Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tamazato Gardens

The Tamazato garden and tea house is about 4 kilometers from the Kagoshima Chuu-ou train station, heading northwest along the Kotsuki river towards the expressway. There's a sign on the main street pointing to the right, 800 meters, past the Girl's High School.

From the sign:
"Tea House set in landscaped gardens
Tamazato gardens and tea house
...Gardens of Tamazato Residence loved by Narioki and Hisamitsu...

Naroiki, the 27th lord of the Shimadzu family, built the villa called "Tamazato Residence" here (current site for Kagoshima Girl's High School) in 1835. Although the vast, original villa was 200 meters wide and 147 meters deep, most of the structure was burnt down during two seperate upheavals: the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877 and in 1945 during World War II. Currently, only the gardens, a tea house and Nagayamon gate remain.

The gardens are composed of two types; upper and lower. The upper garden has an ornamental pond that can be viewed from a residence shoin room. The lower garden is circuit style allowing people to enjoy the view from any point around the garden.

The tea house, rebuilt by Hisamitsu in 1879, is a simple building that consists of a 6-tatami guest room, a 6-tatami adjacent room, a 6-tatami antechamber and a veranda. This tea house perfectly matches a circuit style lower garden.

The black gate was hastily constructed in 1887 to send of the coffin of Hisamitsu during his state funeral. The 700-meter road extending straight from the black gate to national route 3 was laid for the purpose of carrying the body of Hisamitsu to the former Fukushoji Temple. It is known as the "state funeral road". The Tamazato gardens were designated as a national scenic beauty site in July, 2007."

Note that the map in the lower left corner shows the grounds plan for the estate back in Showa era year 11 (1936). All that remains now is the pond and the small building near the toilets at the left side of the wall.

(The Black Gate.)

(The back of the information kiosk at the entrance. Note the rain chain hanging from the eaves.)

The walking path through the "circuit garden".

The tea house is boarded up right now. A sign at the other end indicates that it's under repairs. Given that I was the only visitor there on a Sunday during the Winter, I assume that it was also closed until the weather warms up in the Spring.

"The Chiristian [sic] Lantern
The garden of Tamazato Residence was made at the end of Edo Era. It consists of the Shoin-Tei (the inner garden) and the Kaiyushiki Teien (the back garden) in front of the Chasitsu (a tea ceremony room) maintains both dignity and simplicity. Big rocks, stone bridges and sidewalks are set well around the pond as a center. And also nine lanterns are in the back garden. They are well arranged and shaped.

Especially one of the lanterns is a remarkable one called 'Christian Lantern'. It is said that Katsuhime, the 27th Lord Narioki's (1809-1851) daughter, secretly worshipped this lantern. Not only the shape but also the design are unique and uncommon. It isn't only clear whether the lantern was here or not from the beginning."

This little guy was on the top of the stone wall pictured one photo up. He was drinking water out of an indent in the wall.

At the top of a rise near the entrance to the park, there's a little rest area which offers a nice view of the garden. Along the wall of the rest area, this bird was attempting to eat a berry, but gave up and flew away as I was trying to get a better photo.

(View of the garden from the rise.)

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