The Three Great Gardens of Japan (, 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.
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.
"garden which combines six characteristics" – the six aspects considered important in the notion of an ideal garden: spaciousness, serenity, venerability, scenic views, subtle design, and coolness.
"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.
"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.