Japan Trip: Kanazawa Tour – 3 – Kenroku-en Garden

Last night, we stayed at a hotel in Kanazawa. The room is not large but clean. We had a seafood dinner with sushi and all you can eat king crab. The breakfast is refreshing with typical Japanese vegetables and soup.

The morning of November 19 was cloudy and light rain. We toured the Kenroku-en Garden while did not schedule to visit the castle. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the castle and maybe next trip will have the opportunity to visit the castle.

Kenrokuen is justifiably classified as one of Japan’s “three most beautiful landscape gardens alongside Mito’s Kairakuen, and Okayama’s Korakuen. In fact, many people consider it the best of them all.

The spacious garden used to be the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle. Constructed by the ruling Maeda family over a period of nearly two centuries, it was not opened to the public until 1871. Kenrokuen features various ponds, streams, waterfalls, bridges, teahouses, trees, stones and flowers. The water for the many streams and rivers of the park is diverted from a distant river by a sophisticated water system constructed in 1632.

The name Kenrokuen literally means “Garden of the Six Sublimities”, referring to spaciousness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water and broad views, which according to Chinese landscape theory are the six essential attributes that make up a perfect garden.

Kenroku-en contains roughly 8,750 trees, and 183 species of plants in total. Among the garden’s points of special interest are:

  • the oldest fountain in Japan, operating by natural water pressure.

  • Yugao-tei, a teahouse, the oldest building in the garden, built 1774

  • Uchihashi-tei Tea House

  • Shigure-tei, a rest House that was originally built by the 5th lord Tsunanori, reconstructed at its present location in 2000

  • Karasaki Pine, planted from seed by the 13th lord Nariyasu from Karasaki, near Lake Biwa.

Kotoji-tōrō, a stone lantern with two legs, said to resemble the bridge on a koto.

  • This lantern is emblematic of Kenroku-en and Kanazawa.

  • Flying Geese Bridge (Gankō-bashi), made of eleven red stones, laid out to resemble geese in a flying formation

In winter, the park is notable for its yukitsuri — ropes attached in a conical array to carefully support tree branches in the desired arrangements, thereby protecting the trees from damage caused by heavy snows.


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