Kanazawa Drift: Kenrokuen Garden

(revised October 21: see the new, “2.0” version of ‘Kanazawa Photo Drift’ at https://medium.com/the-big-sushi/kanazawa-photo-drift-e0c4af118c16#.rhkzl02l6)

Kenrokuen is, apparently, considered the best of “the three most beautiful landscape gardens” — or maybe it’s a stroll garden — in Japan. Heck, the wise crowd at Tripadvisor ranks it the #1 site in all of Kanazawa. Even the name taps into the rarefied aesthetic of a thousand-year tradition of gardening in Japan which started with ‘The Emperor Keiko [who] put a few carp into a pond, and rejoiced to see them morning and evening.’ “Kenrokuen” translates in English to “Garden of the Six Sublimities”, meaning the six essential attributes of an ideal Chinese garden: spaciousness, seclusion, artificiality, antiquity, abundant water, and broad views.

Huh. Maybe it’s ‘cause we arrived, like, a week too early for the sakura cherry blossoms to be in bloom. Or maybe it’s just that the essential attributes of a landscape/stroll garden, like any aesthetic experience, really, depends more on the state of mind of its recipient than is generally acknowledged by most everyone (except perhaps for a certain professor of English and Law who will go un-named… am I right, Professor Stanley Fish?) than we generally acknowledge. In any case, a stroll around Kenrokuen’s ponds, teahouses, and mossy forest struck us as a pleasant interlude in an early spring day of siteseeing, and that was enough. Besides, the cherry blossoms may not have been out yet, but their precocious, more flamboyant cousins the plum were in full bloom…

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