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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 to discover.

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 200 yen.

Alternatively, frequent Hokutetsu buses run between Kanazawa Station and Kenrokuen (15 minutes, 200 yen one way). Get off at Kenrokuen-shita bus stop, which is a short walk from the castle park. 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

Hours and Fees

Hours

Regular Hours:
7:00 to 18:00 (March to October 15)
8:00 to 17:00 (October 16 to February)
Early Admission Hours:
From 5:00 (April to August from 4:00, November to February from 6:00)
Early admission visitors must exit the garden before the start of regular hours

Closed

No closing days

Admission

320 yen (free during early admission hours)
Included in the Kenrokuen Plus One Ticket

Hotels around Kanazawa

Top rated in Kanazawa
Budget:
    • Guest House Pongyi
      Budget-friendly
      Formerly a classic Japanese-style house built more than 100 years ago, Guest House Pongyi features affordable accommodations. JR Kanazawa Train Station and Hokutetsu-Kanazawa Train Station are a 5-minute walk away. The dormitory-style rooms feature tatami (woven-staw) floors. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. Female dormitory rooms have air conditioning, while mixed dormitory rooms have a fan for the summer and a heater for the winter. Guests can use the shared kitchen which features a microwave, a fridge, and kitchenware. A washing machine can be used for an extra cost. Pongyi Guest House is a 45-minute drive from Komatsu Airport, and a 10-minute walk from Oumicho Market. Kanazawa Castle Park is a 40-minute walk away. No meals are served.
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    • INOVA Kanazawa Station Hotel Suite
      Luxury
      INOVA Kanazawa Station Hotel Suite is located 600 metres from Kanazawa Station. Free WiFi is provided in all rooms. The property offers private parking. Featuring a balcony, all rooms have a flat-screen TV, washing machine and a kitchen with an induction stove, a fridge and a microwave. Each room has a living room, toilet and private bathroom with a TV. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 29 km from INOVA Kanazawa Station Hotel Suite.
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    • Guesthouse Nagonde
      Budget-friendly
      Guesthouse Nagonde is located a 5-minute walk from JR Kanazawa Station, 1.2 km from Kanazawa Castle and 1.7 km from Kenrokuen Garden . Some rooms include a seating area where you can relax. Guesthouse Nagonde features free WiFi throughout the property. There is a shared kitchen at the property. Myoryuji - Ninja Temple is 2.4 km from Guesthouse Nagonde, while Kanazawa FORUS is 400 metres away.
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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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    • Kanazawa Guesthouse Stella
      Budget-friendly
      1.4 km from Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa Guesthouse Stella is situated in Kanazawa and features air-conditioned rooms. This 2-star guest house offers a shared kitchen, a shared lounge and free WiFi. The guest house has family rooms. Guests at the guest house will be able to enjoy activities in and around Kanazawa, like hiking and cycling. Popular points of interest near Kanazawa Guesthouse Stella include Kanazawa Castle, Kanazawa Yasue Gold-Leaf Museum and Utasu Shrine. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 31 km from the accommodation.
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    • THE SHARE HOTELS HATCHi Kanazawa
      Budget-friendly
      Renovated in March 2016, THE SHARE HOTELS HATCHi Kanazawa is located a 7-minute bus ride from JR Kanazawa Station. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property. Rooms at the property feature air conditioning and heating. Coin-operated laundry machines and safety deposit box are available for your convenience. There is a gift shop that sells local crafts, cafe, restaurant, shared kitchen/lounge featuring locally-made furniture and kitchenware at the property. Various local art works are featured on site. THE SHARE HOTELS HATCHi Kanazawa is a 8-minute walk from Kenrokuen and Kanazawa Castle.
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    • Guest House Kadoyasu
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, Guest House Kadoyasu is located at an 8-minute walk away from JR Kanazawa Station. Guests can walk to Omi-cho Market in 5 minutes, while Higashi Chaya District is a 17-minutes walk away. Every room is equipped with air conditioning and heating facilities. There is a shared bathroom. There is a shared kitchen and lounge at this property. Luggage storage service before check-in and after check-out is offered. Bicycle rental is available. Kenrokuen Garden and Myoryuji - Ninja Temple can be reached within a 16-minute bus ride from the property. Komatsu Airport is 38 minutes away by car from Guest House Kadoyasu.
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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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    • K's House Kanazawa - Travelers Hostel
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Kanazawa, 1.3 km from Kanazawa Castle, K's House Kanazawa - Travelers Hostel offers air-conditioned rooms and a terrace. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The hostel features family rooms. Popular points of interest near the hostel include Kenrokuen Garden, Myoryuji - Ninja Temple and D. T. Suzuki Museum. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 29 km from K's House Kanazawa - Travelers Host.
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    • Kanazawa Sainoniwa Hotel
      Luxury
      Surrounded by four gardens that change colours throughout the seasons, Kanazawa Sainoniwa Hotel offers spa facilities and an on-site restaurant. Private parking is possible on site and free WiFi is available in all guest rooms. All rooms here are non-smoking, carpeted and equipped with air conditioning and an air humidifier. Each room comes with a flat-screen TV. Selected room include a seating area with a sofa and a working desk. Private bathroom is fitted with bath and shower while free toiletries and Samui, Japanese traditional wear, are provided. Guests at Kanazawa Sainoniwa Hotel can enjoy spa on the ground floor. Free bicycle rental is available at the 24-hour reception desk. The on-site restaurant serves a buffet for breakfast. Drinks and snacks vending machines are locate throughout the hotel. From the hotel, JR Kanazawa Station is within a 15-minute walk. Guests can take a free shuttle from JR Kanazawa Station for 5 minutes to arrive at the property. The picturesque Kenrokuen Garden is under a 20-minute drive and Komatsu Airport is a 40-minute drive away.
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