Visiting the temples and shrines of Kanazawa is the perfect way to soak yourself in the local history. Even those who aren't history buffs can't fail to be impressed by the atmosphere of sites connected to the Kaga and Maeda clans. Impressive buildings and cultural assets give a glimpse of the pride of the Kaga clan.

    Known for its role in the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist uprising, the culture of the Shinshu sect is deeply rooted in Kanazawa. Visit during the springtime cherry blossom season or later in the year for the autumn colours and you'll experience Kanazawa's atmospheric scenery at its most mesmerising.

    1

    Myoryuji Temple

    Sneak your way around this tricky Ninja Temple

    • Families
    • Couples
    • History
    • Budget

    Myoryuji Temple, also known as the "Ninja Temple", is a famous temple that was originally a prayer centre for the Kaga clan. This temple's main attraction is its ninja house-style architecture, featuring a number of mysterious traps.

    It's said that this unique architectural style was adopted because the temple also served as the branch castle of the Kaga domain and their non-Tokugawa daimyo (feudal lord), who was likely to be spied on by the Tokugawa Shogunate. If you make an appointment by phone, visitors from primary school age upwards are welcome to tour the inside of the building. A guide will give you a 40-minute tour of maze-like main hall.

    Location: 1-2-12 Nomachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture 921-8031, Japan

    Open: Weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm, weekends and public holidays (except for winter) from 9 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)76-241-0888

    Map
    2

    Oyama Shrine

    A symbol of Kanazawa that will delight all history buffs

    • Families
    • Couples
    • History
    • Budget

    Oyama Shrine is dedicated to Maeda Toshiie, the popular warrior of the Warring States period, and his wife, Omatsu no Kata. It was built by former Kaga retainers after the abolition of domains and establishment of prefectures, and has a unique structure combining traditional style with a touch of exotic culture.

    Its most famous feature is its photogenic shrine gate with stained glass that uses a combination of Japanese, Chinese and Western styles. Items associated with Maeda Toshiie also attract history buffs. In June, you can enjoy a spectacular samurai procession in the Hyakumangoku Parade.

    Location: 11-1 Oyamamachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0918, Japan

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)76-231-7210

    Map
    3

    Ozaki Shrine

    Be captivated by the majestic architecture of this shrine to Tokugawa Ieyasu

    • History
    • Budget

    Ozaki Shrine is the oldest building associated with Kanazawa Castle and a valuable cultural asset that shows off the architecture of shrines from the early Edo era. The building was built by Maeda Mitsutaka, the 4th feudal lord of the Kaga domain, in the kitano-maru (north court) of Kanazawa Castle as a shrine to his great-grandfather Tokugawa Ieyasu, and was later moved to its present location.

    The decoration in the style of Nikko Toshogu Shrine is a sight to behold. The design of the decorative metal ornaments reflects the prosperity of the Kaga domain at that time. Like Nikko, this is a famous sacred site that many people visit for the power it's thought to offer.

    Location: 5-5 Marunouchi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0937, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)76-231-0127

    Map
    4

    Daijoji Temple

    A famous Zen temple where you can experience Zen meditation

    • History
    • Budget

    Daijoji Temple is a Soto Zen monastery founded by Tettsu Gikai, a disciple of Dogen, and is still home to many ascetic monks. It's open to the public and brings in the crowds for being a place where you can sense peace of mind by experiencing the spirit of wabi-sabi (the beauty of simplicity and refinement).

    In addition to zazen (sitting meditation) sessions held every morning, beginner-friendly zazen meetings and tea ceremonies are also held on Sunday afternoons. There’s even an overnight zazen workshop where you can share the experience of living with ascetic monks.

    Location: Ru-10 Nagasakamachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture 921-8114, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)76-241-2680

    Map
    5

    Toyokuni Shrine

    A quaint shrine worth visiting on your way up Mt. Utatsu

    • History
    • Budget

    Located on Mount Utatsu, Toyokuni Shrine is dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was secretly built in keeping with the wishes of Maeda Toshiie, so as not to be discovered by the Edo Shogunate. It's commonly called ''Utatsu Kannon'' and has a long history of being worshipped by feudal lords as a local deity.

    In the Meiji era, the shrine was relocated and rebuilt, and these days it’s known locally as Utatsuyama Sansha (sansha means “3 shrines”) along with Utatsu Shrine and Atago Shrine, which are also located on Mount Utatsu.

    Location: 93-5 Higashimikagemachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0835, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)76-221-4957

    Map
    6

    Higashibetsuin

    A temple where you can experience Kanwazawa's Shin Buddhist culture

    • History
    • Budget

    Higashibetsuin is a branch of Higashi Honganji Temple. Its official name is a bit of a mouthful: Shinshu Otani-ha Kanazawa Betsuin. This temple was originally founded in 1546 as Oyama Gobo, a base for the Kaga rebellion, but was invaded by the forces of Oda Nobunaga, and Kanazawa Castle was built on the site. It was moved to its present location in 1640.

    The area is famous for its large ginkgo trees, and especially the vivid gold colours of their leaves reflected in the blue sky in autumn. The former temple town is still lively today as the Kanazawa Omotesando shopping district. The shops selling Buddhist altar goods keep alive the spirit of centuries gone by.

    Location: 15-52 Yasuecho, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0854, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)76-261-6432

    Map
    7

    Korinji Temple

    Make a wish in a garden where cluster amaryllis blooms

    • History
    • Budget

    Korinji Temple is known as a temple for making wishes, and tourists are welcome provided that they pay a small entry fee. You can take a stroll along the "Path of Happiness" lined with jizo (guardian statues) and visit in turn the White Fudo deity and the wide-mouthed Shusse Daruma good-luck doll.

    Shikishi (coloured paper) and tanzaku (short strips of paper) by Kaga yuzen dyeing artist Uzan Kimura are on display, as well as masks of noh and kyogen (classic Japanese dance-drama) performances created by Mokkan Hirai. Make sure you check out the cluster amaryllis in full bloom throughout the precincts during autumn, whether glowing in the daytime sun or spectacularly lit up at night.

    Location: 1-3-15 Nomachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture 921-8031, Japan

    Open: March—October: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm, November—February: Daily from 9 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)76-241-3905

    Map
    8

    Hoenji Temple

    Admire the statues of Deva kings at this historic temple of the Maeda clan

    • History
    • Budget

    Hoenji Temple was founded by Maeda Toshiie and moved to its present location during the reign of Maeda Toshitsune, becoming the family temple of the Maeda clan. What makes this historic temple even more famous is the dominant, tall statue of Kongo-rikishi that almost reaches the ceiling.

    It's also a well-known for having strong connections with the local community, offering a variety of workshops, events, and culture schools. You’ll also find here the tomb of Tawaraya Sotatsu, a noted painter from the early Edo era.

    Location: 6-14 Takaramachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0934, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)76-231-6050

    Map

    photo by Oren Rozen (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    9

    Shogetsuji Temple

    A must-visit during the cherry blossom season

    • History
    • Budget

    Shogetsuji Temple is a Zen temple known for its magnificent cherry blossoms and is closely associated with the Maeda clan, who were the feudal lords of the former Kaga Province. The old cherry trees, locally known as ozakura ("big cherry trees"), are said to have been moved from Komatsu Castle when Maeda Toshitsune, the 3rd lord of Kaga Province, entered Kanazawa Castle.

    This huge cherry tree, which breaks through the earthen walls and spread its blossoms out into the street, is designated as a National Natural Monument and has the scientific name shogetsu-zakura. The trees here are thought to be around 400 years old, and in April their blossoms turn the precincts a beautiful springtime shade of pink.

    Location: 5-5-22 Teramachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture 921-8033, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)76-241-0874

    Map
    10

    Hoshoji Temple

    Relax at an extraordinary temple café

    • Food
    • Families
    • Couples
    • History
    • Budget

    Hoshoji Temple is a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect and was founded in 1631 on land given by Maeda Toshitsune, the 3rd feudal lord of Kaga. There's a café in the main hall, which is especially popular with tourists visiting Kanazawa.

    As is typical of Kanazawa, they serve delicious matcha green tea decorated with gold dust, zenzai (sweet red bean soup) and parfaits. Other options include kaga-bocha (roasted green tea) with a choice of sweets, or even light meals like curry. This unique temple also offers a variety of fun events, such as lectures by famous Buddhist monks and tea ceremonies.

    Location: 5-5-76 Teramachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture 921-8033, Japan

    Open: Wednesday–Monday from 10 am to 4 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +81 (0)76-287-3870

    Map

    Start planning your trip

    Back to top

    Maps