2 – Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa, Japan
Extending over 25 acres, and once the outer garden of the Kanazawa Castle, Kenrokuen is considered amongst one of the three greatest gardens of Japan.
The garden is deeply rooted in history and mythology and has taken its name from a Chinese poem.
It means garden of six elements: extensive space, quiet seclusion, human artistry, old fashioned elegance, flowing water, and distant views.
And surely enough, the garden encompasses all six traits in some capacity. From its sprawling landscape and ancient trees to the narrow pathways that lead to quiet nooks and silent ponds, to the oldest fountain in Japan and a war memorial erected in 1880 to commemorate the deaths of 400 soldiers who died protecting Kyushu.
Visitors can sit in the tea-houses and help themselves to Japanese sweets while they take in the views. The garden is filled with lush blossoms and pink cherry blossoms that bloom in spring, while cherry and maple trees decorate the fall season, and the falling snow brings its own charm in winters. It’s both a natural and cultural experience, both unique and meditative, and should not be missed.