Kenrokuen literally means “Garden of the Six Sublimities”. Looking into Chinese landscape theory, we see the six essential attributes that make up a perfect garden: Spaciousness, Seclusion, Artificiality, Antiquity, Abundant water and Broad views.
Experiencing these six essential qualities, combined in a single sculptured experience, makes something truly magical.
Kenrokuen used to be the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle; a private enclave to the Shogun. It was opened to the public in 1871 and has attracted people the world over since.
Kenrokuen is the type of place that words cannot due justice. Once again, we recommended day and evening visit. During the day there is a very cute tea house constructed in 1725 and at night, the lights are simply … sublime.
Castle: 7:00 – 18:00 Daily
Gardens: Open longer
A leisurely stroll through Kanazawa Castle and the surrounding landscape are a joy shared.
The castle grounds are open until late, we were very lucky on the evening we were there to take in a fantastic light show over the water in the Gyokusen’inmaru garden. This piece of natural landscaping is a multilevel garden, complete with cliff, waterfall, islands and lovey bridges sits close to the gate of it’s own name
Sadly our visit to Kanawaza was too short and we did not have time to fully visit the castle interiors throughout the day. Luckily, there is this interesting link describing the buildings standing technical exhibit.
If you have the time, it is recommended to take both a day and evening visit; as the castle is a much different experience by day – where one can bathe in its lovely lines and inspiring size (and pop into the 21st Century Museum)- and by night – where you can feel the heavy presence of defense and the violence that spawned such a grand structure.
Kanazawa is a tourist destination for the Japanese. International tourism usually heads south to Kyoto and its plethora of temples. For a slightly different experience, head west and enjoy Kanazawa. This intimate city is home to the edo era Higashiyama Higashi Chaya District, the superbly maintained Kanazawa Castle, the best of Kenroku-en gardens and the lovely 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.
Near said Kenroku-en, the pleasing circular structure of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art floats above the landscape. Built in 2005, by architects Kazuyo Sejima+Ryue Nishizawa of the architectural prize-winning architect studio SANAA, this 113m diameter steel frame and reinforced concrete building is home to a fantastic rotating collection. We had a lovely time exploring and marveling at the play of sight and sound – a theme that re-appeared throughout.
As a bonus, the 21st Century Museum is surrounded by several of Kanazawa’s famed porcelain shops.
Maimon Sushi has a few locations around the Kanazawa area. The main one at the Hundred Avenue Mall is a bustling suburban family favorite. Packed with locals it is fairly far outside the main city and only worth it if you are in town for a few days, as it is very popular and the waiting can be long; but the food is delicious.
The other option is the 14 seat counter at Kanazawa station here you get an a la carte selection vs. the sushi boat style at the principal location which is much more fun!
At either, the quality of the fish is excellent and everything is super fresh; showing why Ishikawa is fabled as one of the top seafood provinces in Japan !!
– A general tip for sushi boat style restaurants: If you want the higher quality/pricier options, like Otoro and Chiu Toro, just ask, as they don’t usually place them on the rotating belt. Enjoy !!!
Principal location at 3-20-7 Ekinishishinmachi, Kanawaza
(81) 076.220.2800 1 Higashiyama Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
Kanazawa is a lovely city on the northern coast of the island of Honshu about 500km and a pleasant Shinkansen train ride form Tokyo. Kanazawa is known for its castle, gardens and three lovely historical edo-era geisha districts; Kazue-Machi, the smallest by the river, Naga Machi Buke or the Samurai Districtand the Higashiyama Higashi Chaya District being the largest
Higashiyama Higashi Chaya is full of small shops, sake tastings, delicious food, stunning lacquer bowls – and gold leaf. Gold leaf done to perfection on crafts; and tasty gold leaf on ice-cream!
Stop by the very well preserved Shima tea house, with geisha shows, performing dances and the playing Japanese traditional musical instruments – carrying the same notes frome the Edo period.
Another lovely find is the Hakuza Gold Leaf Store. A shop selling gold leaf products. Inside the shop is a traditional Japanese warehouse which has been turned into a tearoom and completely covered inside and out with gold leaf. Only possible as Kanawaza produces almost all of Japan’s gold leaf.
Kanazawa, although small, For us has a more natural and local vibe then Gion in Kyoto – which at times felt too stiff and tourist crowded, turning the romanticism of the architecture into a theme park. We truly wish we had stayed more time in Kanazawa.