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Kenrokuen (Z) in Kanazawa is justifiably classified as one of Japan's "three most beautiful landscape gardens" alongside Mito's Kairakuen and Okayama's Korakuen. The spacious grounds used to be the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle and were constructed by the ruling Maeda family over a period of nearly two centuries. Opened to the public in 1871, Kenrokuen features a variety of flowering trees which provide the garden with a different look for each season.

The name Kenrokuen literally means "Garden of the six sublimities", referring to spaciousness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water and broad views, which according to Chinese landscape theory are the six essential attributes that make up a perfect garden. A stroll around Kenrokuen will help with understanding this landscape theory as the grounds are teeming with water features, bridges, teahouses, trees, flowers, stones, viewpoints and hidden nooks.

Water is diverted from a distant river by a sophisticated water system constructed in 1632 to feed Kenrokuen's various streams and ponds including the two main ponds in the garden, Kasumigaike and Hisagoike. The over two-meter tall Kotojitoro Lantern, uniquely built with two legs instead of one, stands at the northern bank of Kasumigaike Pond and is an iconic symbol of Kenrokuen. In addition, a fountain below Kasumigaike Pond is one of Japan's oldest, and is powered by the drop in elevation from the pond which causes water to shoot out 3.5 meters high. Meanwhile, nearby Hisagoike Pond features a small waterfall.

In spring, visitors can see plum blossoms in the southern end of the garden as they bloom around mid February to the end March, just before the cherry blossom season begins. Cherry trees, which usually bloom around Kenrokuen around mid April, can be found along the streams through the northeastern side of the garden. There are also other varieties of flowers that grow in the garden during the warmer summer months when visitors can expect to see a lot of greenery as well.

In autumn you can see fall colors, which are mainly provided by the cherry and maple trees and usually change colors from around mid November to early December. The orange and red maples are mostly found near Yamazakiyama on the garden's eastern side near the Kodatsuno Gate. In the same general area, visitors will find a large bronze statue of a legendary prince, called the Meiji Monument. The statue is dedicated to the soldiers who died in the Seinan War, a civil war that followed the Meiji Restoration.

While there is far less foliage in winter, freshly fallen snow gives the garden a different, attractive seasonal look. Many of the garden's large pine trees feature traditional winter protections to prevent damage by snow. Of special note is the Karasaki Pine, one of the garden's most prominent trees. Planted from seed, it now stands tall next to Kasumigaike Pond with some of its branches extending far over the pond's surface.

Some walking trails in the park lead to higher ground from where visitors can have an overview of the garden. There are also teahouses in the garden where visitors can drink tea and eat traditional Japanese sweets while looking at the scenery. Finally, a pleasant pedestrian way lined with cherry trees, shops and restaurants lies just outside of the garden's paid area, between the Katsurazaka and Renchimon gates. The street is a particularly beautiful rest spot in spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Getting there and around

Kenrokuen is a stop along the tourist-oriented Kanazawa Loop Bus which departs from the station's east exit (aka Kenrokuen Exit). The one way ride from Kanazawa Station takes about 20 minutes and costs 210 yen.

Alternatively, frequent Hokutetsu buses run between Kanazawa Station and Kenrokuen (15 minutes, 210 yen one way). Get off at Kenrokuen-shita bus stop, a short walk from the garden. Furthermore, there are 1-3 JR buses per hour from Kanazawa Station, which are covered by the Japan Rail Pass. All buses depart from Kanazawa Station's east exit (Kenrokuen Exit).

How to get to and around Kanazawa

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Hotels around Kanazawa

    • Ryotei Manyo
      An authentic ryokan with 9 rooms in Tatsunokuchi Onsen, 30 min from Kanazawa. The karesansui garden boasting 6600sq meters and spacious rooms are well-reputed.
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    • Matsusaki
      Established in Edo Period, Matsusaki is a secluded, traditional ryokan in Tatsunokuchi Onsen. Enjoy its masterpiece kaiseki cuisine. 30min from Kanazawa Sta.
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    • HOTEL 101 KANAZAWA
      Luxury
      Set in Kanazawa, 2 km from Kanazawa Castle, HOTEL 101 KANAZAWA offers accommodation with a garden, free private parking, a terrace and a restaurant. The 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. Guests can use the hot tub, or enjoy garden views. At the hotel, all rooms include a balcony. All guest rooms in HOTEL 101 KANAZAWA are fitted with a flat-screen TV and free toiletries. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kanazawa Station, Ishikawa Ongakudo and Kazuemachi Tea House Street. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 32 km from HOTEL 101 KANAZAWA.
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    • Machiya Guest House Carta
      Budget-friendly
      Offering a shared lounge and garden view, Machiya Guest House Carta is set in Kanazawa, 1.7 km from Kanazawa Castle and 1.3 km from Kenrokuen Garden. Featuring a garden, the 2-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. At the guest house, each unit is equipped with a tatami. At the guest house, the units include bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the guest house include Myoryuji - Ninja Temple, D. T. Suzuki Museum and Nakamura Memorial Museum. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 32 km from Machiya Guest House Carta.
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    • Yamanoo
      Mid-range
      Situated within the historic Higashi Chaya District, Yamanoo boasts carefully prepared traditional local Japanese delicacies. Free WiFi access and free private parking are available on site. The ryokan is 900 metres from Kanazawa Castle in Kanazawa, overlooking a city of Kanazawa. Each guest room is in one of the annexes and features a private bathroom with a hot tub made from hinoki cypress wood. Bathrobes and slippers are provided. You will find a kettle in the room. Extras include free toiletries and a hairdryer. A flat-screen TV is offered. You will find luggage storage space at the property. Kenrokuen Garden is 1.2 km from Yamanoo, while Myoryuji - Ninja Temple is 2.6 km from the property. Komatsu Airport is 31 km away.
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    • Hotel Kanazawa Zoushi
      Luxury
      Set in Kanazawa and within 1.4 km of Kanazawa Castle, Hotel Kanazawa Zoushi has a shared lounge, allergy-free rooms, and free WiFi throughout the property. This 4-star hotel offers luggage storage space. The property is non-smoking and is situated 1.7 km from Kenrokuen Garden. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms with a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a minibar, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Hotel Kanazawa Zoushi all rooms have bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kanazawa Station, Ozaki Shrine and Kanazawa Phonograph Museum. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 31 km from Hotel Kanazawa Zoushi.
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    • Sumiyoshiya
      Mid-range
      Offering free Wi-Fi and free-use bicycles and in-room Japanese meals, Sumiyoshiya is a traditional Japanese-style hotel. It features a garden, hot public baths and coin-operated laundry facilities. A free-use internet PC is available at the lobby. Rooms feature paper sliding doors, Japanese futon bedding and a seating area. All come with an LCD TV, a tea/coffee maker and a sink, and some have a private bathroom. Sumiyoshiya offers laundry services, luggage storage and free parking. A Japanese and a Western breakfast are served in the hotelfs dining room, while Japanese dinners featuring local ingredients can be enjoyed in either the guest room or the dining room. Sumiyoshiya is a 10-minute walk from Kenroku-en Garden, and a 15-minute walk from both JR Kanazawa Stationfs East exit and the historical Higashi Chaya-machi district. Omicho market is only a 1-minute walk.
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    • THE HOTEL SANRAKU KANAZAWA 21th December 2022 OPEN
      Luxury
      Situated in Kanazawa, less than 1 km from Kanazawa Castle, THE HOTEL SANRAKU KANAZAWA 21th December 2022 OPEN features accommodation with a garden, private parking, a restaurant and a bar. With free WiFi, this 5-star hotel offers room service and a 24-hour front desk. The property is non-smoking and is located 1.1 km from Kenrokuen Garden. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms with a desk, a coffee machine, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. The rooms are equipped with a kettle, while certain rooms are equipped with a balcony and others also boast garden views. At THE HOTEL SANRAKU KANAZAWA 21th December 2022 OPEN rooms come with bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kanazawa Station, Ozaki Shrine and Kanazawa Phonograph Museum. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 33 km from THE HOTEL SANRAKU KANAZAWA 21th December 2022 OPEN.
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    • UTAIMACHI
      Mid-range
      Set 2.5 km from Kanazawa Station, 3.7 km from Myoryuji - Ninja Temple and 200 metres from Utasu Shrine, UTAIMACHI offers accommodation located in Kanazawa. The 3-star ryokan has inner courtyard views and is 1.4 km from Kenrokuen Garden. Free WiFi is available throughout the property and Kanazawa Castle is 1.5 km away. The ryokan will provide guests with air-conditioned units offering a wardrobe, a kettle, a microwave, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a walk-in shower. There is also a dining area and a fully equipped kitchen equipped with a stovetop and kitchenware. At the ryokan, units are equipped with bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the ryokan include Tokuda Shusei Kinenkan Museum, Kanazawa Yasue Gold-Leaf Museum and Kazuemachi Tea House Street. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 34 km from UTAIMACHI.
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    • Kanazawa Guesthouse Stella
      Budget-friendly
      Offering a shared lounge and city view, Kanazawa Guesthouse Stella is situated in Kanazawa, 1.5 km from Kanazawa Castle and 1.5 km from Kenrokuen Garden. This 2-star guest house offers a shared kitchen, luggage storage space and free WiFi. The guest house has family rooms. Some units in the guest house have private entrance and are fitted with desk and tatami. All units are fitted with air conditioning, and some have a flat-screen TV, washing machine, a kettle, completed with a fully equipped kitchen. At the guest house, units have bed linen and towels. Guests at the guest house will be able to enjoy activities in and around Kanazawa, like cycling, hiking and walking tours. Popular points of interest near Kanazawa Guesthouse Stella include Kanazawa Yasue Gold-Leaf Museum, Utasu Shrine and Tokuda Shusei Kinenkan Museum. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 34 km from the accommodation.
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    • Korinkyo
      Luxury
      Korinkyo is located in Kanazawa, within 2.5 km of Kanazawa Station and 500 metres of Nagamachi Bukeyashiki District. With a restaurant, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The property is allergy-free and is situated less than 1 km from Kanazawa Castle. All rooms in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. All rooms include a safety deposit box and selected rooms also boast city views. At Korinkyo the rooms have bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kenrokuen Garden, Myoryuji - Ninja Temple and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 32 km from Korinkyo.
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    • UAN kanazawa
      Luxury
      UAN kanazawa is located a 5-minute walk from Musashigatsuji/Ohmicho Ichiba Bus Stop and Omicho Market. JR Kanazawa Station is 12 minutes by bus from the property, while Kanazawa Castle is 13 minutes on foot. Free WiFi is available throughout the entire property. A wheelchair accessible room can be found at this property. Each room at this hotel is air-conditioned and is fitted with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. There is a complimentary handy Smartphone and desk in all the rooms. Enjoy a cup of tea from your terrace or patio. Every room comes with a private bathroom with a bath and high-tech toilet, with slippers provided. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer. Yukata robes are also provided for the comfort of guests. A Japanese or Western-style breakfast featuring local specialities is available upon prior request. Guests can enjoy drinks at the bar. The property offers free soba noodle at night. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property and free luggage storage is available. Guests can work out free of charge at the hotel's fitness gym. Kenrokuen Garden is a 15-minute walk from UAN kanazawa, while Myoryuji - Ninja Temple is a 15-minute bus ride away from the property. The nearest Airport is Komatsu Airport, a 55-minute bus away.
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Experiences around Kanazawa

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