Top 15 Best Things to do in Kanazawa, Japan

What is Kanazawa famous for?

Higashi Chaya photo by M Reza Faisal via Flickr CC

Bucket List: Tourist Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Kanazawa, Japan

This city is sometimes called little Kyoto, and the city is filled with first-rate sights, which include some great museums, the country’s best gardens, and numerous beautifully preserved neighborhoods. Kanazawa is filled with many tourist attractions that you can visit and explore, and they also have some delicious local cuisines that you can try out; here are some of the best things to do in Kanazawa that you can try out.

Best Things to do in Kanazawa Japan photo by Ken Yamaguchi via Flickr CC
Best Things to do in Kanazawa Japan photo by Ken Yamaguchi via Flickr CC

Go relax in Kenrokuen

Kanazawa Kenrokuen
Kanazawa Kenrokuen

This is among Japan’s three famous parks, with Kairakuen in Mito and Korakuen in Okayama. The park comes about its name from the 6 “winning aspects” that the park has: its quiet seclusion, vastness, man-made elements, water spring, vies, and classic aesthetic. This is one of the top things to see in Kanazawa as you enjoy the garden’s atmosphere in all four seasons. There are many other things to see, like popular bamboo lanterns, kara saki, and Kasumi-ga-ike.

Visit the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art by Ajari via Wikipedia CC
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art by Ajari via Wikipedia CC

This is a circular and light-filled museum. It focuses on art produced since 1980 and is heavy on installations, video, and mixed-media pieces that are energetic, playful, and thought-provoking. The museum is home to numerous display spaces and function rooms, and it is also spacious enough for the huge crowds that usually visit the place. You can try and come in the morning after opening time if you want to avoid the crowd, and the museum does not open on Monday.

Go sightseeing at Kanazawa Castle Park

Kanazawa Castle Park
Kanazawa Castle Park – Best Things to do in Kanazawa

This is one of the best things to try out in Kanazawa and is family-friendly. The park is a public park that was created by maintaining the grounds of Kanazawa castle. You will see many restored historic buildings like the Hishi Yagura watchtower, Gojukken Nagaya, a weapon storehouse, and Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura on the park grounds. You can also explore some of the designated important cultural properties like the Sanjikken Nagaya, Ishikawa Gate, and the Tsurumaru storehouse.

Visit the D.T. Suzuki Museum

D.T. Suzuki Museum by Yellowmo via Flickr CC
D.T. Suzuki Museum by Yellowmo via Flickr CC

D. T. Suzuki was a Japanese writer that is responsible for introducing Zen Buddhism to the West. This museum is a perfect monument to the man and his works; you will not want to miss this museum. Although the exhibits are few, you will fall in love with the museum’s structure. The exhibits in the museum convey the message of the man and the religion that he tries to explain, and this is a nice place to contemplate and empty your mind of distraction. You will enjoy the stunning water “garden” outside the museum and visit the fine traditional garden behind it.

Walk around Higashi Chaya District

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical gardens by Bariston via Wikipedia CC
Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical gardens by Bariston via Wikipedia CC

At Higashi Chaya District, you will get to see the traces of the olden days as there are still old townhouses with stunning bay lattice windows in this area. The district was selected in 2001 among the national important cultural structures that need to be preserved as a cultural property townscape, and the preservation plans are being pushed forward by the district. You will feel like you are transported back to the olden days in this area and enjoy the lovely atmosphere as you walk around here.

Try out the local cuisine at Yamasan Sushi

Sushi
Sushi – Food Trip – Best Things to do in Kanazawa

Yamasan Sushi is well known for its seafood bowls comprising 18 kinds of fish. On the rice, there is herring roe, eel, crab, scallop, tuna, shellfish, squid, shrimps, crab legs, Tai, salmon, yellowtail, and octopus and always crowded with customers in the queue waiting to eat this delicious cuisine. This is a mind-blowing rice bowl where you can boldly enjoy fresh and top-quality seafood.

Explore Ninja Temple

Myoryuji in Kanazawa Japan
Myoryuji in Kanazawa Japan

Myoryuji is widely known as Ninja Temple. Although it has no relation to ninjas, it is associated with them mysteriously. You will have to reserve a place in this temple before you can be allowed to tour it with a guide taking you around as they explain everything to you in detail as they show you around. The temple houses trap staircases, concealed stairs, labyrinth stairs, lookout areas, traps, trick offering boxes, and many more, and you will be surprised at the traps, and the interior design makes it look like there were used by ninjas. You cannot take pictures while on tour here.

Visit Akadama Honten

Akadama Honten photo via FB
Akadama Honten photo via FB

This is a popular area in Japan where you can try out Oden and Akadama Honten. Eating here is one of the best things to do in Kanazawa. The soup here is Kansai-style, and it is made using Kanazawa soy in making the dish. The Oden pot is then placed at the center of the long counter, and it is then surrounded by the ingredients so that you have all the time in the world to eat it, and it is best if you take it with alcohol.

Go shopping at Omicho Market

Vegetable Shop at Omicho Market
Vegetable Shop at Omicho Market

The market is less crowded, and you will enjoy it more than Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji and even more spacious than Kyoto’s Nishiki. The market features many stalls that sell locally caught seafood and have a good selection of fruit and vegetables and many Japanese foodstuffs. You can also visit one of the numerous restaurants in the market where you can easily sample some of the stuff that you see on sale.

Kanazawa City Hall via Wikipedia CC
Kanazawa City Hall via Wikipedia CC

Explore Nagamachi Samurai House Area

This is situated on the city’s west side, and it is close to Korinbo District in the area; you will get to explore a stunning collection of preserved samurai houses found along the two canals running through the area. There are many houses that are restored in the area, which you can enter and peer around. If you want to explore this area, the best way is to head north along the canal, and behind the Kohrinbo 109 Building, you will then turn left at the first traffic light and then stroll down south along the next canal; there are many restaurants and cafes that you can visit on the way.

Visit Otome Sushi

Otome Sushi photo via FB Page
Otome Sushi photo via FB Page

This is a well-known sushi place in Kanazawa where you will get to eat rare items that you cannot find anywhere else and at a reasonable price. The highest quality toppings, which are matched exquisitely with sun-dried rice from the Noto Peninsula, are selected carefully by the head chef to make what you eat. You will be surprised by the delicious cuisines made here, and it is best to come here and have lunch.

Explore Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art

Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art photo via Wikipedia CC
Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art photo via Wikipedia CC

Visitors often miss this place as they rush to see the 21st-Century Museum of Contemporary Art, but if you are looking for Japanese art, this is the best place for you. You will get to see magnificent collections of Japanese arts here, and downstairs there is a brilliant café where you can refuel with some pastries, tea, and coffee.

Higashi Chaya photo by M Reza Faisal via Flickr CC
Higashi Chaya photo by M Reza Faisal via Flickr CC

Visit Kurando Terashima House

The house was built in the late 18th century, and this is one of the places you should not miss when you walk between the Higashiya Chaya Area and Kanazawa Castle Park. The garden is superb outback, and you will get to see some rare Tsutsui (azalea) trees. This is a nice place to visit as the crowds here are not much as few foreign tourists come here.

Go sightseeing at Kanazawa Phonograph Museum

Kanazawa Phonograph Museum photo via Wikipedia CC
Kanazawa Phonograph Museum photo via Wikipedia CC

This is the best place to come if you are a DJ or you just love antique stereo equipment, as you will be surprised to find this museum in Kanazawa. The highlight of this museum is the great collection of old photographs which is spread over the three floors and some antique radio consoles.

Try out Kawamura “Amanatto”

Amanatto by Hajime NAKANO via Wikipedia CC
Amanatto by Hajime NAKANO via Wikipedia CC

Amanatto is popular because of its cute packaging, and it comes in wide varieties like red kidney beans, dainagon azuki, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, soybeans, black soybeans, and so on. The packaging is different from each other depending on what variety is inside, and you will surely get addicted as you are going to eat it every day. You might have difficulty getting your hands on some as it is very popular.

There are many well-known dining and sightseeing spots in Kanazawa that will keep you occupied and relaxed while on vacation or a business trip.

Do you have other recommended fun and interesting things to do in Kanazawa? Please feel free to share by posting a comment below.

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