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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 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, 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

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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. The property is non-smoking and is located 2.5 km from Kenrokuen Garden. At the hotel, all rooms include a balcony with a garden view. All guest rooms in HOTEL 101 KANAZAWA are fitted with a flat-screen TV and free toiletries. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a continental breakfast. HOTEL 101 KANAZAWA offers 4-star accommodation with a hot tub. Popular points of interest near the hotel 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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    • 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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    • 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. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy an Asian breakfast. Popular points of interest near Hotel Kanazawa Zoushi include Kanazawa Station, Ozaki Shrine and Kanazawa Phonograph Museum. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 31 km from the hotel.
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    • so, KANAZAWA
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, so, KANAZAWA is situated in Kanazawa, 1.9 km from Kanazawa Castle and 600 metres from Kanazawa Station. The 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is located 2.3 km from Kenrokuen Garden. All units at the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV and a kitchen. At so, KANAZAWA each room includes bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Ishikawa Ongakudo, Ozaki Shrine and Kanazawa Phonograph Museum. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 31 km from so, KANAZAWA.
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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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    • Ryokan Yamamuro
      Mid-range
      Located a 5-minute drive from JR Kanazawa Station, Ryokan Yamamuro offers Japanese-style guestrooms with free WiFi. Omicho Market and Kanazawa Castle Park can both be reached with a 5-minute walk. Guests can stroll around the Higashi Chaya District, a historical entertainment district with various shops, located a 8-minute walk away from Yamamuro Ryokan. Kenrokuen Garden is 10-minutesf away on foot while the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art is a 15-minute walk away. Myoryuji - Ninja Temple is a 10-minute drive from the property. With heating and air-conditioning facilities, rooms are fitted with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and feature Japanese futon bedding. One room comes with a private bathroom. Free services offered at the property include luggage storage, newspaper and daily maid services.
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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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    • SOKI KANAZAWA 19th November 2022 OPEN
      Luxury
      Featuring 4-star accommodation, SOKI KANAZAWA 19th November 2022 OPEN is located in Kanazawa, 1.2 km from Kanazawa Castle and 1.5 km from Kenrokuen Garden. With a restaurant, the 4-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The accommodation provides a 24-hour front desk, a concierge service and luggage storage for guests. Guest rooms at the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV and a safety deposit box. At SOKI KANAZAWA 19th November 2022 OPEN each room is fitted with bed linen and towels. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy an Asian breakfast. Popular points of interest near SOKI KANAZAWA 19th November 2022 OPEN include Kanazawa Station, Kanazawa Phonograph Museum and Ozaki Shrine. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 32 km from the hotel.
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    • Gunjo no Tsuki
      Mid-range
      Located in Kanazawa, within 1.8 km of Kanazawa Castle and 1.7 km of Kenrokuen Garden, Gunjo no Tsuki provides accommodation with a garden and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. The property is around 2.8 km from Kanazawa Station, 1.3 km from 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art and less than 1 km from Nomura Family Samurai House. The property is non-smoking and is situated 500 metres from Myoryuji - Ninja Temple. Guest rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a fridge, a microwave, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer and a wardrobe. With a private bathroom equipped with a shower and slippers, certain rooms at the ryokan also offer a river view. At Gunjo no Tsuki each room is fitted with bed linen and towels. A continental breakfast is available daily at the accommodation. Popular points of interest near Gunjo no Tsuki include Nishi Tea House Street, Muro Saisei Kinenkan Museum and Nagamachi Bukeyashiki District. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 31 km from the ryokan.
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    • Onyado Nono Kanazawa
      Luxury
      Featuring 4-star accommodation, Onyado Nono Kanazawa is situated in Kanazawa, 1.3 km from Kenrokuen Garden and 1 km from Kanazawa Castle. This 4-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space. The accommodation features a sauna, hot tub, restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property. A buffet breakfast is available each morning at the hotel. Onyado Nono Kanazawa offers 4-star accommodation with a hot spring bath. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kanazawa Station, Myoryuji - Ninja Temple and Ozaki Shrine. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 32 km from Onyado Nono Kanazawa.
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