So you got to Kanazawa and it’s raining? You should have seen that one coming—this is one of the wettest spots in Japan, with an average 193 days of rain each year. While Kenrokuen and Kanazawa Castle Park can be a little desolate when it’s raining, there are a huge number of museums and other spots for some indoor fun. The city is compact too, so if you feel really miserable trudging around in wet socks or if you’re in a group, you can always jump in a taxi and get almost anywhere for ¥1,000 or less. Here are some ideas for what to do on a rainy day in Kanazawa.
1. D.T. Suzuki Museum
A monument to Daisetsu Suzuki—the man credited with popularizing Zen meditation in the west—the museum is a beautifully contemplative space. The iconic centerpiece room surrounded by a still pond is a great place to relax, clear your mind, and listen to the pitter-patter of the rain.
2. The Ninja Temple (Ninjadera)
This temple has some simple gardens surrounding the main building, but all the interesting bits are on the inside. To visit, you need to book a tour in advance—tours run every hour on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends and holidays, and each tour takes about 40 minutes.
3. 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Designed by the celebrated architectural firm of SANAA, the circular 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is regarded as one of the top museums in Japan.
The museum has extensive permanent and temporary exhibitions, so you could easily while away a few rainy hours here.
4. Omicho Market
Omicho Market is a sprawling affair covering a whole city block—and it’s all under cover. It’s a working market, but the stall holders will sell to tourists, and you can have one of those colorful language-barrier type conversations in which you both use gestures and body language that the other side doesn’t have a clue about. A trip to Omicho Market is best combined with a meal at one of the many sushi restaurants within the market.
5. Drink green tea at the Nakamura Memorial Museum
Located not far from the D.T. Suzuki Museum and in the Hondamachi neighborhood of Kanazawa, the Nakamura Memorial Museum has an interesting collection of tea-ceremony-related items mixed with modern art.
The rainy day bonus is cradling a beautiful vessel filled with steaming matcha while looking out over the rain-soaked garden.