One of Japan’s Three Most Beautiful Gardens

There are still a lot of things still clinging on my must-see list in Japan. The three most famous gardens in Japan, Kenroku-en (Kanzawa), Koraku-en (Okayama) and Kairaku-en (Mito), are some of them.

We visited the garden in Okayama during the cherry blossom and it was indeed beautiful. We were impressed by its open space, the perfect alignment of plants, trees, hills, streams and ponds.

One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens

Koraku-en garden in Okayama

So, this weekend Kenroku-en in Kanazwa was the next victim on the list. Kenroku-en means “the garden combining six characteristics for an ideal garden: spaciousness, serenity, venerability, scenic views, subtle design, and coolness”. It’s kind of difficult for a garden to have all these six attributes altogether, but somehow Kanazawa has all of them.

With clear ponds, beautiful flowers (I adore irises), hills and bridges dotting the green space, Kenroku-en looks indeed like a fairy tale, something not to be missed if you are in Japan. It’s a bit far and expensive to get there (3 hours train ride from Kyoto ~about $70 one way; or the cheaper option is the bus for half the price, 4 hours ride), but it’s worth the effort.

One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens, Koraku-en garden, must see gardens Japan, best gardens JapanOne of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens, Koraku-en garden, must see gardens Japan, best gardens JapanOne of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens, Koraku-en garden, must see gardens Japan, best gardens Japan

One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens, Koraku-en garden, must see gardens Japan, best gardens Japan

Kotoji lantern, the symbol of Kanazawa

Besides the beautiful garden, Kanazawa has other interesting spots as well:

  • The city’s personalized manhole cover – I was very happy to find it! Since I found out about the existence of such art pieces in Japan, I’ve been a bit obsessed with spotting them :).

One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens, Koraku-en garden, must see gardens Japan, best gardens Japan

  • Cute houses next to some interesting Gaudi style buildings

One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gard One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gard

  • Some modern art pieces

One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gard One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gard

  • One of the most beautiful train stations I’ve seen

One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gard

  • Delicious orange juice, straight from the orange itself :) ( found at the Omicho market, Kanazawa’s largest fresh fruit market)

One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gard

  • Traditional houses in the Samurai district and the Geisha district, and of course traditional weddings in the temples;

One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens, Koraku-en garden, must see gardens Japan, best gardens JapanOne of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens, Koraku-en garden, must see gardens Japan, best gardens JapanOne of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens, Koraku-en garden, must see gardens Japan, best gardens Japan

  • And the most delicious udon I ate so far in Japan, with home made noodles, small mushrooms and….edible gold leafs sprinkled on top. Amazing taste, I’m sure the tiny gold leafs played their role in that :).  (These gold leafs are an important part of Kanazawa’s arts and crafts, the city being the main producer. The gold that covers Kinkakuji temple in Kyoto comes from Kanazawa. People usethe gold flakes in food because of their belief that is good for health and vitality). 

One of Japan's Three Most Beautiful Gardens, Koraku-en garden, must see gardens Japan, best gardens Japan

 

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