With the rainy season well under way, KWT visits some great local museums to explore and keep you dry!
Rainy season, or “Tsuyu” in Japan lasts from the beginning of June to around mid or late July and brings with it frequent torrential showers and punishing humidity.
The unpleasant weather need not spoil your day however. Kanazawa boasts some fantastic museums covering everything from ninja and samurai to modern art that gives a great insight into the city and surrounding area.
That being said, Kenrokuen is still worth visiting as it feels even more vibrant and romantic in the rain.
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
This unusual museum, near to Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen, houses an eclectic mix of modern art. Many of the installations, both inside and outside, are fully interactive allowing you to play in a pool without getting wet or speak to each other through large funnels in the ground.
With free entry for everything but the special exhibitions, it is a popular meeting place that boasts a nice stationary shop and cafe as well as an extensive library.
Kanazawa Noh Museum
This is a museum dedicated to the fascinating and beautiful style of Japanese theatre called Noh and is just a short walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art. The plot of Noh plays tend to be drawn from folklore. While there is a narrator and a few musicians, the majority of the story is told through an elegant and mesmerising dance.
The Kanazawa Noh Museum gives some great background to the style, especially the Kaga Honsho school which originated in Kanazawa during the Edo Period.
Alongside a wealth of information, it has displays of priceless costumes and the stunning Noh masks that can show a different emotion with just a tilt of the head. It also has a small stage on which samples of Noh plays are performed.
Myoryuji Temple (Ninja Temple)
Myoryuji is probably more widely known as Ninja-dera or Ninja Temple and is a popular attraction in the Teramachi temple district in the southern part of Kanazawa.
This fully functioning temple actually has very little to do with those most stealthy agents that give it its nickname. It actually takes its name from its clever construction and its secret alternative use as a military outpost. The inside of the temple is a maze of corridors, secret rooms, escape tunnels and traps.
Its construction was ordered by famous samurai and Lord of Kanazawa, Maeda Toshiie, to act as an early warning system and the first line of defence in case of invasion and had to be disguised as temple due to military restrictions put on regional lords by the shogun.
It is possible to reserve a guided tour with the temple but these are Japanese language only. However, English guidebooks are also available.
Ishikawa Prefectural Museum
This museum occupies three large red brick buildings in Honda-no-Mori Park, not far from Kenrokuen Garden. The buildings themselves are former armories dating back to the Meiji and Taisho Period from the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The central building holds the ticket office and shop as well as areas where you can try on various historical costumes or get a traditional classroom experience. The left building has several large exhibition rooms covering the history of the city of Kanazawa and Ishikawa Prefecture in great detail.
The right-hand building contains the Kaga-Honda Museum which focuses on the Honda Family, important retainers of the Maeda Clan. This part of the museum has many artefacts belonging to the Honda, including katana and armour. This museum as a whole offers a fascinating glimpse into almost 10,000 years of history in the region.
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