2018 Visit Japan: Enjoy a Swimming Pool in the Art Gallery

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (金沢21世紀美術館, Kanazawa Nijūichiseiki Bijutsukan) opened in 2004 in downtown Kanazawa, for the purposes of “creating new culture” and “bringing new prosperity to the town”. It exhibits works of acclaimed contemporary artists from Japan and all over the world, and is among Japan’s most popular art museums.

The collection at the museum is centered on contemporary artwork and allows you to experience to work of a wide variety of contemporary artists. A particularly popular piece in the collection is Leandro Erlich’s “Swimming Pool”.

 From far away it seems to be a normal pool, but when you look into the water there seem to be people inside of it walking around. 

This is achieved with 10cm of water on top of transparent glass, and underneath the glass is a large space. You can look down into the glass for free as part of the culture zone, but in order to go into the space you need to pay for the exhibition zone.

The building itself is a sight to behold, themed after a concept of “a park-like museum inside the town”. The circular building has 4 entrances allowing you to easily enter and exit, and there is transparent glass utilized both inside and outside the walls, so no matter where you look from it appears to have an open, spacious design.

 It’s nicknamed the “round museum” by Kanazawa citizens, and has become a common spot for people to just drop by and relax for a bit. In the 9th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition in 2004, the museum won the Golden Lion award, the highest award possible. 

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Hours & Fees:

Exhibitions open 10:00 to 18:00 (Friday and Saturday until 20:00)

Public spaces open 9:00 to 22:00

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

Admission: Varies by exhibition, typically 1000 yen

Article sources: japanhoppers.com

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