|Typical Castle Garden in Edo Period, Beautiful
in All Seasons
Kenrokuen, located in the center of Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, was originally the private garden neighboring Kanazawa Castle which was the residence of the Maeda Family, the feudal lord reigning the area in the Edo Period (1603-1868). The garden was developed by the family of Maeda down through the generations from the 1620s to 1840s and completed after more than 200 years of work. The name "Kenrokuen" means "a garden combining six." The garden was so named because it was considered to have all six attributes of a good garden stated in Chinese literature in the 11th century; spaciousness, quietness, human strength, stateliness, water and rocks, and beautiful views. Kenrokuen is counted as one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan along with Kairakuen in Ibaraki Prefecture and Korakuen in Okayama Prefecture.
This large stroll-type landscape garden covering about 100,000 square meters (24.7 acres) has Kasumigaike Pond at its center, and various hills, streams, smaller ponds and falls around it provide great variety. Stone lanterns and stone bridges grace the garden. Ume (Japanese apricot) flowers tell the coming of spring, and 400 cherry trees of 40 species come into full bloom in April. In summer, bright azaleas bloom and the oldest fountain in Japan cools the air. Japanese zelkova and maple trees begin to don their beautiful autumn colors in mid-October. When winter comes, the branches of pine trees are supported by ropes from the treetops to prevent them from being broken by the weight of snow. These cone-shaped trees are typical winter scenery of Kanazawa.
Photos: Four seasons in Kenrokuen (Ishikawa Prefecture)
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