sights / Parks & gardens

Kenroku-en information

Kanazawa , Japan
1-1 Marunouchi
adult/child ¥300/100
Opening hours
7am-6pm Mar-15 Oct, 8am-4.30pm 16 Oct-Feb
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Ranked as one of the top three gardens in Japan (the other two are Kairaku-en in Mito, and Kōraku-en in Okayama), this Edo period garden draws its name (kenroku ; 'combined six') from a renowned Sung-dynasty garden in China that dictated six attributes for perfection: seclusion, spaciousness, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water and broad views. Kenroku-en has them all. The garden, originally belonging to an outer villa of Kanazawa-jō, began in 1876 but was later enlarged to serve the castle itself. It was 'completed' in the early 19th century and opened to the public in 1871.

In winter the branches of Kenroku-en's trees are famously suspended with ropes via a post at each tree's centre, forming elegant conical shapes that protect the trees from breaking under Kanazawa's heavy snows. In spring, irises turn Kenroku-en's waterways into rivers of purple. Arrive before the crowds to increase potential for silent contemplation.