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

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

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 and 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

The museum's design won a Golden Lion award at the 2004 9th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition, and architects SANAA won the 2010 Pritzker Prize

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

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 Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, 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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