Senganen Garden Travel Guide

Senganen Garden
A wonderful example of a Japanese-style landscape garden, stroll around and soak in the stunning views of Kagoshima’s Senganen Garden, best enjoyed with local sweet potato ice cream after a lunch of Kagoshima black pork.

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Covering 50,000 square meters, Senganen Garden and its immaculate grounds were built in 1658 by Kagoshima’s wealthy and powerful Shimazu Clan. A brilliant example of Japanese landscape gardens, Senganen overlooks the north coast of Downtown Kagoshima and famously uses Sakurajima and Kagoshima Bay as “borrowed scenery.” This is a concept used in Japanese garden design which incorporates the background landscape into the garden itself. It’s also known as “Isoteien,” as the garden centers around the regal Iso Residence, offering a glimpse into the life of a feudal lord, preserved in the 1880s reconstruction. Symbols for early Meiji Period industrialization and modernization, Senganen and its Shoko Shuseikan Museum are now recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Take a leisurely stroll at Senganen and feel like a feudal lord in one of the villas, or try your hand at the local martial art of Jigen-ryu (“striking with sticks”). Immersed in bamboo, camellias, and plum trees, Senganen’s bridges, tranquil shrines, ponds, and characteristic Kagoshima sago palms offer diverse scenery in every season. Soak in the stunning views of volcanic Sakurajima across Kagoshima Bay with a delicious local sweet potato ice cream or matcha sweets in hand, or enjoy local delicacies at one of Senganen’s two on-site restaurants, featuring dishes made with Kagoshima’s local black pork, kurobuta.
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