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Arts & Museums
»Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts (Ishikawa-kenritsu Dento Sangyo Kogeikan)
Housing a massive collection of traditional art, handicrafts and other such local products Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts (Ishikawa-kenritsu Dento Sangyo Kogeikan) is the perfect place to understand the culture and art work of the city. The two storey museum can also be rented for events and activities.
Formerly an army depot and then the Kanazawa College of Art, the prefecture has named the red brick building a cultural asset. The attractive displays include historical videos, customs of the Japan Sea Coast region, historical material and documents, as well as excavated haniwa clay figures. Note that there are some interesting hands-on interactive exhibits. There is a replica to scale of a daimyo procession to Edo, a nostalgic reminder of feudal days.
Featured at this museum housed in a Japanese-style building is the Kutani ceramic section. One room is reserved for the museum's national treasure, an incense burner in the shape of a pheasant by Nonomura Ninsei, given by the Yamakawa Fine Arts Foundation. Another room holds treasures from the Maeda clan. The permanent collection of more than 1,000 pieces also includes paintings, lacquer, textiles, armor and screens. The museum is a venue for periodic visiting shows of both Western and Japanese artists.
The museum is just south of the Kenrokuen Garden, next door to the Noh Theater. The Honda Clan were prominent Maeda minister' advisors and this museum has a collection of more than 1,000 items related to them. Highly acclaimed is the Murasame Tea Jar, commonly called The Tea Jar of 50,000 Goku. Masahige Honda received it from Toshiie Maeda. Other items on view include calligraphy, art works, armor, paintings and ceramics.
Dedicated to furthering and encouraging 21st Century artwork, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the most important focal points of visit for all art lovers. The museum is spread over a vast expanse and has several unique exhibits to check out. Check out the wonderful interactive display called the "swimming pool" which epitomizes the kind of art presented here. The timings of the museum and the cafe in it vary according to different displays, so check the website before you plan a tour.
The artisan of gold leaf, Koumei Yasu established this tiny museum. Note that during the Edo period gold leaf was a major Kanazawa export and in fact today still 90% of the domestic product comes from here. The special process to beat gold leaf is shown with various displays. The museum's collection includes Buddhist altars, ceramics, lacquer and screens, all either embellished with the gold leaf or gold dust (maki-e, the sprinkling on lacquer ware from Kaga.
The collection is housed in a dignified red brick Western-style building that dates back to 1891. It was formerly the Fourth National High School's library. Documents, works and other material relating to Kanazawa's favorite son's, Shusei Tokuda, Kyoka Izumi and Susei Tokuda are preserved and displayed here. Note the replica of Saisei's study on the second floor. There is also material on view concerning Yasushi Inoue, Shigeharu Nakano and Tatsuji Miyoshi, who had strong Ishikawa connections.
The 300-year old Wada Ke House is famous for giving shelter to one of the most successful families of Shirakawa, the Wadas. Leaders of the Shirakawa-gō village, the family still lives here but the house is preserved as a museum and is open to the public. Theirs is the largest gasshō-zukuri farmhouse, which is a particular type of building structure that used to be built in this village, in the area and most of the artifacts that have been handed down through generations are still preserved here. Most of the original construction is still intact with the original wood, rope and nails. For more details, do contact the venue.
Gassho-Zukuri Minkaen is an open-air museum in the comprising cluster of farm-houses that were relocated at its current location from its original location at the center of Shirakawa-go. These houses are heritage of the village and some of these have been in existence since more than 250 years. The house is known as gassho-zukuri and are built with wood and are characterized by thick walls and sloping roofs which are designed to withstand extreme snowfall. The museum also has a varied collection of daily tools and artifacts that depict the life of the locals.
The focus of this specialty museum is the regional lacquer ware of Takayama. The characteristic of shunkei is that the wood grain can be seen as the lacquer is almost transparent. Several of the 1,000-plus pieces date to the Edo Period and include trays, tea caddies, rice bowls, bento bako (stacked food boxes), and small furniture. Lacquer is also used to furnish the interior of a portion of a tea ceremony hut. Craftsmen's utensils for this unique handicraft are also on display.
The Kusakabe House advertises itself as a typical example of a successful merchant's home during the reign of the Tokugawa clan. The present house was built in 1879 after the original house burned down. The main part of the building has two stories and is made of Japanese Cyprus wood. The living rooms have a central fireplace and the floors are covered with tatami mats, giving visitors a good idea of how the family lived. At the rear, behind a courtyard and the garden, are two warehouses that display some small items of furniture and other craftwork. There is a brochure in English and visitors are offered a cup of tea and rice cracker as part of the tour. It is closed on Tuesdays from December to February.
The Hachiga clan's eclectic folk art collection is housed in a kura (storehouse) located behind the traditional merchant house. Some of the items relate to Christianity in Japan. The Christian Hachiga family settled here to avoid Tokugawa harassment. The antiques include ceramics and lacquer ware plus some carvings by Mokujii and Enku, the Buddhist priest. A few Kano school paintings and ukiyo-e (wood block prints) complement the permanent exhibition.