Art & Design
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.