Kanazawa isn’t on the beaten path for most travelers to Japan, but perhaps it should be. It offers most of what makes visiting the country so interesting (food, culture, attractions), but without the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. This is particularly attractive for those who have children in tow.
Visiting a museum may also not be high on the list for most parents, but the Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art should be. My boys loved it. Why? Maybe because contemporary art can be pretty cool to 8 & 11 year-olds.
Before you even enter this ultra-modern glass walled circular building, the designated park that surrounds it is a great place for the kids to run around, and stick their heads in one of 12 curved pipes that sprout out of the ground. These tuba-shaped objects are paired at random and act like giant telephones. They’re quite amusing and could make it a challenge to get the kids to go inside.
Once you do make it through the doors, you can’t miss the Swimming Pool. The boys were transfixed as they peered through the water to see what appeared to be mom and dad walking around the bottom of the pool. During our visit, they also had an over-sized foosball table and room where we could just sit and watch the infinite variations of the sky through an opening in the ceiling.
The museum is centrally located in the middle of the city, so it’s easy to get to. When you’re done, reward the kids with sushi at the nearby Higashi Chaya Teahouse district.