Although its existence remains unknown to many, in addition to the famous Kenrokuen Garden, there is one more garden that is worth your time in Kanazawa. Directly next to the Kaga-Yūzen Kimono Center, the Gyokusen-en (西田家庭園「玉泉園」) is a garden that is 120 years older than Kenrokuen, opposite the Hyakumangoku-dori avenue. Not known by many tourists, the hidden gem was originally built by the Wakita Clan (脇田家) over 100 years across four generations. Having a really close relationship with the lord of Kaga (Kanazawa), the Maeda Clan, the water flowing in Gyokusen-en’s ponds is actually sourced from the Kasumiga Pond (霞ヶ池) in Kenrokuen Garden!
After the Wakita clan moved away from Kanazawa in 1878, the residence and the garden were taken over by Nishida Family in 1905.
It was only opened to the public in 1971.
Kanazawa’s Oldest Tea House – Saisetsutei (灑雪亭)
The garden is decorated with hundreds of various flowers and trees and stone lanterns over 400 years old! Situating on a small hill, the garden’s highest point sits Kanazawa’s oldest tea house, Saisetsutei (灑雪亭).
The tea house was built under the guidance of the Urasenke Tea School’s founder – Sensōsōshitsu (千仙叟宗室 ). At the same time, it is the ideal place for you to have a peek at the art of the Japanese tea ceremony. The four professional tea masters at the tea room will give you a brief introduction to what the Japanese tea ceremony is really about and how both the host and the guests practice the concept of Zen Buddhism.
Depending on which experience you choose to participate in, you will either be just enjoying the tea made by the masters or, on top of that, making your first bowl of matcha green tea with instructions from the masters!
And don’t worry if you can’t speak Japanese. They can communicate in English and will try their best to ensure you fully understand the concept they are explaining (^_-)-☆.
Tea Ceremony Experience at Saisetsutei
- Tea ceremony experience (お点前付茶道体験), 3,000 yen: you will be watching how a bowl of matcha green tea is made on a formal occasion. After you finish the tea made for you, it will be your turn to make yourself another bowl of tea. A Japanese confectionery will be served before you drink the tea each time as well.
- A reservation of 3 days in advance is required for this experience.
- Matcha green tea tasting (お抹茶体験), 1,500 yen: for those who aren’t interested in how the tea is made but just want to enjoy the tea and the sweets, this option is for you. Having a bowl of matcha in your hands while overlooking the Gyokusen-en Garden is another great way to enjoy the enchanting garden.
Note the prices for the experiences include the garden’s admission fee.
Kanazawa Gyokusentei (かなざわ玉泉邸)
The residence the Wakita Family used to live in is now a premium Japanese restaurant serving Kaiseki Ryōri (course menu). It is a place where visitors can enjoy a high level of hospitality, similar to the level of service of a ryokan. But one thing to note is we haven’t been able to confirm if they can cater to a vegetarian diet. So if you are interested, remember to check with them when you book!
Refer to their website for more details HERE.
Gyokusen-en Nishida Family Garden’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information
- The garden is open from 10 am to 4 pm except for Wednesdays. If Wednesday is a public holiday, it will close on the next business day.
- The admission fee is
- 700 yen for adults
- 600 yen for senior high school students
- 500 yen for elementary and junior high school students
- It is just a one-minute walk from Kaga-Yūzen Kimono Center or a 5-minute walk from Kenrokuen Garden
- From Kanazawa Station, apart from the Kanazawa Loop Bus, you can also take regular bus routes 11 to 16 and 90 to 95. With any of these routes, get off at Kenrokuen-shita (兼六園下).
For more information about bus services in Kanazawa, please refer to the Transportation Options in Kanazawa City Center section in our article on Kanazawa.
Discover Other Fascinating Attractions in Kanazawa City
Apart from Gyokusen-en Nishida Family Garden, Kanazawa has many other great attractions you won’t want to miss out on, such as the famous Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa Castle.
Refer to our Kanazawa article for more awesome attractions, including where to meet the Geishas and an amazing art museum!