Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lion Stone Lantern Senganen

This is the largest lantern in the garden. The capping stone has an area of approximately 1820 square feet or 169 square meters, on top of which sits and imaginary lion-like animal called “shishi.”

Tin-Roofed Gate Senganen

This gate was used as the main gate until the end of the 19th century. It is notable for its finely crafted roof, produced with coveted Kagoshima tin. In Japan, only high-ranking citizens were allowed to make vermillion-colored gates.

Scenic Spot Senganen

Senganen is representative of the Japanese daimyo garden built in 1658 by then lord Shimadzu Mitsuhisa. Though the lord mostly lived in the castle, he spent some of his time here to enjoy the view of the ocean spreading out in front of the garden and the magnificent view of Mount Sakurajima.

A small pond and hill (tsukiyama) are integral to Japanese daimyo gardens, however in Senganen, the ocean and the volcano represent these elements. In addition, Senganen is characterized by Chinese influence. In 1958, the national government designated this garden as an officially recognized “Scenic Spot.

Birthplace of Modern Satsuma Ware

Modern Satsuma ware, called “Satsuma” and highly valued as a treasure of the Orient by westerners, has its origins at Senganen.

The lord of the Satsuma clan in the closing days of the shogunate rule, Nariakira Shimadzu, built on this sport a factory complex called “Shuseikan” based on the current western production technology. A wide variety of industries including warship building flourished here.

One aspect of this advancement was the vigorous promotion of overseas trade, which led to the need for goods to export. Through improvement of traditional production techniques, modern Satsuma ware was developed to fill this need.

Nariakir, by building the Oniwa Kiln here, employing many potters and supporting extensive research, achieved the creation of a grand and dignified style of pottery used exclusively by the lord’s family.

“Satsuma” was at onetime the common-name for ceramics made anywhere in Japan for export during and since the Meiji Period.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Senganen - The birthplace of Modern Japan and Villa of the Shimadzu Clan

In the late 12th century, Minamoto-no-Yoritomo appointed Koremune Tadahisa as manor lord of the Shimadzu-no-sho and protector of the fiefs of Satsuma, Osumi and Hyuga. He took on the name of the demesne and became the first in the Shimadzu line. The Shimadzu was allowed to rule over Ryukyu (Okinawa) during the Edo ear and reigned over southern Kyushu as a non-hereditary daimyo (lord) of the Tokugawa Shogun.

Sengan-en is the official name for Iso Garden. Shimadzu Mitsuhisa made the O-iso Shimotsu Hamakado Residence of Kamat Izumo Masachka and built his residence there in 1658.

Their main residence was the Tsurumaru Castle constructed by the order of the 18th lord of the Shimadzu lehisa at the foot of Shiroyama. The residence in Sengan-en has been succeeded as a villa of the Shimadzu clan, for generations.

Sengan-en was designated as a National Cultural Asset in 1958.

Built in 1857 - fired 150 lb. canon balls and used in battle

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sakurajima - An Active Volcano

South of Kagoshima lies Sakurajima, an active volcano. The volcano used to be an island but annexed itself to Kyushu as a result of a lava flow. People do live in the shadow of this volcano and it has seen activity as recent as a few months ago. It is a sleeping giant.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tontoro Ramen Restaurant - Kagoshima

There is a street behind the main avenue in Kagoshima full of excellent ramen shops. The quality of the food is outstanding and quite affordable.

Hotel Remm

Tripadvisor Review of Tontoro Restaurant

Friday, November 15, 2013

Yakushima - Rest Area Redevoue

It rains 365 days a year on Yakushima

Spring blossums

Inside rest area

Sights of interest

Green area is UNESCO National Park

Rest area - meeting place

Deer are quite tame and friendly

Thursday, November 14, 2013

More Yakushima

Well maintained trails

A UNESCO National Park since 1980

You walk by trees felled from the medieval period

A tree at the rest area or what?

It's a phone booth!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stump of Momi - Yakushima

The stump is 455 years old. Many of the magnificent temples and shrines in Japan have used ceder trees from Yakushima from medieval times. It is forbidden to take anything from the nature park on Yakushima island. Even if a tree is felled naturally, it may not be removed without special permission. Walking in the forest, you can see where the craftsmen of old times were there cuts left off. Almost as if it was yesterday.