Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa is considered one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan and is conveniently located next to Kanazawa Castle. While it is a great place to enjoy a Japanese garden, there certainly are limitations for those with wheelchairs or other mobility challenges.
Kenrokuen, “Six Attributes Garden”, is named after the six attributes of a perfect landscape: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, waterways, and panoramas. It is considered one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan along with Kairakuen in Mito and Korakuen in Okayama. The garden covers 25 acres and features the oldest fountain in Japan, which operates by natural water pressure.
Construction began on the garden in the late 1600s when the Daimyo of the Kaga domain moved his administration to Kanazawa Castle. Though it was destroyed by fire in 1759, restoration began soon after and continued until 1800s. The garden was opened to the public in 1874.
The variety of trees and flowers in the garden ensures that there is something to enjoy year-round. The garden can be accessed for a small fee and is open every day of the year from 7:00 to 18:00 (March – October 15)
and 8:00 to 17:00 (October 16 – February).
The garden can be accessed from stop number LL9/RL8 on the tourist-oriented Kanazawa Loop Bus. All buses on the Loop Bus are wheelchair accessible.
The garden entrance is up a somewhat steep slope from the bus stop. While it is possible to climb in a wheelchair, some people may need some extra help. Unfortunately it is a bit of foreshadowing as the garden itself has a number of slopes and gravel paths.
The city has created a suggested route for wheelchair users.
Wheelchair accessible toilets are available (blue wheelchair marks), as well as rental wheelchairs (red wheelchair marks).
A fair portion of the garden is still enjoyable and a number of small shops near Katsurazaka Gate have benches out front that can be a great place to view Kanazawa Castle.
The garden is quite beautiful but there certainly are limitations due to hills – particularly for those in manual wheelchairs or walkers. Since it is located next to Kanazawa Castle, though, it is definitely worth checking out both places at the same time.
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