Monday, June 17, 2013

Chasing Sakura - Japan (7) - Kanazawa: Kenrokuen (兼六園)

Kenrokuen (兼六園) is known as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan with Kenrokuen rated as #1.  It's famous for its beauty in all seasons and a place I cannot miss, especially when the sakura are in full bloom.  I went to the garden despite of a heavy spring storm that day.  (My friends went to make "wagashi" - Japanese confectionery - instead.)  It was cold and rainy at the garden but the flowers were spectacular.


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Did you know you can borrow rain boots (and snow boots in the winter) at the tourist information center at the JR station?  The service is free.  The representative write down when you borrow and when you will return the boots.  (I can't remember but I think they check your passport.)  My hostel went the extra mile and helped return the boots!!!

Thus, when my umbrella broke (just as I was walking on the ramp towards Kenrokuen), I unabashedly asked the tourist center at the Kanazawa Castle if I could borrow an umbrella.  Luckily, the nice folks at the Kanazawa Castle got a spare umbrella to lend me!  They didn't even ask me when I will return the umbrella!  (Again, my amazing hostel helped me return the umbrella.)


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the poor umbrella

Now that I have a new umbrella, I marched on to Kenrokuen.  (I wanted to see the Kanazawa Castle too but Kenrokuen was my priority.)  In celebration of the hanami season, Kenrokuen offered free admission to the garden.


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Since it was cold and rainy, I walk as fast as I could while taking picture of everything I saw.  Although I didn't have the leisure to stroll and enjoy the garden to its fullest, I am happy with what I saw.  May the sunshine be with me at my next visit.


This is the route I end up doing.
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Kotoji Stone Lantern

"This stone lantern is emblematic of Kenrokuen. It is located on the north side of Kasumiga-ike Pond. This lantern has two legs, which is said to resemble Kotoji, the bridge on a koto. It is a modified version of the Yukimi Lantern, which lights up the surface of the water. It is 2.67 meters high. The scene that includes this lantern, the surrounding old trees with their colorful autumn foliage and Niji Bridge is the most impressive in Kenrokuen."
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Kotoji Stone Lantern (close up)
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Panoramic View Point
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Hanami-Bashi, Flower Viewing Brdige

"This bridge has Giboshi ornaments on the handrails. The name comes from the excellent view of flowers enjoyed from the bridge. Cherry, iris and azalea flowers in season blossoming along the streams attract many visitors. Green leaves in summer and colorful leaves in autumn as well as the view in winter mustn’t be missed."
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Kasumiga-ike Pond

"The pond is located almost in the center of Kenroku-en, and is the biggest pond in the garden. It is 5,800 square meters in area is 1.5m deep at the deepest point. The pond has sites of beautiful scenery arranged around it such as Sazae-yama hill, Uchihashi-tei tea house, Kotoji lantern, Niji-bashi bridge, Karasaki pine tree and Horai island. People can enjoy different landscapes in each season while strolling around the pond."
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Here's a series of sakura pictures I took at the garden.  No wonder there are so many weather reports out there for full bloom predictions.  Full bloom sakura are indeed the best!  I considered this Japan trip a success since the main purpose is to see sakura :)

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I was pretty much freezing by this time.  Yet, I succumbed to the lure of sakura ice-cream.  Unlike your typical ice-cream, this is actually salty.  Since I don't like sweet desserts (WEIRD), this is right up my alley.

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