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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Art & Design

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art 金沢21世紀美術館

A contemporary art museum designed by renowned Japanese architects, with a mission to engage the local community in all forms of art

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa was designed with the concept of a "town square" in mind. Located in the center of the city surrounded by a park with open-air installations and greenery, the museum attracts over one million visitors per year, eager to explore the interactive installations, permanent collections, and temporary exhibitions.

Don't Miss

  • Immersing yourself in Leandro Erlich's The Swimming Pool
  • Open Space events held in spring and autumn
  • A chance to see artworks created by preeminent local and overseas artists, all under one roof

How to Get There

Located in the center of Kanazawa and in the vicinity of Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen garden, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, can be combined with a visit to both of these sights.

From Kanazawa Station, take the Kanazawa Loop Bus or the Kenrokuen Shuttle departing from the east exit and get off at Hirosaka bus stop. The ride takes about 20 minutes. You can also take JR buses from the station's east exit, which are covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

Quick Facts

Circular in design, the museum lacks a “proper” front or back entrance

Winner of the 2004 9th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition, and Golden Lion award

Architects SAANA won the 2010 Pritzker Prize for the museum's design

The museum received over 1.5 million visitors within 18 months of opening

This groundbreaking museum and nearby Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen Garden

Making art a part of the community

With a mission as a community space to showcase the best in world-breaking art, the building contains gathering spaces, a library, lecture hall, children's workshop, restaurant, museum shop and tea room. Many of the exhibitions feature an international mix of styles and genres, while at the same time much of the artwork also represents aspects of Kanazawa and its environs. The museum puts much emphasis on educational programs and hosts talks and lectures.

Architect smart

The museum building itself is remarkable; the glass facade is entirely circular and has no common entrance, encouraging patrons to approach the art from all directions. The internationally acclaimed architects Sejima Kazuyo and Nishizawa Ryue, founders of the architecture firm SANAA, won the Pritzker Prize for the building design in 2010.

Permanent Collections

Not to be missed are the permanent collections of the museum, which are free to the public. Famous for his exploration of light and perception, James Turrell's "Blue Planet Sky" is a powerful example of his work. Leandro Erlich's "Swimming Pool" is a playful exhibition where people appear to be standing underwater when viewed from above. Several other permanent works grace the museum grounds.

Each exhibit has English descriptions along with Japanese. Set aside at least an hour or two to explore and interact with the space and people. The museum is closed on Mondays.

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