30 of the Best Things to Do in Kanazawa

30 of the Best Things to Do in Kanazawa


2019.05.10

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

30 of the Best Things to Do in Kanazawa

Kanazawa is an elegant and artistic city filled with cultural heritage and this guide will give you insider tips for getting around and getting the most out of your trip. Because it’s not just about what you see but how you experience all Kanazawa has to offer. Here’s a rundown of the 30 best things to do while you’re in town.Get the camera out and set off down the city’s pretty, historical streets to explore one of the most photogenic cities of Japan.

  • 01

    What to Do around Kanazawa Station

    Kanazawa Station

    Kanazawa Station

  • 02

    1. Get around with a bus card or bike share

    All-day pass

    All-day pass

    While most major sights in the city are technically within walking distance, it’s not exactly time-efficient or easy on the feet to spend half an hour huffing it to another location. And while your first thought may be to take the train, Kanazawa isn’t very well connected within the city limits. That’s where buses come in. The bus stops and stations are well-marked in English and relatively easy to understand, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost. Plus, an all-day pass is only 500 yen.

    Cycling

    Cycling

    But if cycling is more your style, then the Machi-Nori share bikes are also available. With 21 locations around the city and the option to pay with both IC cards and credit cards, these bikes are super convenient. Return the bikes to another port within 30 minutes and it’ll only cost you 200 yen for quick rides all day.

  • 03

    2. Take in the beauty of Kanazawa Station

    Kanazawa Station

    Kanazawa Station

    Chosen as one of the most beautiful stations in the world, Kanazawa Station is very pretty. One of its most striking features is the Tsuzumi-mon. This unique structure takes cues from the red torii gates you find at temples but the latticework pillars are actually inspired by a traditional drum used in Noh theater - the tsuzumi. Then there’s the Motenashi Dome, an imposing metal and glass structure over the station plaza. A nighttime visit when both are illuminated is well worth it.

    Kanazawa Station

    Kanazawa Station

    Kanazawa
    place
    Ishikawa Pref
  • 04

    3. Raining? Head to the Kanazawa Tourism Center

    Kanazawa Tourism Center

    Kanazawa Tourism Center

    Kanazawa gets a lot of precipitation. But don’t worry if you forgot to bring an umbrella. There are 13 umbrella baskets across the city’s main tourism spots and in Kanazawa Station where you can borrow umbrellas for free. If the weather is really bad, then you can even borrow rain boots from the tourism center inside the station.

    Kanazawa Tourism Center

    Kanazawa Tourism Center

    Kanazawa Tourism Center

    Kanazawa Tourism Center

    金沢駅観光案内所
    place
    石川県金沢市木ノ新保町1-1 JR金沢駅構内
    phone
    0762326200
    no image
  • 05

    4. Complement your trip with a Rental Kimono

    Rental Kimono

    Rental Kimono

    The old-world atmosphere of Kanazawa is perfect for a kimono or yukata. Walk among its Edo-era districts in an outfit befitting of the scenery with a rental kimono from Kokoyui (心結). Just a five-minute walk from Kanazawa Station, this kimono rental shop has full lineups of traditional and modern styles for both men and women, as well as professionals who will help you dress in your Edo best.

    URL:Kanazawa KOKOYUI KIMONO Rental

    Rental Kimono

    Rental Kimono

    心結
    place
    石川県金沢市本町1-3-39
    phone
    0762217799
    no image
  • 06

    What to do in Omicho Market

    Omicho Market

    Omicho Market

  • 07

    5. Enjoy some quality sushi in Omicho Market

    Ikiiki Tei

    Ikiiki Tei

    Affectionately known as Kanazawa’s Kitchen, the Omicho Market is packed with tasty sushi bars. You can take your time deciding as you wander through the covered market. But if you get there early, you might beat the crowds to a delicious kaisen-don or a bowl of sashimi over sushi rice. Ikiiki Tei is open from 7am and serves up a fresh bowl of kaisen-don, so you can get a great start before a full day of sightseeing.

  • 08

    6. Walk and Eat in Omicho Market

    Walk and Eat in Omicho Market

    Walk and Eat in Omicho Market

    With all of the fresh seafood around, you owe it to yourself to get stuffed silly. And we mean fresh, too. Several shops offer dishes where the seafood is still wriggling on your plate. Have a nibble at one place and then move on to the next, and the next, and the next, all while absorbing the vibrant sights and sounds of the Omicho Market.

    Walk and Eat in Omicho Market

    Walk and Eat in Omicho Market

    Omicho Market
    place
    Ishikawa Pref. Kanazawashi Kamioumichou 50
    phone
    0762311462
    opening-hour
    9:00-17:00※Depending on the…
  • 09

    What to do in the Higashi Chaya District

    Higashi Chaya District

    Higashi Chaya District

  • 10

    7. Sample the Teahouse Culture

    Ochaya Shima

    Ochaya Shima

    The Higashi Chaya District is known for its wooden teahouses or chaya, which have been standing since Japan’s Edo period. For a traditional experience, visit Ochaya Shima (志摩), a preserved geisha house from the 19th century. Selected as a National Cultural Asset, Shima offers a look into the lifestyles and entertainment of times gone by. Kaikaro Teahouse is also preserved in its original form and traditional geisha performances can be seen here occasionally, albeit with a hefty price tag.

    Ochaya Shima

    Ochaya Shima

    志摩(国指定重要文化財)
    place
    石川県金沢市東山1-13-21
    phone
    0762525675
    no image
  • 11

    8. Discover the “Golden City”

    Hakuza Hikari Kura Gold House

    Hakuza Hikari Kura Gold House

    About 99% of Japan’s gold leaf is made in Kanazawa. The Hakuza Hikari Kura Gold House (箔座 ひかり藏) is right at home here, as this structure is completely covered in gold foil. The inside is even more decadent, with 24 karat gold lining the walls. And you won’t want to miss the gold ice cream! With gold leaf covering this chilled treat, you’re sure to feel like royalty.

    Hakuza Hikari Kura Gold House

    Hakuza Hikari Kura Gold House

    箔座ひかり藏
    place
    石川県金沢市東山1-13-18
    phone
    0762518930
    no image
  • 12

    What to do in Owari-cho

    What to do in Owari-cho

    What to do in Owari-cho

  • 13

    9. Appreciate the minimalist design of Sori Yanagi

    Sori Yanagi

    Sori Yanagi

    A renowned industrial designer, Sori Yanagi’s work distinguished him in post-war Japan. Visiting the Sori Yanagi Design Museum will give you a detailed look at the vision and process of this design giant. Featuring over 7,000 design pieces with Yanagi's distinct, minimalist style, take your time wandering through the exhibits of everything from tableware to industrial supplies.

    Sori Yanagi

    Sori Yanagi

    Sori Yanagi

    Sori Yanagi

    Kanazawa Bijutukogei Univ Yanagitakashirikinen design Kenkyujo
    rating

    4.0

    14 Reviews
    place
    Ishikawa Pref. Kanazawashi Owarichou 2-chome 12-1
    phone
    0762018003
  • 14

    10. Bar hop in Katamachi

    Oden

    Oden

    Kanazawa has some particular ingredients in its Oden - a dish with boiled ingredients in a dashi broth. There’s a stylish spot called Chikuwa that sells both oden and alcohol in the lively Korinbo district of Kanazawa, so you can kill two birds with one stone before heading out to another bar in the area. The buzzing streets of Katamachi are also home to a few clubs, so you won’t have to travel far for a solid night out.

    Club

    Club

    ちくわ
    place
    石川県金沢市片町2-10-42 RENNビル1F
    phone
    0762550303
    no image
  • 15

    What to do in the Kazue-machi Chaya District

    Kazue-machi Chaya District

    Kazue-machi Chaya District

  • 16

    11. Stroll around town

    Kazue-machi Chaya District

    Kazue-machi Chaya District

    Kazue-machi commands the most authentic atmosphere of the chaya districts, with stone-brick walkways, an arched bridge, and stately streetlights. Of course, the antique teahouses add to the appeal and an evening stroll when the streetlights are on might be a nice way to spend a slow night in town. There are also neat little cafes to choose from should you feel a bit peckish.

    Kazue-machi Chaya District

    Kazue-machi Chaya District

    主計町茶屋街
    place
    石川県金沢市主計町
    phone
    0762202194
    no image
  • 17

    12. Spend a night at HATCHi Hostel

    HATCHi Hostel

    HATCHi Hostel

    If the nighttime stroll in Kazue-machi sounds appealing to you, why not spend the night at HATCHi? This trendy hostel sports both a casual cafe and a more upscale restaurant, allowing it to adeptly walk the line between classy and alternative. With minimalist private rooms, as well as dorms, HATCHi Hostel is a good option for those looking for a more social place to stay.
    URL:HATCHi Hostel

    HATCHi Hostel

    HATCHi Hostel

    The Share Hotels Hatchi Kanazawa
    place
    3-18, Hashiba-cho, Kanazawa city, Ishikawa 920-0911, Japan
    phone
    0762561100
    no image
  • 18

    What to do in Kenroku-en

    What to do in Kenroku-en

    What to do in Kenroku-en

  • 19

    13. Enjoy the seasonal changes of Kenroku-en

    Kenroku-en

    Kenroku-en

    Designated as one of The Three Great Gardens of Japan, Kenroku-en (兼六園) offers breathtaking sights in every season. With tranquil ponds, arching bridges and carefully tended greenery, this garden deserves to be explored slowly. Watching the morning sunlight illuminate the garden is highly recommended and relaxing in one of the garden’s teahouses before setting off again for a stroll is sure to reenergize you after a busy trip.

    Kenroku-en

    Kenroku-en

    Kenrokuen Garden
    rating

    4.0

    6 Reviews
    place
    Ishikawa Pref. Kanazawashi Kenrokumachi 1
    phone
    0762343800
    opening-hour
    [3/1-10/15] 7:00-18:00[10/1 …
  • 20

    14. Admire the blue roof tiles of the Seisonkaku Villa

    Seisonkaku

    Seisonkaku

    Built in 1863, the Seisonkaku Villa (成巽閣) is a wonder of 19th-century Japanese architecture. Most notable from the outside are the trademark blue roof tiles of the villa, which were made as a result of the combined efforts and skills of its Kanazawa builders. Offering its own inner gardens and woodwork carvings, this uniquely Japanese structure retains its elegance.

    Seisonkaku

    Seisonkaku

    Seisonkaku

    Seisonkaku

    成巽閣
    place
    石川県金沢市兼六町1-2
    phone
    0762210580
    no image
  • 21

    15. Walk through the Kanazawa Castle Park

    Kanazawa Castle grounds

    Kanazawa Castle grounds

    While most of the Kanazawa Castle is a reconstruction, the castle grounds are still well-kept and suitable for a nice stroll. Heading here early has its benefits, too. If you get to the Castle Park before the crowds, then you’ll have a lovely natural area to soak up the sun, as well as the white walls of the newly reconstructed turrets.

    Kanazawa Castle grounds

    Kanazawa Castle grounds

    金沢城公園
    place
    石川県金沢市丸の内1-1
    phone
    0762343800
    no image
  • 22

    16. Take in the scenery at the Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

    Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

    Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

    To round out the garden experience is Gyokusen’inmaru (玉泉院丸庭園), a garden designed for the purpose of taking leisurely strolls through the serene scenery. What sets this garden apart is not only the multiple paths across its central pond but the fact that at night it’s illuminated. This may be a good last stop on your trip around the Kenroku-en area.

    Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

    Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

    石川門
    place
    石川県金沢市丸の内1-1 金沢城公園内
    phone
    0762343800
    no image
  • 23

    17. Experience the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

    This unique museum was designed by Kazuya Sejima and Ryuo Nishizawa, both of whom are internationally renowned architects. And it shows. The cutting edge design of this building complements the daring art it houses. There are even free exhibits in the museum gardens, including an installation that gives the illusion of walking beneath a swimming pool. These futuristic installations will impress, as well as make you think.
    URL:21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

    21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
    place
    Ishikawa Pref. Kanazawashi Hirosaka 1-2-1
    phone
    0762202800
    opening-hour
    [Exhibition zone] 10:00-18:0…
  • 24

    18. Soak up the Zen at the D.T. Suzuki Museum

    Zen at the D.T. Suzuki Museum

    Zen at the D.T. Suzuki Museum

    Designed by the internationally-known architect, Yoshio Taniguchi, this museum is dedicated to the ideas of Buddhist Philosopher Daisetz Suzuki. Featuring exhibitions, gardens and a Contemplative Space, this museum is meant for self-reflection. Encounter the ideas of Daisetz Suzuki and take time to simply ponder your own thoughts as you experience the quiet tranquility of this special space.
    URL:D.T. Suzuki Museum

    Zen at the D.T. Suzuki Museum

    Zen at the D.T. Suzuki Museum

    D.T. Suzuki Museum
    rating

    4.5

    435 Reviews
    place
    Ishikawa Pref. Kanazawashi Hondamachi 3-4-20
    phone
    0762218011
    opening-hour
    9:30-17:00(Latest entry16:30…
  • 25

    19. Witness the harmony of a shrine with stained glass windows

    Oyama Shrine

    Oyama Shrine

    Oyama Shrine is quite different from most and you’ll know why when you see the shrine’s gate. This particular fusion of Japanese, Chinese, and European architectural styles was actually designed by a Dutchman in 1875, with the gate featuring stained glass windows not typically seen in Japanese shrines. If you swing by at night, the gate is lit up, highlighting the striking stained glass on the third floor.

    Oyama Shrine

    Oyama Shrine

    尾山神社
    place
    石川県金沢市尾山町11-1
    phone
    0762317210
    no image
  • 26

    20. Tie a love fortune at Ishiura Shrine (石浦神社)

    Ishiura Shrine

    Ishiura Shrine

    The Ishiura Shrine is known for matchmaking and the keepers of the shrine have fully embraced this fact. From specially-designed ema (wooden plaques used to write wishes) with hearts on them to pink polka-dotted fortunes, this shrine offers ample opportunity to capture cute pictures of sweet wishes for love. Make sure you tie your wishes and fortunes to the appropriate place so the kami knows where to put their blessings.

    Ishiura Shrine

    Ishiura Shrine

    Ishiura Shrine

    Ishiura Shrine

    Ishiura Shrine
    rating

    3.5

    84 Reviews
    place
    Ishikawa Kanazawa-shi Hondamachi 3-chome 1-30
    phone
    0762313314
  • 27

    21. Go Ninja at Myouryuji Temple (妙立寺)

    Myouryuji Temple

    Myouryuji Temple

    On the surface, this temple doesn’t really stand out. But that’s the point. There are all kinds of hidden trickeries and traps within the walls of the affectionately-termed “Ninja Temple” and it’s only gaining in popularity. Reservations for tours should be made in advance and no translation services are available. But this temple has you covered if you want to just creep down some hidden passages and spy a nasty trap or two.
    URL:Myouryuji

    Myouryuji Temple

    Myouryuji Temple

    妙立寺
    place
    石川県金沢市野町1-2-12
    phone
    0762410888
    no image
  • 28

    22. Slip back into the Edo period at the Nagamachi Samurai District

    Nagamachi Samurai District

    Nagamachi Samurai District

    The Nagamachi Samurai District is home to centuries-old estates that preserve traditional samurai residences. Set behind large wooden gates is the Nomura-ke Samurai House, the former home of a prominent samurai family. This residence has been restored to its former glory and features hand-painted sliding doors and a compact garden that is painstakingly curated, not to mention a display of samurai swords.

    Nomura-ke Samurai House

    Nomura-ke Samurai House

    長町武家屋敷跡
    place
    石川県金沢市長町1
    phone
    0762202194
    no image
    長町武家屋敷跡
    place
    石川県金沢市長町1
    phone
    0762202194
    no image
  • 29

    23. Go shopping on Seseragi Street

    Seseragi Street

    Seseragi Street

    This lively little shopping area houses restaurants and stores that are both modern and traditional, blending the old with the new in a way that’s distinctly Kanazawa. Be sure to stop at Oyoyoshorin (オヨヨ書林). This cozy book store is a blast from the past, with antique shelves that are filled with fiction, art, and design books, just to name a few. If that weren’t enough, they also sell vintage clothing to complete the comfortable, alternative vibe.

    Oyoyoshorin

    Oyoyoshorin

    Oyoyoshorin

    Oyoyoshorin

    Oyoyo Shorin Shintatemachi Store
    place
    Ishikawa Kanazawa-shi Shintatemachi 3-21
    phone
    0762618339
    opening-hour
    11:00-19:00
  • 30

    What to do in other districts of Kanazawa

    Nishichaya districts

    Nishichaya districts

  • 31

    24. Make a gold leaf souvenir at Imai Kinpaku in Hirosaka

    Imai Kinpaku

    Imai Kinpaku

    Like we said, Kanazawa produces a lot of gold leaf and there’s no shortage of opportunity to try your hand at making a gold leaf souvenir. At Imai Kinpaku (今井金箔), they’ve streamlined the process, allowing you to walk in empty-handed and, in under 10 minutes, walk out with a handmade gold leaf badge of your very own. This spot is recommended for those who are not so confident in their crafting skills, because it’s simple, fun, and hard to mess up.
    URL:Imai Kinpaku

    Imai Kinpaku

    Imai Kinpaku

    株式会社今井金箔 広坂店
    place
    石川県金沢市広坂1-2-36
    phone
    0762211109
    no image
  • 32

    25. Have a picture-perfect parfait at DORUMIRU in Tatemachi

    DORUMIRU

    DORUMIRU

    In the age of Instagram, pretty food reigns supreme. Dorumiru serves up one super artistic parfait that will have your followers jealous and ravenous at the same time. Which, of course, means that these photogenic parfaits sell out fast. You’ll want to go in the morning to make sure that you get a spoonful of this artistic treat, instead of a blurry picture of another customer’s fancy sweet.

    DORUMIRU

    DORUMIRU

    DORUMIRU

    DORUMIRU

    DORUMIRU
    place
    石川県金沢市竪町1-1
    phone
    076-260-0300
    no image
  • 33

    26. Enter the mysterious gallery of HIMITO in Nakakawayoke-machi

    HIMITO

    HIMITO

    This “peel art” cafe is a trip. The inside is decorated with carefully carved artwork made from the peel of fruits and vegetables. And it doesn’t stop there, either. The moment you walk in, you’ll notice dandelions hanging in delicate strings overhead and even more dandelions piled high on a table, making for some other-worldly Insta pics. You can relax over a cup of herbal tea and even try your hand at carving a bit of peel art yourself.

    HIMITO

    HIMITO

    HIMITO

    HIMITO

    HIMITO
    rating

    3.5

    5 Reviews
    place
    Ishikawa Kanazawa-shi Nakakawayokemachi 51
    phone
    0762243730
  • 34

    27. Eat a sweet treat in the Nishi Chaya District

    Cafe PRESTAT

    Cafe PRESTAT

    The western teahouse district is a little smaller and much more laid-back than its eastern counterpart, making it a good place to savor a delicious treat while you roam the streets of the old chaya district. It’s also home to Cafe PRESTAT, a classy chocolatier with a royal flair. An established English brand, PRESTAT sells a variety of colorful chocolates that are created to a very high standard. These are sweets worth splurging on.

    Cafe PRESTAT

    Cafe PRESTAT

    CAFE PRESTAT
    place
    Ishikawa Kanazawa Ichino Machi 2-24-2
    phone
    0762563338
  • 35

    28. Treasure hunt at Kutani Kosen Kiln (九谷光仙窯)

    Kutani Kosen Kiln

    Kutani Kosen Kiln

    This ceramic kiln is the only one remaining in Kanazawa and has been open for 150 years. The distinctive and intricate designs of kutani ceramics are an elegant addition to any collection and searching through the colorful displays of handmade pieces is a calming process. At this location, they even let you take a tour of the workshop and try your hand at painting an outline of a kutani design yourself.
    URL:Kutani Kosen Kiln

    Kutani Kosen Kiln

    Kutani Kosen Kiln

    Kutani Kosen Kiln

    Kutani Kosen Kiln

    九谷光仙窯
    place
    石川県金沢市野町5-3-3
    phone
    0762410902
    no image
  • 36

    29. Discover an alabaster world at the Kanazawa Umimirai Library (金沢海みらい図書館)

    Kanazawa Umimirai Library

    Kanazawa Umimirai Library

    This public library is truly one of a kind. Set in a contemporary building of white concrete that’s dotted with around 6,000 circular glass windows, its unique structure is simple, yet defined. Natural light abounds inside the building and the vaulted ceilings create an airy sensation of freedom. Plus, it’s still a public library, meaning you can find a book and spend a comfy afternoon to yourself.

    Kanazawa Umimirai Library

    Kanazawa Umimirai Library

    Kanazawa Umimirai Library

    Kanazawa Umimirai Library

    Kanazawa Umimirai Library
    rating

    4.0

    30 Reviews
    place
    Ishikawa Pref. Kanazawashi Jichumachi Lee 1-1
    phone
    0762662011
  • 37

    30. Take a day trip to Toyama (富山)

    Day trip to Toyama

    Day trip to Toyama

    A quick trip of only 20 minutes on the shinkansen will take you to Toyama, another city of the arts, with the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design just a 15-minute walk from Toyama Station. Newly opened in 2017, this museum is a must for art lovers, with ambitious exhibits in a sleek, contemporary space. If that weren’t reason enough to visit Toyama, the “World’s Most Beautiful Starbucks” also calls the city home. Toyama truly is a city of beauty from top to bottom.

    Day trip to Toyama

    Day trip to Toyama

    Starbucks Coffee Toyama Kansui Park

    Starbucks Coffee Toyama Kansui Park

    Toyama
    place
    Toyama Pref

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