A bridge over a modern road links Kanazawa Castle to the northwestern corner of the Kenrokuen Garden, meaning you can quickly go from one to the other while sightseeing in the city. Once I was done touring the castle I crossed the bridge and entered Kenrokuen through the Katsurazaka Gate. I had visited the garden the previous night during Kenrokuen’s special nighttime viewing hours but now it was time to come back and see the garden’s full glory in the light.
Kenrokuen is considered to be one of the greatest landscape gardens in all of Japan and anyone that visits it will understand why Kenrokuen is esteemed so highly. It’s name translates to “Garden of Six Sublimities”, referring to the six elements of traditional Chinese landscape theory—spaciousness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, water, and stellar views. Development of the garden began in the 1600s and Kenrokuen served as the private garden of the lords of Kanazawa Castle for about 200 years. In 1759 a major fire nearly wiped out the entire garden but in 1774 restoration work began and in 1874 Kenrokuen was opened to the public.
Among many things sure to catch the eye of visitors are the various pine trees with a combination of ropes and pillars supporting their branches. These are Karasaki pine trees that are known for having branches that extend far out from their trunks and the supports are especially important during the winter when snow makes the branches very heavy.
In the middle of Kenrokuen is a particularly large pine tree called the Neagari Matsu, which translates to “raised root pine”. It is said that this tree was planted over 200 years ago on a mound of dirt and once the tree grew large enough the soil was dug out, exposing the upper part of the tree’s roots which hardened from exposure to the air.
While wandering around Kenrokuen I came across a couple that were having their wedding photos taken. Kenrokuen is a very popular photo destination and I remember three separate professional photo shoots were taking place while I was at the garden.
Autumn colors were on full display at Kenrokuen and just about everywhere I looked I found more scenic spots that demanded to be photographed. Kenrokuen is one of those places where you could take hundreds of photos and it would still feel insufficient. What I’m showing in today’s post is only a small portion of the photos I captured that day.
After spending about an hour walking around Kenrokuen I came back to Kasumigaike Pond in the middle of the garden. The clouds above were moving out and the increasingly clear skies brought out a beautiful blue reflection in the waters of the pond. An old teahouse extends out onto Kasumigaike, though it was not open to the public when I visited. I did, however, get to climb a small hill alongside the pond for a better view of the area.
I would loved to have stayed longer at Kenrokuen and take more photos but unfortunately there was a bus that I needed to be on to reach my next destination in Japan, so after taking in one last view of the garden I headed to the exit. At some point I need to come back to Kenrokuen, though perhaps I should try to come during the spring to see the plumb or cherry trees blossoming.