I did not finish writing about our Japan trip last year because by the time I got to this post, it was already the beginning of May. With spring in the air and tulips in full bloom, it simply felt out of context to recount snow flurries in this city of gold marsh.
We visited Kanazawa (金沢) during a three-hour layover on our way from Shirakawa-go to Kyoto.
Upon arrival we hired a taxi and went directly to Kenroku-en garden (兼六園). Kenroku-en is a strolling-style landscape garden with the characteristics of a typical landscape garden of the Edo-period (1603-1868). Originally the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, it was located on the slope facing the castle.
Now I am not usually a fan of quick tours or hurried visits. But given the weather condition and the alternative (killing time in a train station), it was just what we needed.
Kenroku-en is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan (日本三名園), along with Kairaku-en (偕楽園) of Mito and Koraku-en (後楽園) of Okayama. The garden was named after a garden combining the six attributes of a perfect landscape garden: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, watercourses and panoramas. The name derives from a gardening book written by Li Gefei, a famous Chinese poet.
The garden has the oldest fountain in Japan, powered by natural pressure.
and a large Kasumi pond in the center,
dotted with majestic Karasaki pines.
In winter, the Kenroku-en garden is famous for its yukizuri – a Japanese technique for preserving trees and shrubs from heavy snow.
The time we spent in Kanazawa, though brief, provided us with a sneak preview of the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture.
We wish to go back there one day to visit it proper, savor fresh seafood, sample high quality sake or simply enjoy a soft-serve ice cream cone covered with gold leaf.
Coming up next: Return to Kyoto.