Nic Freeman

Sharing the wonders of travel & everyday adventures

Kenroku-en Garden Kanazawa: A photowalk

The garden was silent. The ground was blanketed with snow. The glimmering park was mirrored in the surface of the pond.

Delicate pink buds peeked from icy cocoons. Some brave plum blossoms became early bursts of colour in the winter white.

Footsteps were erased with mere moments of snow fall, as if the crowds had not come and gone with the sun.

And overlooking it all, ancient pines rose to the heavens, still like stone, bound in conical towers; wise with centuries of mediation in their Edo wonderland.



The tranquil and measured perfection of Kenroku-en left me stunned. As I stood in awe of each balanced branch and mossy root, I felt as if time had frozen and all hints of chaos had slipped from my mind.

I was lucky to arrive as the snow fall quickened, sending the mob of tourists towards shelter and leaving me to roam the gardens in icy peace.

I’d heard of the beauty in these gardens, of its famous yukitsuri method of roping pine branches in winter, and sheer visual perfection that had earnt it a reliable reputation as one of the greatest Edo gardens in Japan. Seeing it though, surpassed all my hopes.

Established in 1676 and expanded for a couple centuries to follow, this land had seen things, and I felt satisfyingly small in the shadow of time. This was certainly one of my favourite experiences in Japan.



  • Arrive early to avoid the crowds. This is one place you should be still and silent. From October to February the garden is open 8am to 5pm, and the rest of the year it is open 7am to 6pm.
  • The ticket is worth it. 310 Yen is value just for the meditative effect, let alone watching the gardeners meticulously tend the grounds.
  • Wander through the neighbouring Kanazawa Castle Park for free, which is also pretty in a blanket of snow (but nothing compared to Kenroku-en).

7 comments on “Kenroku-en Garden Kanazawa: A photowalk

  1. Lela Bonchjela
    April 7, 2016

    You’re back!

    • Nic Freeman
      April 9, 2016

      Hey Lela, finally carved out some time to write again. Have lots of travel tales to share!

      • Lela Bonchjela
        April 30, 2016

        I’ve been on a break for some time. Maybe one day, I’ll resume 😉

  2. Rustic Recluse
    April 7, 2016

    Looks beautiful! I like how your photos seem to tease a journey – be it in the background or some hints of a walkway behind. I love these!

    • Nic Freeman
      April 9, 2016

      Thanks RR. It was such a delight to wander the white garden paths and take photos. I didn’t even mind that my fingers were numb.

  3. lexklein
    April 25, 2016

    Your ticket was worth it for me, too! I felt my breathing slow just looking at your photos. My sister and I had a snowy morning alone in a park in St Petersburg one winter, so I know what you mean about the good luck of the weather driving others out.

  4. sunnydaysinseattle
    February 4, 2017

    Beautiful plum blossom in the snow! Great photos.

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This entry was posted on April 7, 2016 by in Japan, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , .


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