
  • Address: 2-2-5 Hirosaka, Kanazawa city 920-0962
  • Opening hour: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

22. Dine at Sushi Zanmai

Source: chee.hong

If you want to enjoy both sushi and sahimi at the same restaurant, then you should visit Sushi Zanmai. This is one of the best sushi in the place with reasonable price. The fish to rice ratio in the sushi is quite good. It is quite western friendly with English menus. It is great for a quick and easy meal during the visit of different places.


  • Name: Kiyoshi Kimura
  • Address: 36 Shimotsutsumicho, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0917, Japan
  • Opening hour: 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
  • Website: http://www.kiyomura.co.jp.e.sv.hp.transer.com/

23. Visit Kanazawa Catholic Church

If you want to take a bit of religious experience on your visit to Kanazawa, then you should visit the Kanazawa Catholic Church. The Church is quite beautiful with writings on the walls. It is like a meeting room of holy people. There is an English lecture on the 4th Sunday of every month from 4 to 5 in the evening. Prayers are said in different languages and you can say your own prayers. The church is a bit far from the station, about 20 to 25 minutes walking distance.


  • Name: Kanazawa Catholic Church
  • Address: 1-1-54 Hirosaka, Kanazawa 920-0962, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Website: http://www.church-kanazawa.sakura.ne.jp/index_e.html

24. Dine at Grill Otsuka

You should also visit Grill Otsuka on your visit to Kanazawa because it is quite a friendly and homely restaurant, especially for the elderly people. The food quality and the service is quite good. The grilled food is one of the best you can find. The menu is available in both English and Japanese. The atmosphere is quite good. You can come with your family and even bring children with you.


  • Name: Kanazawa Castle
  • Address: 2-9-15 Katamachi, Kanazawa 920-0981, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

25. Visit Daienji Temple

Source: TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋)

The temple was established at the Kimon Gate behind the Edo castle and is one of Edo’s three great temples. The temple building is quite big. However, the first things that you will notice as you enter the gates are lots and lots of statues. All the statues have some significance in the Japanese spiritual life. The temple depicts simplicity. The monks are also quite friendly and generous.


  • Name: Daienji Temple
  • Address: 5-3-3, TeramachI, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

26. Benkei

Source: ume-y

You should visit the Benkei restaurant in Kanazawa if you have some extra cash in your pocket. The restaurant serves Japanese cuisine for breakfast and dinner. Special reservations can also be made here. However, the main problem is that this restaurant is quite expensive and will cost you about $100 per person if you eat a full meal. Everything else, from staff to the atmosphere is quite amazing.


  • Name: Benkei
  • Address: 2-15-1 Honmachi Kanazawa Ishikawa
  • Opening hour: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

27. Visit Nomura Family Samurai House

If you want to know how Samurais used to live, visit the Nomura Family Samurai house. The house is basically the remains of the Nomura family, which was a popular Samurai family in ancient Japan. The exterior garden is just beautiful and the tea ritual there is just fascinating. The tea is optional, but totally worth it if you want to experience the real samurai life.


  • Name: Nomura Family Samurai House
  • Address: 1-3-32 Nagamachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

28. Dine at Jiyuken

Jiyuken is the place to go if you want a delicious dinner within a limited budget. The food service at the restaurant is quite quick, regardless of your order. You can order a variety of dishes here, from rice with omelet to crabs and fishes. The main dish, however, is the special curry with rice. A raw egg is also added in the center for making it nutritious. The restaurant is just a 2 minutes walk from the Namba station.


  • Name: Jiyuken
  • Address: 1 Kaigandori, Minatoku, Osaka 552-0022, Osaka Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 11:20 a.m. to 9:20 p.m.
  • Website: http://www.jiyuken.com/home_english.html

29. Visit D.T. Suzuki Museum

The D.T. Suzuki Museum is a small museum depicting the works of Suzuki Daisetz Taitaro, who was a prominent Buddhist philosopher. The museum was opened in 2011 and is just a 10 minutes walk from the Kenrokuen garden. There are exciting writings of the Buddhist philosopher. You might come here with the view to learn about zen and meditation but you will leave with amazing ideas about architecture. So you should visit this place.


  • Name: D.T. Suzuki Museum
  • Address: 3-4-20 Hondamachi, Kanazawa 920-0964, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Website: http://www.kanazawa-museum.jp/daisetz/english/

30. Enjoy Sushi at Sushitama

Source: pelican

How about making one last stop and eating at Sushitama. This restaurant is at the Kanazawa station, so you just can’t overlook it. The restaurant is probably the best place to eat fresh Sushi. The waiters and waitresses are quite co-operative and understand English. The restaurant interior designing is also quite good. You can even pack your sushi and eat on the train on your way back.


  • Name: Takeshi Tamazuri
  • Address:  1-1 Kinoshimbomachi | Kanazawa100 Bangai Kutsurogikan 2F, Kanazawa 920-0858, Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Opening hour: 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Now you know why Kanazawa is called the “Little Kyoto”. It’s because all of these attractions which depict the Japanese culture in its true sense. Kanazawa, with its many attractions, is an oasis in the true sense, for people of every age. So, you should bring your family and friends and see this oasis by yourself.

Have a good trip and travel!