The Six Element Story

Abundant water / Broad views

Detail[ Tatsumi Water Channel and Kenrokuen ]

It is the water from Tatsumi Water Channel that produces Kenrokuen's characteristic "beautiful water". The water channel was constructed before Kenrokuen was landscaped; the third lord Toshitsune had it built as a fire precaution the year after the great fire of 1631.

Water flows downhill past Kenrokuen, is drawn up according to the principle of the reverse siphon, and then flows to the castle. * ( ) indicates elevation.

Tatsumi Water Channel intakes water from the upper reaches of the Saigawa River, at a location 10 kilometers from Kanazawa Castle. After the water flows downhill, it is drawn up according to the inverted siphon principle. One third of the channel is underground, and because the average gradient is very low, the channel must have been difficult to construct. Despite this, it was completed in only one year. At the time of construction, wooden pipes were used, but they were replaced by stone pipes at the end of the Edo period.

Now, partway along the Tatsumi Water Channel there is a special underground pipe for Kenrokuen, from which water is drawn for the garden.

Stone pipe used for the Tatsumi Water Channel

Water flows into Kenrokuen from the base of Yamazaki Hill.

Tatsumi Water Channel picture scroll The 20th century (Collection of Kanazawa Tamagawa Library)