The 10 Best Places To Visit In Kanazawa

Kanazawa, a hidden gem on Japan’s Central Honshu Island, is a place where the past and present coalesce in a beautiful symphony. It’s a city where every street and alley whispers tales of samurai honor, and every garden blooms with the delicate touch of centuries-old traditions. As I meandered through its historic districts, I couldn’t help but feel transported to a bygone era, yet the vibrancy of modern life was never far away. Let’s embark on a journey through the 10 best places that make Kanazawa a must-visit destination.

Kenrokuen Garden: A Stroll Through Edo Elegance

Kenrokuen Garden is not just a garden; it’s a masterpiece of landscape design that has been centuries in the making. Considered one of Japan’s “three most beautiful landscape gardens,” it’s a place where every season paints a new picture. The sight of cherry blossoms in spring or the fiery hues of autumn leaves can leave you breathless. The garden’s name, Kenrokuen, means “Garden of the Six Sublimities,” reflecting the six essential attributes for the perfect garden. Trust me, it lives up to its name.

Kanazawa Castle: A Fortress of Cultural Wealth

The imposing Kanazawa Castle, with its white walls and distinctive, lead-tiled roofs, stands as a testament to the city’s feudal history. While fires and time have taken their toll, the castle has been meticulously restored. Walking through the Ishikawa-mon Gate, I felt a sense of awe at the craftsmanship. The castle’s Gojikken Nagaya Storehouse and the Hishi Yagura turret are particularly impressive, showcasing traditional Japanese architecture at its finest.

Higashi Chaya District: Where Geisha Culture Flourishes

The Higashi Chaya District is like stepping into a living museum. The well-preserved chaya houses, where geisha once entertained guests with music and dance, are now charming teahouses and shops. I found myself sipping matcha and nibbling on gold leaf-covered sweets, completely enchanted by the district’s timeless allure. It’s a place where the clinking of teacups and the soft shuffle of geisha footsteps still echo through the narrow lanes.

Omicho Market: The Kitchen of Kanazawa

No visit to Kanazawa is complete without a foray into Omicho Market. Known as the city’s kitchen, this bustling market has been serving locals since the Edo period. With over 200 stalls, you’ll find everything from fresh seafood to artisanal crafts. I reveled in the vibrant atmosphere, sampling local specialties like Kaisendon—a bowl of rice topped with a generous helping of fresh sashimi.

Nagamachi Samurai District: Echoes of Warrior Nobility

The Nagamachi Samurai District, with its earthen walls and narrow lanes, offers a glimpse into the lives of samurai families. The Nomura-ke, a restored samurai residence, is particularly striking with its beautiful garden and art displays. As I wandered through the district, the sense of discipline and honor that once governed the lives of its inhabitants was palpable.

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art: A Modern Cultural Beacon

Kanazawa might be steeped in history, but it’s also a hub for modern art. The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is a testament to this, with its innovative circular design and transparent walls. Exhibits here are thought-provoking and interactive, often blurring the lines between art and spectator. It’s a place that invites you to see the world from new perspectives.

Myoryuji – Ninja Temple: A Labyrinth of Deception

Don’t let the name fool you; Myoryuji, commonly known as the Ninja Temple, was never home to ninjas. However, it’s a fascinating structure with secret rooms, hidden tunnels, and traps. Originally built as a place of worship, its deceptive defenses were meant to protect its inhabitants from shogunate forces. The temple is a marvel of Edo-period ingenuity and definitely worth a guided tour.

Kanazawa Phonograph Museum: A Melody of Nostalgia

For music lovers and history buffs alike, the Kanazawa Phonograph Museum is a charming detour. Housing a collection of vintage phonographs and records, the museum offers a sonic journey through time. I found myself lost in the crackling melodies of yesteryears, a soothing respite from the bustle of the city.

Kutani Kosen Pottery Studio: The Art of Kaga Ceramics

Kanazawa is renowned for its Kutani Ware—ceramics with vivid colors and intricate designs. At Kutani Kosen Pottery Studio, not only can you admire these beautiful pieces, but you can also try your hand at painting your own. It’s a unique opportunity to engage with Kanazawa’s rich artistic heritage.

Seisonkaku Villa: A Noblewoman’s Refined Retreat

Lastly, Seisonkaku Villa, one of the most elegant samurai villas in Kanazawa, was built by a Maeda lord for his mother. The villa’s exquisite design and the garden’s tranquil beauty are reflective of the refined tastes of the Maeda clan. It’s a serene spot to contemplate the city’s cultural legacy.


  • What is the best time to visit Kenrokuen Garden?
    Spring and autumn are spectacular in Kenrokuen Garden. Cherry blossoms bloom in late April, while fall colors peak in November. However, the garden’s beauty is year-round, with each season offering a unique experience.
  • Can I experience geisha entertainment in Higashi Chaya District?
    Yes, some teahouses offer geisha performances. It’s best to book in advance as these experiences are highly sought after and can provide a memorable glimpse into traditional Japanese culture.
  • Is the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art suitable for children?
    Absolutely! The museum is family-friendly and features exhibits that engage visitors of all ages. Its interactive nature makes it a hit with kids.


Kanazawa is a city where every corner tells a story, and its blend of historical charm and contemporary flair is irresistible. From the serene beauty of Kenrokuen Garden to the avant-garde 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, there’s a slice of Kanazawa to captivate every traveler. Whether you’re savoring the local cuisine at Omicho Market or exploring the enigmatic Ninja Temple, you’re sure to leave with a heart full of memories. So pack your bags and set your sights on Kanazawa – a treasure trove of cultural wonders awaits.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.