Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, Koraku-en in Okayama and Kairaku-en in Mito are the Three Great Gardens of Japan (nihon tien). These are the three most famous gardens in Japan. The gardens symbolize the setsugekka which means snow, moon and flowers. These gardens are traditional gardens built for the purpose of expressing and symbolizing native rituals and beliefs and moulding8 landscapes to an idealized form. The gardens were created for the relaxation and recreation of the upper class. Nowadays due to the modernization the concept of the gardens has changed and it is appreciated as an art by all people. The basic idea of the gardens have its roots in China as the concept was established by missionaries from Asian mainland. It was after that the Japanese Imperial court modified the ideas to suit their own style. Emperors and nobles were the first to establish Japanese gardens.
Kenroku-en is Japan located in Kanazawa in the Ishiwaka prefecture. Maeda Tsunanori in the year 1676 began the work of its construction and it was developed over a period of two centuries. The garden is well known for its mixture of conflicting elements of spaciousness and seclusion. The garden is constructed on the basis of the theme unbroken space, so that it allows a person to see a good portion of the garden from anywhere on the grounds. The person who enjoys solitude can also find many nooks in the garden. Kaiseki pagoda is one of the popular attraction on the island in the centre of Hisago-ike pond. Kanazawa catle park has got free admission for the people but Kenroku-en garden charges three hundred yen for three adults which is equivalent to three US dollars. One can reach the garden in ten mins from the Kanazawa station by taxi.
Kairaku-en is located in Mito in the Ibaraki prefecture. The lord of Mito clan Tokugawa Nariaki ruled the region at that time and constructed the park in 1842. He constructed this garden with the thought of sharing its flowers with the royals. Tokugawa Leyasu, a descendent of the Shogun made this garden public in 1841. The best time to visit Kairaku-en is during plum blossom season as it is renowned for its plum trees. During this time one can see over hundred varieties of plum trees each with its own different shade of red, pink and white. The park also has the reputed Kobuntei, a place where all the intellectuals were entertained from all over the country. This garden has free admission but to enter Kobuntei one has to pay hundred and ninety yen which is equivalent to two US dollars. The garden can be reached in twenty mins by bus from Mito station.
Koraku-en the last one of the three great gardens of Japan is located in Okayama in Okayama prefecture. The feudal lord of Okayama Ikeda Tsunamasa constructed this garden in 1700. This was built as a place for entertaining significant guests and also as a retreat for feudal lords. The place is known for its colours all year round. One can see plum and cherry blossoming in spring, in summer irises and lotuses, in fall maple trees fiery red leaves and place of white in winter. They charge four hundred yen for adults which is equivalent to 4 US dollars and hundred and forty yen for children which is about 1.40 US dollars. The garden can be reached in ten minutes by taxi from JR Okayama station.