Six Attributes Garden – Kenrokuen Garden (兼六園) in Japan

As part of our trip to Shirakawa-go, we passed through Kanazawa city and dropped by the Castle and the beautiful Six Attributes Garden, Kenroku-en. It was Autumn and the leaves have changed their colors.

Kenroku-en (兼六園, Six Attributes Garden), located in Kanazawa, Japan, is an old private garden. Along with Kairaku-en in Mito, Ibaragi and Koraku-en in Okayama , Kenroku-en is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.

Kenroku-en was developed from the 1620s to the 1840s by the Maeda clan. The garden is located outside the gates of Kanazawa Castle where it originally formed the outer garden, and covers 114,436 m² (over 25 acres). It began in 1676, the garden was, however, destroyed by fire in 1759.  Restoration begun in 1774, improvements continued in 1822, adding more streams and ponds. The garden was opened to the public on May 7, 1874.

We first passed by the Kotoji Lantern. Kotoji Lantern has two legs, which resembles the Kotoji bridge  in Koto. The lantern is for lighting up the  surface of the pond at night. The sun was setting and this photo taken against the light and  including this lantern, the surrounding old  trees with their colorful autumn foliage was the most  impressive in Kenrokuen.

There are four tea houses in Kenrokuen. We strolled around the Kasumiga-ike Pond and were impressed by the Uchihashi-tei Tea House which is supported on stone piers but looked as if it was floating out of the pond.

The garden’s name was derived from the “Chronicles of the Famous Luoyang Gardens” (洛陽名園記), an ancient book by the Chinese poet Li Gefei (李格非), and stands for the six attributes of a perfect landscape. Kenrokuen is worth visiting because the garden has balanced all six scenic attributes.

According to the chronicles:



出自中國 詩人李格非 的《洛陽名園記》




The attributes are grouped into three complementary pairs: Spaciousness & Seclusion;  Artifice & Antiquity;  Water-courses & Panoramas. As the specialists say “it is difficult enough to find a garden that is blessed with any three or four of these desirable attributes, let alone five, or even more rarely, all six”.  A delicate balance between all the pairs, for instance, between “spaciousness” and “seclusion” is required.

Kenrokuen is a monument to art, engineering, and nature.  The garden combines winding paths, meandering streams, landscaped mounds,  placid ponds,  stones, plants, and structures to create a distinctive harmony.  Every  step and turn in the garden brings a new view to stop and admire. We were particularly impressed with the tall old pine trees and the pruned round shrubs.

For centuries Japanese gardens were developed under the influence of the Chinese Gardens, but gradually Japanese garden designers began to evolve their own style, based on Japanese materials and Japanese culture.

We strolled by secluded areas with streams and finally reached the Miyoshian Restaurant on Hisago-ike Pond, which we at first couldn’t make out that it was in fact a restaurant.

Japanese gardens are places of tranquil beauty where man and nature come together as one,  places that ease the transition between the  outside and inside world. The aesthetic qualities are evident even to the most casual observer, but the gardens also provide spaces for reflection ……….. they are also for the minds . We certainly found peace and joy in this garden.

81 thoughts on “Six Attributes Garden – Kenrokuen Garden (兼六園) in Japan

  1. Thanks for posting this I really enjoy Japanese gardens. If you don’t mind I will Reblog so it can be shared with my bonsai fanatic friends.

    • Sure, please reblog on; I am pleased to share the post with anybody interested in the subject. Hope one day I would find interest in bonsai too!

    • We were there at the right season. The sun was setting when we were in the garden so we do not have sufficent light on some of the pictures.

  2. What a very beautiful garden. I liked the Japanese stone lanterns and the trees of autumn. You are right! It was indeed a garden of tranquility and beauty.

    • Thanks for liking my post! I am a fan of gardens and parks: Kew Garden, Kensington Graden, t James Park, Green Park etc in the UK, Central Park in New York, Chinese Gardens in Suzhou and HangZhou and even the Botanical Garden and Wetland Garden in Hong Kong.

    • I have been only to Singapore and I liked the Chinese and Japanese Garden there. I also like gardens a lot. Keep posting and we, your readers, will keep reading and dropping by your blog. 🙂

    • Think I might have been to the Garden of Abundance. The multi-arch bridge looks very much a bridge I saw in West Lake, China for which I have an image. I am a fan of different types of bridges too.

  3. Great Autumn Photos!

    Kenrokuen garden transforms into an entirely different place during Spring when Sakuras (cherry blossoms) are in full bloom. You should also try visiting Japan in Spring. 🙂

    • Have been in Japan quite a few times in early Spring but missed seeing the full blossoms of Sakura in all its beauty. Will try to time it in the next trip. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love your photos of the moon which I must say is the most difficult subject to photo.

    • I hope you see the sakuras when they’re in full bloom– in their prettiest state. We’ve been wanting to go back to Japan…may be sometime soon.

      Thanks for the likes on my blog too. I love the moon and had been blessed enough to see and take photos of it. I’ll never get tired of it. 🙂

      Enjoy your travels!

  4. Your photos are lovely. Thank you for sharing them. I felt like I took a little trip around the world while clicking through them this morning. (Thanks also for reading my blog post on Frank Lloyd Wright, I hope you enjoyed it.) Cheers, Rita

    • Hi Rita, Thanks for sharing the article on Frank Lloyd Wright as I am a fan of his architectural designs and concepts. Thank you also for stopping by my blog!

  5. Gorgeous photos. The colors and textures are making me swoon! This garden epitomizes the beauty of “old age.”

    • Hi Judith, I certainly agree with your comment that” this garden epitomizes the beauty and wisdom of old age”. Thanks very much for your inspiring comement and for liking the post. Regards, Michael

    • Some like visiting Japan in spring when cherry blossoms are blooming. I rather like autumn with the colored leaves. Thanks for commenting!

  6. What a lovely time of year to visit. I’ve been to the Okayama garden – I remember it as very deliberately designed and flatter than the Kanazawa garden. Thanks for sharing!

    • It is a joy yo visit those gardens. They are usually abstract and stylized for contemplation and meditation. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    • Hi Carol, hope you will be able to spend a bit more time in your next visit to Japan. There are so much to explore. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Regards, Michael

  7. What absolutely beautiful colors in your pictures! I love Autumn, and this reminds me of that season. The tranquility of the garden is clearly evident in your pictures.

    • Yes, it is a lovely garden especially in Autumn, a garden which helps to cleanse our minds. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! Regards, Michael

    • Hi Lynn, we count ourselves fortunate to be there in Autumn. We were just passing through . Only when I am back from Kenrokuen that I found out the six attributes. I should have better prepared and looked more carefully to see how each attribute is met and how they balance each other. Many thanks for stopping by and following it! Regards, Michael

    • Yeah autumn is the best time for Japan’s foliage no matter where you are. Well Kenrokuen is one of Japan’s top 3 classic gardens, so in theory one could spend a few days there just to absorb its beauty and attributes.

  8. Thank you for this lovely post. We were fortunate enough to visit Japan in spring and to enjoy sakura, the blossoming of the cherry trees. But we also visited gardens similar to this one, which were enchanting although they had no blooming trees. We were amazed by the unbelievable care with which the gardeners trimmed the trees. It is truly an art.

    • It is great to see Japanese gardens with the cherry blossoms. The Japanese have dedicated a lot of efforts in maintaining the garden and the trees. On the third photo, you can see a tree is supported by inclined posts. This is in preparation for supporting the trees to protect them from the heavy snow. You right quite right, they have developed it into an art. Regards, Michael

  9. I bet this post has made many people smile 🙂 and it certainly got you several highest ratings :). Michael, this is stunning. Houses on waters have been always a fascination for me… It would be a rare luck to live in a place like this!

    • Hi Paula, I think, like me, some readers are interested in finding out what are the six attributes of a good garden. The tea house and restaurant on water are beautiful. I have also come across houses (on stilts) in Malaysia and even in Tai O (“the Venice of Hong Kong”) where houses are built on stilts, they look really interesting. Thanks for the “Like” and the comment. Regards, Michael

  10. Pingback: One lovely blog award. | Life As Story

  11. I love your photos of Japan. I especially like Shirakawa-go, having visited it twice when I was there. And I was also in Kenrokkuen in autumn as well and I have photos similar to yours! Only yours are definitely much much better, capturing the beauty of fall foliage like that. Travel safe!

    • Hi, I always find touring in Japan interesting. Glad that you have been there and love the place / garden. Many thanks for the kind comment! Michael

  12. Thank you for visiting my blog. You have an interesting blog with beautiful pictures. I’ll take time to read but will begin with Japan first 🙂

    • I didn’t know much about the garden when I visited it. As someone who is familiar with Japan, you may have a better insight. Regards, Michael

    • Same here. I only knew that it’s one of the 3 best gardens in Japan. We are both learning through our travel experience.

  13. Pingback: Snow World of Kenrokuen | Blah Blah Bragship

    • The more you look at travel pictures, the more you like to travel. I think this is the same with shopping, the more you window shop, the more shopping you do 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.