After strolling a bit through the castle complex of the former Kanazawa-jo fortress last time, today we are heading to the directly adjacent park Kenroku-en 兼六園 to get a taste of Japanese garden atmosphere.
Japanese gardens are often little paradises, usually private and rather hidden, and thus not accessible to everyone.But fortunately, there are also public grounds, and among them, truly enchanting gardens and parks. Such as Kenroku-en, one of Japan's Three Famous Gardens (日本三名園, Nihon san meien).
As just mentioned, Kenroku-en is located right next to the Kanazawa-jo castle, the former seat of the Maeda clan, the daimyo of the old Saga province who ruled here during the Edo period. This former province was one of the wealthier regions of the country, and during the rather peaceful Edo period could afford to invest not only in the art of war, but also in the fine arts. For this reason, horticulture was also highly valued in Kanazawa, and in the 17th century the Maeda-Daimyo had his own private garden laid out, where he also sometimes entertained his guests.
Like Kanazawa-jo Castle, part of the park fell victim to fires, but was rebuilt and remodeled. The spacious park was completely opened to the public during the Meiji period in 1874, and as mentioned above, it is now one of the "Three Famous Gardens of Japan", and meets all the requirements of an ancient Chinese garden book for a perfect landscape garden.
Kenroku-en, the "Park of Six Principles", as an outstanding landscape garden, fulfills the following six qualities:
- spaciousness (宏大 kōdai) and seclusion (幽邃 yūsui),
- artistry (人力 jinryoku) and ancestral (蒼古 sōko),
- flowing water (水泉 suisen) and wide view (眺望 chōbō).
All of these six principles have been beautifully combined in this park, easily creating a sense of harmony and balance in the viewer and pleasure seeker. The beauty of nature is presented here in a very special way and quickly captivated me.
In the first picture you can see the "Kotoji Lantern", the most famous of the 18 stone lanterns scattered in the park. It became one of the symbols of this garden with its striking two legs, modeled after a footbridge.
The Kenroku-en is located right in front of the Ishikawa-mon, the only gate of Kanazawa-jo Castle that remains in the original. All you have to do is step right out of the castle park, go through the gate and over a small bridge, and you're already in front of the next inviting garden area. From park to park to say.
As you can be easily see on this board, the Kenroku-en is really an extensive complex, in which there are also several watercourses, a very important condition to fulfill the six principles. Many different paths and several hills constantly offer different perspectives and viewpoints in this very charming park.
But just come along and then we'll have a look together....
Quiet ponds combined with Japanese garden architecture, and in the background a lot of fresh and lush greenery create this somewhat mystical and fairy-tale atmosphere, which seems slightly bewitching and often inspires and invites me to daydream a little. Simply magical!
And here we go, this site offers a completely different view, here on this wide green with this overhanging pine tree. Who wouldn't like to climb up here right away and get a completely different view from the very top.
Of course, the heavy branches need to be supported, especially in wind and weather, so that this pine can continue to stretch out like this for a long time while looking so inviting. In winter, many trees and bushes are also tied down or down so that the heavy snow loads do not cause too much damage.
And of course we need a little bit of color. At the beginning of May the azalea season starts in Japan and some bushes have already shown their best and most colorful side.
Blooming flowers and bushes, quiet ponds and lots of refreshing greenery, I feel I am starting to understand what is important in the design of such gardens. And if you then manage to block out any people nearby, it doesn't take much to relax and feel and sense this place from its very special side.
Spring is at its best when the blossoms show themselves in all the many colors and shapes and you yourself also start to blossom and live again.
But of course we were not alone, quite the opposite. The park was well visited, and also some school classes had chosen the Kenroku-en as their daily goal and were now marching in formation over the many paths and trails. But this didn't bother us a all, as such sights have their very own charm and are simply part of life here in Japan.
And also this little scaled fellow showed up and looked around, right next to the entrance he seemed to have found a good place to warm up a bit and to get some sun. A rather long one, I think snakes grow better and faster here in the country, than where I come from.
But not only during the day, but also at night the Kenroke-en is worth a visit. Some places in the park are especially illuminated, such as the "Kotoji lantern", which makes it look all the more charming. We were very lucky that during our visit the park was open even at late hours, which is probably only the case on special occasions. But sometimes you're just at the right place at the right time.
Night photography is not my strong point, but I think the pictures here captured a bit of the mood and magic of this place.
Another of the stone lanterns that can be found in several places in the park, spreading that very Japanese mood.
We have seen and marveled at this place in the park already in daylight, but at night everything seems even more mystical and magical. Landscape gardener was one of the professions I had considered as a teenager but then put aside. But apparently a little of that fascination has remained and survived in me to this day, and that's why I still love to be and dream in this ambience.
Kenroku-en Park has let its charm work on us and we have not been able to resist it. On the contrary, I always enjoy soaking up those sights and moments, and now, writing this article, I can feel them again and I am able to refresh my memories. A good feeling!
That's it for today from Kanazawa, but since the city has a few other impressions to offer, I'll be back soon. I wish you another wonderful day:
よい一日を Yoi Ichinichi wo
[//]:# (!pinmapple 36.562146 lat 136.661639 long Kenrokuen-Park in Kanazwa - A beautiful gem of a garden d3scr)