Kanazawa is home to plenty of well-known, visit-worthy landmark sights; beautiful Kenroku-En garden, the badly-nicknamed 'Ninja Temple' Myoryu-ji, the castle park, the striking 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. But as well as these there are a whole host of smaller cultural and historical sights. Many of these are run by Kanazawa City, which offers one-day or three-day passes to see them.
At JPY520 for the one-day pass, or JPY830 for three days, it's an absolute bargain. Armed with the pass, you get free admission to fully seventeen places, and small discounts on admission to five more. For many of the sights on the list, the admission fee is JPY310, so even seeing just two things in one day will save you a little money. Or you can be like me and do seven.
So what's included? By way of traditional culture, you can see the Gold Leaf Museum, where you can experience gold leaf application; the Noh Museum, with displays of masks and costumes used in Noh theatre; and the Nakamura Memorial Museum, home to an impressive collection of beautiful tea ceremony items.
You can also see some less rarefied historical sights: there's Shinise Memorial Hall, a restored feudal-era pharmacy reopened as a museum of merchant culture; the Kurando Terashima House, the Edo-era residence of a middle-class painter; and Yuwaku Edomura, an open-air museum of feudal-era buildings, though this one is quite a way from the city centre.
There are also several museums dedicated to literary figures from the city, and a couple of pretty esoteric but very interesting places. At the Phonograph Museum you can see demonstrations of vintage gramophones, in Japanese but with a printed English guide; and the D T Suzuki Museum is a unique place, its symmetrical architecture inviting contemplation, in line with the thoughts of the Buddhist philosopher for whom it's named.
The passes are for sale at any of the places where it applies. The city's tourist information office has an English pamphlet giving details of the sights and what's covered by the passes.
I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.