Three Great Gardens of Japan

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The oldest water fountain in Japan continues functioning at Kenroku-en in Kanazawa. Kenroku-en, The first fountain in Japan.jpg
The oldest water fountain in Japan continues functioning at Kenroku-en in Kanazawa.

The Three Great Gardens of Japan (日本三名園, Nihon Sanmeien), also known as "the three most famous gardens in Japan" are considered to include Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, Koraku-en in Okayama and Kairaku-en in Mito. [1]


The conception of gardens in a group of three is found elsewhere, for example, in the three gardens of Emperor Go-Mizunoo, who abdicated in 1629. At Shugakuin Imperial Villa, Go-Mizunoo maintained landscaped areas at separate elevations on the northeastern outskirts of Kyoto. [2]

Kenroku-en (Kanazawa)

"garden which combines six characteristics" [3] the six aspects considered important in the notion of an ideal garden: spaciousness, serenity, venerability, scenic views, subtle design, and coolness. [4]

Koraku-en (Okayama)

"garden of pleasure after", which is a reference to a saying attributed to Confucius—explaining that a wise ruler must attend to his subjects' needs first, and only then should he consider his own interests. [5]

Kairaku-en (Mito)

"a garden to enjoy with people." Nariaki Tokugawa, who completed the garden, opened this private garden to the general populace. This was a novel concept which eventually led to the development of public parks. [6]

See also


  1. Lewis, Caroline. "Kenrokuen Garden Kanazawa,"; Koraku-en,; and
  2. Japan Society of London. (1989). Proceedings, Issues 112-120, p. 54.
  3. "Kenroku-en," Ishikawa Prefecture, 2003.
  4. Bornoff, Nicholas. (2008). National Geographic Traveler Japan, p. 150.
  5. "Koraku-en,"; "Kairaku-en," Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO).
  6. Kairaku-en garden,

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