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The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (21Ip, Kanazawa Nijūichiseiki Bijutsukan) opened in 2004 in downtown Kanazawa, just a few steps from Kenrokuen. It exhibits works of acclaimed contemporary artists from Japan and all over the world, and is among Japan's most popular art museums.

The architecture of the 21st Century Museum is unique and distinguishes it from other museums and buildings around Kanazawa. The museum is comprised of a circular building, 112.5 meters in diameter, with no facade or main entrance. It was designed without a front or back to discourage its patrons from approaching the museum, and consequently its art, from only one direction.

Leandro Erlich's Swimming Pool

The central paid area of the museum hosts temporary exhibits, and usually has one or two concurrently on display. As it is designed to incorporate into the surrounding community, the museum also has a number of public spaces which include a library, lecture halls and children's workshops.

Interspersed among the public spaces of the museum are some permanent installations open free to the public. These include works such as Leandro Erlich's "Swimming Pool", a pool where people appear to be underwater (entry inside the pool requires paid admission); and James Turrell's "Blue Planet Sky", an exhibit exploring light as a medium which has counterpart exhibits around the world.

James Turrell's Blue Planet Sky


Take a bus from Kanazawa Station (East Exit) to Hirosaka bus stop (10 minutes, 200 yen), from where it is a few steps to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. Among the buses are also 1-3 JR buses per hour which are covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

Alternatively, Hirosaka bus stop is also served by the Kenrokuen Shuttle Bus (stop number S5 and S9), the Kanazawa Loop Bus (stop numbers RL9 and LL8) and the Machi Bus in about 20 minutes from Kanazawa Station.

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is also within walking distance from Kenrokuen and Kanazawa Castle Park.

How to get to and around Kanazawa

Hours & Fees


Exhibitions open 10:00 to 18:00 (Friday and Saturday until 20:00)
Public spaces open 9:00 to 22:00


Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday)
December 27 to January 1


Varies by exhibition, typically 1000 yen

Hotels around Kanazawa

Recommended Hotels
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Convenient hotel just in front of Kanazawa Station.
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Dormy Inn Kanazawa
Good value business hotel with onsen next to Kanazawa Station.
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Kanazawa Excel Hotel Tokyu
Convenient hotel located in the center of Kanazawa.
Nikko Kanazawa Hotel
One of the best hotels in town, located just in front of Kanazawa Station.
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Page last updated: May 3, 2016