We spent four days in Kanazawa last summer in Japan. While it may not be amongst the top choices for first-time visitors to Japan, I think that it is absolutely worth a visit – if only for the beautiful Kenroku-en garden.
One of the ‘Three Great Gardens of Japan’, Kenroku-en 兼六園 embodies the six characteristics that make for a perfect landscaped garden: spaciousness, tranquillity, artifice, antiquity, waterways and panoramas.
I was clueless about these criteria when I visited Kenroku-en. It didn’t matter for I was awed from the moment I entered the immense garden.
It was a pleasure to stroll under the towering trees, listening to insect song and observing the ripples that the wind made as it kissed the surface of the ponds. Even though we were on our feet for several hours, my footsteps were light with joy.
We enjoyed our visit to Kenroku-en, particularly the sublime experience at the Shigure-tei Tea House 時雨亭, which I highly recommend.
The only let-down was the savoury mochi sticks we bought from one of the food stalls in the garden. They were terrible and we couldn’t finish them even though we were famished.
The next time I’m in Kanazawa, I shall buy some onigiri from a convenience store before entering Kenroku-en so that I can enjoy a light snack while taking in the lovely views of the city and the lush surroundings!
Kanazawa is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, on Japan’s central Honshu island. The direct shinkansen route between Tokyo and Kanazawa, which was launched in March 2015, takes 2.5 hours.
The garden is huge (11.4 hectares) and you can easily spend two to three hours exploring the grounds and some of the places within the garden ( e.g. Ishikawa Prefectural Museum for Traditional Products and Crafts).
For more information about Kenroku-en, visit www.pref.ishikawa.jp/siro-niwa/kenrokuen/e/index.html.