Kenroku-en, a true Japanese garden

Kenroku-en is an authentic Japanese garden established already in the XVIIth century in Kanazawa, Japan. It is one of the three oldest gardens in Japan. Its name translated into English means the Six Attributes Garden. Those six attributes of a perfect landscape are spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, waterways, and panoramas. All of them are true for this place.

We arrived there on a hot and sunny Saturday morning exact at the opening hour. We wanted to take some photos in the morning light still before the garden crowds up. Indeed around noon, it filled in with visitors, who in the vast majority were Japanese.



My only notion of a Japanese style of a garden was that it is full of trees not allowed to grow high and cut bonsai like. Later on, during our stay in Japan, we visited at least three other bigger gardens and also saw some small gardens surrounding tiny Japanese houses. Those small gardens were indeed full of bonsai cut trees. Being not a specialist in gardening, I can only imagine that the trees are cut so just to fit into a small space.



The Kenroku-en is big and spacious. Trees are cut, but it is more to give them a shape and remove dry branches. For sure, it is not to keep them small. Old pines are supported by huge wooden poles (compare pictures). A technique we already saw in Japan many times. Many other trees in Kenroku-en seemed to be, however, left to grow naturally.



But cutting was not the only thing that was artificial about this place. The grounds were covered with moss, hundreds of square meters of moss with no blade of grass. As at some other sites, we already saw people kneeling on the moss and taking single blades of grass out the moss field, so we did not wonder about this. But keeping in mind that in Europe we do this the other way round cutting out moss out of grass … the fields of moss looked very impressive to us.

There were at least three lakes in the garden and many waterways crossing it about, filled with smaller and bigger stones. Of flowers interesting to me were irises, fields of irises, which seemed to grow directly in water.


Bushes with colorful leaves and blossom provided the landscape for other colors, mainly pink or red. All walkways were plastered with small stones and sometimes fenced with bamboo poles.








For a longer comment on the Japanese gardens we saw in Japan and a photo gallery, please visit  >>>

Kenroku-en, a true Japanese garden