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21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

One of the most visited museums in the world

Ranked 10th in the list of the most visited museums in the world, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is located in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture. The exhibitions at the museum are made by Japanese artists as well as other famous artists from all over the world. This pop-art museum also hosts many public spaces like a library, lecture hall, restaurant, and children’s workshop around its periphery.

The museum was opened in 2004 and is within walking distance away from Kenrokuen, another must-visit site in Kanazawa. The museum has both free access areas and paid areas depending on whether the space is in located in a public area or private area around the courtyard. Designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, the museum is famous for its unique circular building design providing a different level of transparency with its glass façade. This was designed to provide multiple entry points for visitors to avoid the concept of the back and front parts of the building, and encourage visitors to have a multi-directional approach to the exhibitions there instead of only a single viewpoint.

This museum hosts both temporary and permanent exhibits inside and out of the park surrounding the museum showing international styles and genres. One of the popular exhibitions of this museum is the large-scale display 'Swimming Pool' which was created by Leandro Erlich. This exhibition provides a unique visual experience to its visitors where they can immerse themselves underwater. Another famous exhibit is James Turrell's "Blue Planet", which frames the sky above it. Audiences are encouraged to witness the ever-changing nature of the sky throughout the day and during different seasons, which change the appearance of the artwork.

Although the public spaces are open from 9 am, the exhibition is accessible to the patrons only from 10 am till 6 pm except on Mondays and Japanese national holidays.

Getting there

The museum is 10 minutes walking distance away from Kenrokuen and 10 minutes driving distance away from Kanazawa Station's East Exit.

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