Kenrokuen is a place to walk and recreate in a beautiful landscape garden typical of the Edo period (1603-1868). Originally, the outside garden of Kanazawa Castle was located on the slope in front of the building. In 1676, fifth feudal lord Maeda Tsunanori moved his house from the garden to the castle. He started building a rest home called Renchiochin and began designing the Renchi-tei garden in the area around the rest home. This was the start of what was to become Kenrokuen.
Gradual Creation of the Garden
However, the rest house and garden burned down in 1759. Eleventh feudal lord Harunaga restored the garden, creating the Midori-taki waterfall and the Yugaotei Tea Room in 1774. In 1822, the twelfth feudal lord Narinaga erected magnificent Villa Takezawa on the Chitosedai high plateau southeast of the castle, although there were houses of seven servants and the clan school. He developed the garden by creating winding streams with water from the Tatsumi System and building stone bridges in them.
In the year of completion of the Takezawa Villa, the garden received its name because it is the combination of the six attributes of a perfect landscape garden: breadth, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, watercourses, and panoramic views. Kenrokuen literally means ‘a garden combining 6’. The name derives from a gardening book written by Li Gefei, a famous Chinese poet.
Feudal lord Narinaga died two years after finishing the Takezawa Villa. Subsequently, the village was destroyed, and it was there that thirteenth feudal lord Nariyasu expanded the Kasumigaike pond, adding some meandering streams that harmonized with the Renchi-tei Garden. This completed the basic structure of this extensive landscape garden designed for walking.
On May 7, 1874, when the domain system was abolished, the Kenrokuen Garden was opened to the public. It was then declared National Property of Landscape Beauty on March 8, 1922, and National Property of Special Landscape Beauty on March 20, 1985.
The highlights of the garden that you should look out for during your visit are the Karasakinomatsu Pine, the cherry tree chrysanthemum Kenrokuen, the meandering creeks, the Ishikawamon Entrance, the Yugaotei building, the Funsui fountain, and the flying wild geese bridge, among many other things.
Kenrokuen Garden is listed as one of the three most beautiful gardens in all of Japan and is undoubtedly the symbol of Kanazawa Prefecture.
Your Japan Tour
As seasoned Japan experts, we create perfect Japan package tours including destinations like Kanazawa. Check out our group tours and private tours, or contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!
Access: the Kenrokuen garden is a 30-minute walk from Kanazawa station. If you want to take the bus, it takes around 15 minutes and you should get off at Kenrokuenshita station.
Entrance fee: 320 yen for adults, 100 yen for kids between 6-17 years. Free for people over 65 with ID.
Hours: 7 am – 6 pm between March and September, 8 am – 5 pm between October and February.