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The historical city of Kanazawa makes for a fascinating visit. Having managed to escape the destruction of World War II, the city has retained many of its original structures, including the old samurai residences of Nagamachi and the quaint teahouses of the Higashi Chaya geisha district.
However, the main draw for a visit to Kanazawa is Kenrokuen, Japan’s best and most celebrated landscape garden. The gardens were once part of the grounds of Kanazawa Castle and were originally constructed by the ruling family over 200 years ago.
The name Kenrokuen means “the garden of the six sublimities,” which refer to seclusion, space, antiquity, artificiality, water and views – the six qualities needed to create the perfect garden. Landscaping is an art and philosophy in Japan, and an exploration of Kenrokuen will help you understand the theories and level of detail which go into planning such an intricate and imitate public space.
If you can tear yourself away from the elegant and serene gardens for long enough, other attractions in Kanazawa worth a visit include the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Ninjadera Temple with its secret doors and traps, as well as the aforementioned samurai and geisha districts.
Lose yourself in medieval Japan in the beautifully preserved city of Kanazawa and marvel at the most beautiful landscape gardens in the country.
Kenrokuen is meticulously planned to be beautiful in any season, with plum blossoms in February, cherry blossoms in March and April, colourful blooms in the summer, red-orange maple leaves in the autumn and a blanket of snow on the evergreen pines in the winter, when conical yukitsuri ropes are attached to the trees to help support the weight of the snow.
A two-night stay in Kanazawa is featured on our Highlights of Japan Tour. The itinerary includes a Japanese cooking experience, where you can learn to make maki sushi, Japanese omelette and the Kanazawa’s jibuni, at a traditional machiya townhouse.