IDEAS

All 31 Museums in Kanazawa (Plus 4 More!)

31 Museums in Kanazawa (Plus 4 More!)

03.11.2018

Kanazawa has an insane number of museums of all sizes, each with its own focus and theme. Whether you’re a museum lover or just want to visit those that suit your own interests, Kanazawa can accommodate.

Kanazawa Museum Guide by Kaname Japan

Below are the top 31 notable museums within the city for a wide range of tastes and interests, plus 4 more outside Kanazawa worth an extra trip. Select a link to jump to your interests or keep going to plan out your discount tickets first!

Several discount tickets are available to help you make the most of your time, depending on whether the museum is public or private, at the city or prefecture level.

Discount Tickets and “Culture Passports”

Kenroku-en +1
► ¥500

Entry into Kenroku-en Garden is only 310 yen, but for just 500 yen, you can visit the garden for two days and gain entry into your choice of one of several nearby sites. Select from the following:

  • Kanazawa Castle Central Complex:
    Hishi Yagura, Gojikken Nagaya, & Hahsizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura
  • The Ishikawa Literary Museum
  • Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art (!! see “TIP” below)
  • Kaga-Honda Memorial Museum
  • Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of History
  • Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Traditional Arts & Crafts

This ticket only covers the base price of the museums, so if there’s any special exhibition, you will have to pay extra if you want to see it. TIP: That means if you’re visiting on the first Monday of the month, don’t select the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art, as you can already enter the permanent exhibition for free this day only!

If it’s your first visit to Kanazawa or you’re undecided, we recommend Kanazawa Castle or the Museum of Traditional Arts & Crafts for a rounded tour.

Combo Ticket: The Noh and 21st Century Museums
► ¥510

Close to each other and to Kaname accommodations are these two dynamically different museums, a great chance to glimpse of Japanese arts, old and new. This combo ticket is only 510 yen and allows access to select permanent and temporary exhibitions at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, but not to special exhibitions or event exhibitions. The amount saved varies by the price of available exhibitions in the 21st Century Museum, but it’s always a steal.

Combo Ticket: Kaga-Honda and Museum of History
► ¥500

Kaga-Honda and History Museum combination ticket

Two museums share the same red-brick building: the Kaga-Honda Memorial Museum and the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of History. Entry into each is 400 and 300 yen, respectively, but at either museum you can purchase a combo ticket for only 500 yen to enter both, saving 200 yen.

Combo Ticket: Tosanokami-ke and Shinise Memorial Museums
► ¥360

For folks who only have time for Nagamachi, a.k.a. the “Samurai District”, this combo ticket can shave a few yen off your overall visit. Toward the southern end of the district, the Maeda Tosanokami-ke Shiryokan and Shinise Memorial Hall stand just across from each other. This ticket saves 40 yen off the total cost to tour both.

Culture Passport

Of all the discount tickets, the Culture Passports are the most flexible and wide-reaching. They cover the entry fee to 17 of Kanazawa’s museums (give or take a couple that may close for renovations) and discounts to 5 prefectural and private museums within the city.

1-Day Pass Culture Passport for Kanazawa

Culture Passports come in three prices and three lengths of time.

  • 1-Day Pass, ¥510; worth getting if visiting 2 museums in a single day
  • 3-Day Pass, ¥820; worth more than 3 museum visits
  • Annual Pass, ¥2050; worth more than 6 museum visits

Most tourists will find the 1- or 3-Day Passes sufficient, but long-stay visitors and residents benefit greatly from the Annual Pass, even if not staying a whole year.

Toku Toku 1-Week Program

Tok Toku Museum Pamphlet for Kanazawa Museums

Enthusiastic museum lovers should pick up this leaflet at one of the 17 city museums covered by the Culture Pass (whether they chose to get the pass or not). By visiting and getting a stamp at 3 or 5 museums within 7 days, the possessor of the leaflet can get a small prize. These change throughout the year, but always reflect a piece of local craftwork or artist.

The leaflet also has a helpful map, though English is limited.

History Lovers

1. Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of History

The Interaction Hall, centralmost building of the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of History in Kanazawa, Japan

The Ishikawa Prefectual Museum of History covers the geological and political history of Ishikawa Prefecture. They have a small sensory room featuring festivals from around the prefecture played on three walls and in surround sound. Though it is no substitute, it can give you a feeling for what the local festivals look and sound like when you can’t go yourself.
former military storehouse
Excellent English audio guide.

3-1 Dewamachi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Optionally covered by Kenroku-en +1 ticket
  • Combo ticket with Kaga-Honda Museum available
    (Combo ticket is better than Culture Passport if only going to both.)
  • ¥240 with Culture Passport

2. Fukui Prefecture Dinosaur Museum

The Dinosaur World level of the Fukui Dinosaur museum includes 35 full skeletons

Anyone with an interest in natural history and especially in dinosaurs should plan a day trip to Fukui for the Fukui Prefecture Dinosaur Museum. It’s one of the top dino museums in the world.
by Kisho Kurokawa, “life emerging from within earth”
Excellent English audio guide and text.

51-11 Terao, Muroko, Katsuyama, Fukui
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
closed 2nd and 4th Wednesdays
¥720 base price

Architectural History, Preserved Buildings

3. Kanazawa Yuwaku Edomura

Edomura in Yuwaku, Kanazawa, Japan Yuwaku Edomura, courtesy the City of Kanazawa.

Edomura means “Edo-era Village.” It’s an open museum of almost a dozen carefully preserved or reconstructed buildings spanning centuries of Ishikawa’s history. Information about the buildings and the people who lived there covers everyone from nobility to peasantry, as well as details about the buildings’ designs.
various Edo-era buildings: living spaces, farms, inns, etc.
Excellent English audio guide (¥1000 deposit, refunded upon return).

35-1 Yuwaku-araya-machi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
closed Tuesdays or the Wednesday after a Tuesday national holiday
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

4. Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle cluster of buildings

The reconstructed remains of the once magnificent Kanazawa Castle overlook the large park grounds that have become the center of the city’s cultural activities. The center-most complex is comprised of three connected military fortifications and requires a ticket to enter. Of the three, the Hishi Yagura Turret may be of most interest to lovers of architecture and wood-construction; it’s built at angles that make it a diamond shape, providing clear views of the castle grounds’ entrances.
unusual angled construction, alternating outer-facing windows, defensive fortifications, detailed cross-sections and carpentry information
Moderate English text available. English-speaking volunteers may be available at the information booths.

1-1 Marunouchi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. in summer, 4:30 p.m in winter
¥310 base price

  • Optionally covered by Kenroku-en +1 ticket

5. Seisonkaku Villa

Seisonkaku Royal Villa Reception Hall, Kanazawa

The Seisonkaku Villa behind Kenroku-en Garden is a small palace made for the mother of one of the daimyo lords. It features many architectural touches of the Meiji-era and is itself a gallery for local excavation discoveries. It is one of the very few places in Japan to see royal artifacts in the same environment which they were originally used.
nightingale floor, post-less veranda of Meiji design, mixed design, roof construction detailed
Very limited English.

1-2 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
closed Wednesday or the Thursday after a Wednesday national holiday
¥700 base price

6. Kaikaro, Geisha Tea House

The gold tea room of Kaikaro, geisha tea house in Higashi Chaya Gai, Kanazawa

The largest tea house in the Higashi Chaya District still entertains a range of visitors, from private, high-end clientele to Kanazawa tourists. During daytime hours, the house is a private museum of its own architecture and a fine collection of geisha belongings. Casual tea service is also available.
two centuries old
Good English available

1-14-8 Higashiyama, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥750 base price

7. Shima Geisha House

Shima Geisha House in Higashi Chaya, Kanazawa, Japan Shima Geisha Tea House, courtesy the City of Kanazawa.

Close to Kaikaro, this tea house in Higashi Chaya has had many names in its long history. The self-guided tour walks visitors through the entirety of the house, and special attention is paid to the paint and lacquer work designed to enhance the experience of watching geisha perform. Casual tea service available.
two centuries old
Moderate English text available

1-13-21 Higashiyama, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
¥500 base price

Kanazawa’s 5 Samurai Museums

8. Kaga-Honda Memorial Museum

Kaga-Honda Museum in Kanazawa, Japan

The Kaga-Honda Museum is a small, but well-kept gallery of the artifacts of the Kaga Domain’s second richest samurai family (short of the ruling daimyo, the Maedas) the Hondas, for whom the nearby Honda Forest is also named. It shares a building and a ticket with the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of History.
former military storehouse
Very limited English.

3-1 Dewamachi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥400 base price

  • Optionally covered by Kenroku-en +1 ticket
  • Combo ticket with the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of History available
    (Combo ticket is better than Culture Passport if going to both.)
  • ¥350 with Culture Passport

9. Nomura Samurai Residence House

Nomura Samurai Armor in Nagamachi, Kanazawa, Japan

The Nomura Family Samurai Residence is in the heart of the Samurai District and features a Two-Michelin-Star private garden. The house is an former merchant’s home that showcases merchant wealth as well as the samurai family’s heirloom’s. History buffs be sure to visit the small gallery in the back storehouse. Casual green tea service available.
Edo-era multi-level merchant’s house
Moderate English text available.

1-3-32 Nagamachi, Kanazawa
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
¥550 base price

10. Maeda Tosanokami-ke Memorial Museum

Maeda family museum in the Samurai District

The Maeda Tosanokami-ke Shiryokan Museum is difficult to recommend. It covers the extensive history of the local daimyo’s interactions with the Shogunate, but most of the displays are documents in old Japanese. However, it’s notable for its two beautiful and unique sets of full samurai armor.
Limited English text.

2-10-17 Katamachi, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Combo ticket with the Shinise Memorial Hall available
  • Covered by Culture Passport

11. Ashigaru Museum

Entrance to the Ashigaru samurai museum in Kanazawa, Japan

The Ashigaru Shiryokan Museum is made of two preserved samurai foot soldier homes a short walk away from the center of the Samurai District.
Very limited English.

1-9-3 Nagamachi, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m – 5:00 p.m.
Free to enter.

12. The Old Site of Mr. Kurando Terashima’s House

The nightingale floor in Terashima's House, the banished samurai of Kanazawa, Japan

Unlike the merchant house that hosts Nomura’s gallery, the former residence of this banished samurai is a true samurai’s home-turned-museum. It briefly covers the history of the Kanazawa samurai who died in exile after standing against a government that took advantage of its people during hard times. The house features a dry-bed private garden.
nightingale floor, acoustic music room
Moderate English text and audio player.

10-3 Otemachi, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

Recent History

13. Kanazawa Folklore Museum

Kanazawa Folklore Museum

Displays from the articles of daily life and their rapid changes over the course of the 20th Century.
Western wood style popular for schools during the Meiji era, with porch, tower
Limited English text.

3-31 Tobiumecho, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

14. Uchinada History and Folklore Museum

The Uchinada History and Folklore Museum

If you’re bound for the beaches of Uchinada in early summer, pop into the Uchinada Museum of History and Folklore for some fascinating post-war history about the local people.
Moderate English.

Ni-455 Miyasaka, Uchinada-machi, Kahoku
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
closed Tuesdays or Wednesdays after Tuesday national holidays
¥200 base price

15. Great People of Kanazawa Memorial Museum

Great People of Kanazawa Museum Great People of Kanazawa Memorial Museum, courtesy the City of Kanazawa.

An amazing museum about amazing people who not only shaped modern Japan, but affected the world. Alas, most of the museum is only in Japanese. But, if you love biographies or discovering Pulitzer Prize winners, it’s worth a visit.
Very limited English.

6-18-4 Shimohondamachi, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

16. The Fourth High School Memorial Museum of Cultural Exchange, Ishikawa
(Modern Literature Museum)

Fourth High School, Kanazawa Japan Fourth High School Memorial Museum, courtesy the City of Kanazawa.

The academic home to many of Kanazawa’s prominent historical faces and one of several museums honoring Kanazawa’s writers.
by Yamaguchi Hanroku & Kuru Masamichi, late 19th Century
Very limited English text.

2-2-5 Hirosaka, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥360 base price

  • ¥290 with Culture Passport

The Arts, Old and New

17. Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum

Yasue Gold Leaf Museum exterior, close to Higashi Chaya District in Kanazawa

Kanazawa supplies over 99% of Japan’s gold and silver leaf. This museum gives visitors a thorough look at the intense process of gold leaf production, qualities, and products. It’s an ideal stop for anyone already visiting Higashi Chaya Gai, peppered with gold leaf shops and studios.
Moderate English.

1-3-10 Higashiyama, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

18. Kanazawa Nakamura Memorial Museum

Nakamura Memorial Museum in Kanazawa, Japan

The Nakamura Memorial Museum displays a feudal merchant family’s collection of fine tea ceremony pieces. Limited English. Casual green tea service available. (Located along a secret path between Suzuki and the Prefectural Museum of Art.)
Limited English.

3-2-29 Honda-machi, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

19. The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Home to site-specific installations, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is renown throughout Japan. The entire facility and grounds are designed to function as a public park and be very family-friendly and inviting.
by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, “unassuming and hidden volume; as open and accessible as a park”
Excellent Enlgish text, English speaking staff.

1-2-1 Hirosaka, Kanazawa
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays)
closed Mondays
price varies by exhibition

  • Combo ticket with the Kanazawa Noh Museum available

20. Kanazawa Utatsuyama Kogei Kobo

Utatsuyama Kogei Kobo, a traditional crafts museum and workshop in Kanazawa, Japan Utatsuyama Kogei Kobo, courtesy the City of Kanazawa.

A workshop and gallery where the young artists of Kanazawa create new work with ancient crafting techniques, particularly with ceramic, lacquer, metal, glass and dye work.
English non-existent. 

To-10 Utatsu-machi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
closed Tuesdays or the Wednesday after a Tuesday national holiday
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

21. Kanazawa Noh Museum

Kanazawa Noh Museum exterior in Kanazawa, Japan

The Kanazawa Noh Museum near the 21st Century Museum and Kenroku-en Garden features the costumes and designs of the local Hosho School of Noh Theatre. Try on a costume and mask as well.
Moderate English.

1-2-25 Hirosaka, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Combo ticket with the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art available
  • Covered by Culture Passport

22. Kanazawa Yuwaku Yumeji-kan Museum

Yuwaku Yumeji Kinenkan, in Kanazawa, Japan Yuwaku Yumeji-kan Museum, courtesy the City of Kanazawa.

One of Kanazawa’s most recently established museums, this museum honors Takehisa Yumeji, a modern artist who eschewed convention in a dogged pursuit of his own style and choice of subject. In addition to his work, which spans both “high” and “low art,” the museum explores his life’s romances and struggles.
Limited English.

I-144-1 Yuwaku-machi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

23. Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts

Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts in Kanazawa, Japan

This museum is an excellent spot for those interested in an overview of Kanazawa’s many inherited and locally-born crafts. The main exhibit showcases traditional works, and the temporary exhibits feature the works of exemplary artists incorporating the same techniques into new works. The first floor is free and includes a small gift shop.
Excellent English text.

1-1 Kenroku-machi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥260 base price

  • Optionally covered by Kenroku-en +1 ticket
  • ¥200 with Culture Passport

24. Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art

Entrance to the Ishikawa Prefecture Museum of Art in Kanazawa, Japan

The Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art has a permanent exhibition of a National Treasure and artifacts of the Kaga daimyo, the local royalty of feudal Japan’s second largest samurai clan. A lovely cafe faces Honda Forest at the back. (The permanent exhibition is free on the first Monday of the month.)
Excellent English audio guide for main exhibitions. Very limited English for special exhibitions.

2-1 Dewamachi, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
¥360 base price for permanent exhibition; special exhibition prices vary

  • Optionally covered by Kenroku-en +1 ticket
  • ¥290 with Culture Passport

Scholarship

25. Izumi Kyoka Kinenkan Museum

Izumi Kyoka Memorial Museum in Kanazawa, Japan Izumi Kyoka Kinenkan Museum, courtesy the City of Kanazawa.

Of Kanazawa’s “Three Great Writers,” Kyoka is probably the most well-known overseas. A Romantic author, Kyoka is credited as the father of the Surrealist movement in Japanese literature and has had tremendous influence in modern anime. The museum dedicated in his honor hosts a number of artworks inspired by his stories.
Very limited English.

2-3 Shimoshincho, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

26. Kanazawa Literary Hall

Kanazawa Literary Hall Museum

This bank-turned-literature museum hosts recipients of the Izumi Kyoka Literary Prize and the work of Hiroyuki Itsuki.
 early Showa-era modernism
English non-existent.

1-7-10 Owari-cho, Kanazawa
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
closed Tuesdays
¥100 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

27. Tokuda Shusei Kinenkan Museum

Tokuda Shusai Kinenkan Museum in Kanazawa, Japan Tokuda Shusei Kinenkan Museum, courtesy the City of Kanazawa.

One of Kanazawa’s “Three Great Writers,” Shusei’s work took a Naturalist tone. Shusei was a very popular writer in his time, and much of his work was adapted to film. Movie posters and aspects of Shusei’s life are on display.
English non-existent.

1-19-1 Higashiyama, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

28. D.T. Suzuki Museum

DT Suzuki Museum in Kanazawa, Japan

The D.T. Suzuki Museum is itself a beautiful architectural piece of Zen design and covers the life and works of the man who brought Zen philosophy to the west. The library section includes translations of his work.
by Yoshio Taniguchi; “peace, nature and freedom”; incorporates Suzuki’s use of the circle, square and triangle
Excellent English text. Audio guide available.

3-4-20 Honda-machi, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
closed Mondays or on Tuesdays following Monday national holidays
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

29. Muro Saisei Kinenkan Museum

Muro Saisei Kinenkan Museum in Kanazawa, Japan Muro Saisei Kinenkan Museum, courtesy the City of Kanazawa.

Seisei, who grew up where his museum now stands, was a prolific poet and novelist and one of Kanazawa’s “Three Great Writers.”
English non-existent.

3-22 Sennichimachi, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

30. Nishi Chaya Shiryokan Museum

Entrance to the free culture museum in one of Kanazawa's geisha districts

The first floor documents the difficult life of Kanazawa novelist and playwright, Seijiro Shimada. Upstairs, visitors can get a closer inspection of the tea and entertainment rooms common in geisha establishments.
Limited English.

2-25-18 Nomachi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. (9:30 a.m. on Sunday) – 5:00 p.m.
Free to enter.

31. Kitaro Nishida Museum of Philosophy

Nishida Kitaro Philosophy Museum, Tadao Ando, Kanazawa architecture photo credit: Nik van der Giesen 

Just north of Uchinada in the city of Kahoku is the Kitaro Nishida Museum of Philosophy. If the D.T. Suzuki Museum appeals in either design or subject, then this one will, too.A contemporary of Suzuki’s, Nishida was a prominent modern philosopher and influence in modernizing Japan. And if you’re hungry, this one is just a few minute’s walk from some delicious if overwhelming sushi.

I-1 Uchihisumi, Kahoku
9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
closed Mondays and Tuesdays after Monday national holidays
¥300 base price

Niche Interests & Oddities

32. Phonograph Museum

Exhibition inside Kanazawa's Phonograph Museum, by Aaron Mannino image courtesy Aaron Mannino

History through the sound of the phonograph. This was originally a personal collection that has turned into one of Kanazawa’s most unusual and intriguing museums.

2-11-21 Owaricho, Kanazawa
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥300 base price

  • Covered by Culture Passport

33. Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Hall

Chinese pharmacy, Shinise Kinenkan in the samurai district of Nagamachi in Kanazawa, Japan

The Kanazawa Shinise Memorial Museum (just across the street from Tosanokami-ke in the Samurai District) recreates a traditional Chinese pharmacy of the Edo-era in the front, displays a collection of local craftworks in the back—including an abundant collection of handcrafted temari woven balls—and a rotating gallery of local histories and crafts upstairs. It’s only ¥100 a ticket, the cheapest of the city museums (before discount tickets). One Michelin Star.
Edo era merchant shop
Moderate English.

2-2-45 Nagamachi, Kanazawa
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
¥100 base price

  • Combo ticket with the Maeda Tosanokami-ke Shiryokan Museum available
  • Covered by Culture Passport

34. Morihachi Confectionery Wooden Sweet Moulds Museum

Kanazawa Museum of Wooden Japanese Sweets Molds, wikicommons image by Yoshihide Fujitani image courtesy of wikicommons and Yoshihide Fujitani

The local sugar sweet called rakugan is made with specially carved wooden molds. This sweets shop hosts a massive collection of them dating to the early Edo era. They also have a cafe where you can enjoy a sweet of your own overlooking Terashima’s garden.
English text available.

10-15 Otemachi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
¥200 base price

35. Ohno Karakuri Museum

Karakuri Museum in Ono, Kanazawa

Karakuri are wooden mechanical dolls and toys dating back centuries. This museum is dedicated to Kanazawa’s most prolific karakuri maker, who shares his name with the neighborhood, Ohno.
innermost wooden building by Syozo Uchii, evokes the mechanisms of karakuri automata
Limited English. 

4-2-29 Onomachi, Kanazawa
9:00 a.m.  5:00 p.m.
closed Wednesdays and Thursdays after Wednesday national holidays
¥300 base price


How many of these will you visit during your stay?

Haruki
Haruki

Hey, Haruki here! I manage Kaname Hostel. I can tell you all about Kanazawa culture and attitude. I'm traveler myself and love making connections with people. I also dig architecture and dancing!