Kenrokuen Garden

Kasumiga-ike PondKenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa is considered to be one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. The other two are Korakuen Garden in Okayama and Kairakuen Garden in Mito. The garden is conveniently located outside the gates of Kanazawa Castle. In its original form Kenrokuen Garden formed the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle. During the 17th century the garden was expanded and it reached its completion in the early 19th century. The garden was opened to the public in 1871, and covers over 25 acres of beautiful flowers, trees, ponds and waterfalls.

Design Principles of Kenrokuen Garden

The name kenrokuen translates as combined six, and refers to a renowned Chinese garden that required six attributes for perfection. These include seclusion, spaciousness, artificiality, antiquity, waterways and panoramas. You can find all these elements within Kenrokuen Garden, which make it the perfect garden.

Features of Kenrokuen Garden

Kasumigaike Pond

Located around the center of Kenrokuen Garden, it is the biggest pond in the garden and contains many of the must see features of the garden.

Kasumiga-ike Pond

Kotoji toro Lantern

A stone lantern with two legs. It was designed in the image of a Japanese Koto (harp), and is a symbol of both Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa.

Kotoji Toro Lantern

Uchihashi Teahouse

The teahouse as seen above is one of four in the garden. It is supported by stone legs and looks like its floating on Kasumigaike Pond.

Ganko Bashi (Flying Geese Bridge)

Made of eleven red stones that are laid out to resemble geese in a flying formation.

Gankou-bashi Flying Geese Bridge

Sekirei-jima (Wagtail Island)

The name comes from Japanese myth. The island has a tori gate and three stones, which represent the three major ceremonies of life, birth, marriage and death.

Sekirei Jima Wagtail Island

Hanami Bashi (Flower Viewing Bridge)

The perfect place to view the seasonal flowers and hence the name. You can see plum and cherry blossoms in spring, azaleas and irises in early summer, green leaves in summer, beautiful autumn leaves in autumn, and white snow and yukitsuri (tree supports) in winter.

Hanami-bashi Flower Viewing Bridge

Kaiseki Pagoda and Midori-taki (Emerald Waterfall)

The Kaiseki Pagoda is a 4.1 meter high stone pagoda on a small island. In the background you can see the Midori-taki Waterfall; it is 6.6 meters high and 1.6 meters wide. It is visually as well as acoustically stunning.

Kaiseki Pagoda and Midori-take (Emerald Waterfall)

Plum Grove Garden

The Plum Grove Garden contains around 200 plum trees of 20 varieties and is best in March, when the dark pink and white blossoms are at the peak.

Plum Grove Garden

History of Kenrokuen Garden

Kenrokuen Garden was developed from the 1620s to the 1840s by the Maeda clan, the ruling daimyo of the area (present day Ishikawa and Toyama Prefectures). The 5th lord Maeda Tsunanori moved his administration to Kanazawa Castle in 1676 and began to landscape a garden in the vicinity of the castle. The garden was destroyed by fire in 1759.

The restoration of the garden begun in 1774 by the 11th lord Harunaga, who created the Midori-taki (Emerald Waterfall) and Yugaotei Teahouse. Further improvements were made by subsequent lords, including the 12th lord Narinaga in 1822 and the 13th lord Nariysau. The garden’s current form was complete and it was opened to the public on May 7, 1871.

Opening Hours

Kenrokuen Garden is open from
7:00 am to 6:00 pm – 1 March to 15 October
8:00 am to 5:00 pm – 16 October to 28 February

Entry Fee

Adults: 300 yen

How to Get There

Take one of the Hokutetsu buses from Kanazawa Station (East Exit bus stop 3) to Kenrokuen and get off at Kenrokuen-shita bus stop. It takes around 15 minutes and costs 200 yen. Alternatively, take a JR bus from Kanazawa Station (East Exit bus stop 4) there are 2-3 buses per hour and they are covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

Address: Kenroku Machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken 920-0936


View Larger Map

Best Time to Go

Kenrokuen Garden is beautiful in all seasons. Spring is best for the plum and cherry blossoms, early summer for the azaleas and irises, summer for the green leaves, autumn for the beautiful red and yellow leaves, and winter for the snow covered landscape.

Tip: Visit the garden at 7 am and you should pretty much have the garden to yourself.

Photo Gallery

John Asano (44 Posts)

John is a web developer and freelance writer living in Gifu, Japan. Originally from Melbourne Australia, he writes for Japan Travel Advice as well as Japan Australia, a blog dedicated to Japan travel and culture. You can read more of his work at http://japan-australia.blogspot.com/


  • Amanda Ryall

    John, I passed on your JTA link to my sister in Australia. Her and husband are planning to visit Japan for the first time late next year! I can`t wait to have family visit us here and show them some of the magnificent culture and history. Your guide and site will be a nice way for them to learn more about the country before visiting. Thank you.

    • http://japan-australia.blogspot.com/ John Asano

      Thanks Amanda, That would be great. The reason I created this site is to help the traveler to Japan. I hope they find it helpful and as it is still quite new we will be building up the content all the time.

      Cheers

      John

  • Pingback: Korakuen Garden | Japan Travel Advice