Saturday, February 1, 2020

Sengan-en Gardens

Sengan-en was the summer estate and gardens of the Shimazu Clan who ruled over what is know called Kagoshima. It is located north of downtown Kagoshima and covers more than 12 acres.

It was built in the middle of the 17th Century and includes the main manor house and numerous other structures including a pavilion built by Ryukuan vassals. The large, park-like gardens were built in Chinese style and utilizes the "borrowed scenery" of the bay and the volcano Mount Sakurajima.

The Kyokusai garden features a meandering stream and this was the site of parties that involved poetry drinking games. A cup with sake would be placed at the top end of the stream and while it floated downstream a tanka poem need to be composed and read. Failure to do so meamnt the forfeit of having to drink the sake. Hardly an inducement for success I would have thought.

There are many other features including shrine, gates, lanterns etc, and here was where the Shimazu began their attempts to set up western industrial practices that are now World heritage Sites.


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