JAPAN TRAVEL: Kenroku Garden in Ishikawa Prefecture
Kenroku-en was once the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, the home of the daimyos, landlords of Kanazawa, during the Edo period.
It has gone through several renovations, including the expansion of the Kasumiga-ike Pond found in the center of the garden, throughout its history.
It was first opened to the public in 1874 and is hailed as one of the Three Great Gardens or Nihon Sanmeien, alongside Koraku-en in Okayama and Kairaku-en in Mito.
Kenroku Garden gained this esteemed recognition by combining all six attributes of a perfect garden into one sprawling strolling garden: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, watercourses, and panoramas.
It’s an all-season destination, giving tourists varying views depending on the climate. Enjoy the freshness of the garden during spring, the vibrance of the views during summer, the many colors the trees exhibit during fall, and its conversion to a near-wonderland during winter.
One of its main tourist spots is Kasumiga-ike Pond, a 5,800-square-meter man-made pond. It is 1.5 meters at its deepest point and is surrounded by Sazae-yama hill, Uchihashi-tei tea house, Kotoji lantern, Niji-bashi bridge, the Karasaki pine tree, and Horai Island (added by the 13th Daimyo Nariyasu Maeda).
Another thing that draws locals and foreigners alike to Kenroku-en is the Neagari-no-Matsu or the Raised Roots Pine.
Located a few meters southeast of Kasumiga-ike, it’s an unusual pine that, as the name suggests, has roots raised off the ground as if it is about to fly off into the sky. Lord Nariyasu went through a tedious process to get it to look like this, which could explain why a lot of people are fascinated by it.
As far as trees go, the Karasaki Pine Tree is probably the most popular attraction in Kenroku-en. The seeds of this black pine were brought all the way from the shores of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture by the 13th Lord Nariyasu. It’s known for the umbrella-like ropes that support its sprawling branches during winter, preventing the weight of the snow from snapping them off.
The garden can be accessed via six entrances and is served by three bus stops: Kenroku-en shita, Hirosaka, and Dewa-machi. It’s also a stone’s throw away from the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, making visiting these two sights a real breeze.
Address: 1 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa
Operating hours: 7 am – 6 pm (Mar 1 – Oct 15), 8 am – 5 pm (Oct 16 – end of Feb)
Entrance fees: ¥310 for adults, ¥100 for children ages 6 – 17 (¥250 for adults and ¥80 for children if in a group of 30 or more people)
Written by Andronico Del Rosario
Supported by GCP
This first appeared in Philippine Primer Magazine Vol. 33 – December issue.