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A Treasure Trove of Beautiful Gardens! Five Select Historical Gardens in Kanazawa

There are many wonderful gardens in Kanazawa in addition to Kenrokuen, which is known as one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens. This time, we take a look at some delightful gardens in Kanazawa that are close to Kenrokuen.

1. The Old Site of Mr. Kurando Terashima's House

This garden is in the old site of a house that belonged to Kurando Terashima, a mid-level samurai during the Edo period (1603-1868), where the main house, storehouse, and earthen walls remain. There is a chisen kaiyu shiki (style of garden that features a path around a pond​) garden that is centered on a pond to the north and east of the house, presenting a different view each season. It is particularly beautiful in the spring, when the dodan-tsutsuji (Enkianthus perulatus) that are more than 300 years old bloom, and when the foliage turn colors in the fall. There are more than 200 trees that present beautiful views to the visitor throughout the year. If you ask, you can also enjoy matcha green tea (300 JPY) in the teahouse. Don't forget to check out the exhibition room where you can see impressive works of art, including paintings by Kurando, who was known as a painter.

1. The Old Site of Mr. Kurando Terashima's House

10-3 Ote-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

2. Gyokusen-en

This is a garden that the Wakita family, a senior samurai family, built over a period of 100 years about 400 years ago. It is an undulating chisen kaiyu shiki garden consisting of a main garden, west garden and east garden with the trees of Kenrokuen next door in the background, and is one of just six gardens in Japan in a rare style called gyokkanryu. It is designed so that the most beautiful view is from the tatami room, but there are many highlights such as the trees, Asian skunk cabbage, and the lantern of secret Christians. In addition, it has the oldest tearoom in Kanagawa, Saisetsu-tei, where you can enjoy matcha green tea and a Japanese wagashi sweet (1,500 JPY (incl. garden entrance fee)).

2. Gyokusen-en

8-3 Kosho-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

3. Hikaku-tei, Seison-kaku

This is the garden to a house that was built in 1863 as a villa for the wife of one of the lords of Maeda, who lead the Kaga clan. It is designated as a place of national scenic beauty and is usually not open to the public, but there is a special period during which it is open together with the tea ceremony room, Seika-ken, and Seika-shoin. It is an elegant garden befitting its female owner, with a flat garden covered in moss and colored walls.

*Advance reservation by fax or telephone necessary to view the garden.
*Special opening period: April 20, 2017 - November 30, 2017

3. Hikaku-tei, Seison-kaku

1-2 Kenroku-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

4. Nomura-ke Samurai Residence Garden

This is the garden to the only samurai residence open to the public in Naga-machi, the residence of Nomura, a mid-level samurai family. It is small compared to Kenrokuen, but is known for its quality and the harmony with the building. In 2003, it placed third in a ranking of Japanese gardens by an American gardening magazine. It is beautifully balanced with 400-year-old mountain peach trees and a large stone suspension bridge. The water comes right below the nure-en deck, creating great harmony between the building and garden. Sit down to look at the garden from the nure-en deck and you may forget the passage of time. There is a tearoom on the second floor where you can have matcha green tea (300 JPY) with a view of the garden.

4. Nomura-ke Samurai Residence Garden

1-3-32 Naga-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

5. Oyama Shrine Gardens

This is a famous garden in Oyama Shrine, known for its Shinmon gate. It was built more than 300 years ago as part of the Kanaya Goten gardens. It is a beautiful chisen kaiyu shiki style garden with deftly designed bridges to a small island in the pond and a tiered waterfall. It is sometimes referred to as the "garden of musical instruments" because ancient musical instruments such as koto (Japanese zither), biwa (Japanese lute), and sho (a free-reed instrument) are represented in key parts of the garden, such as the Kotobashi bridge, Biwajima island, and Hoshojima island. It is considered to be a well-kept secret with fantastic foliage in the fall.

5. Oyama Shrine Gardens

11-1 Oyama-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

These gardens can all be see in one day together with Kenrokuen. Japanese gardens, which mimic nature, are filled with the artistry of gardeners. These famous gardens have been protected since the time of the samurai. We hope you will enjoy the beauty of the balance between the rocks, trees, and pond, which is the essence of Japanese gardens.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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