A grand view of Kagoshima and a garden to enjoy historical culture
In 1658, a villa was established by the Shimazu clan who ruled over the Satsuma domain. Boasting a huge area of 50,000㎡, it incorporated the famous areas of Kagoshima, Kinko Bay and the volcanic Sakurajima, into the background so that the enjoyment of this sublime scenery in harmony with Mother Nature was the villa’s prime attraction, and it was designated as a National Place of Scenic Beauty. There are many strangely-shaped rocks within the garden, and it is because they resembled the mountain rocks (sengan) of China’s Mt. Longhu that the garden was given its name. The garden is said to be deeply imbued with Chinese culture that is reminiscent of Satsuma, known as the southern entrance to Japan, and the flora is quite unusual reflecting its location on the boundary of the temperate and subtropical zones. From the Edo Era to the contemporary age, it has served as a guest house for VIPs for the Satsuma domain and Kagoshima Prefecture, and numerous important people have visited from Japan and overseas. The inside of the garden and the adjacent area became Japan’s first industrial area and the site of the former Shuseikan, and it was also known as the source of modern Japan’s technological and industrial might. In the guided tour that explains the historic sites within the garden and the history of the Shimazu clan, there are staff who can speak Chinese and English. Also, the admission into the garden includes a tour of Shoko Shuseikan Museum which introduces the history of the Shimazu clan and the business of the Western-style industrial complex. Models of air furnaces and Ryukyuan ships based on photographs, blueprints and excavations, and a display area showing the atmosphere of those days of construction are highlights.
The beautiful Satsuma Kiriko cut glass that resemble jewels At the Iso Craft Hall in the garden which uses a retro Western-style building that has been designated as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property, Satsuma Kiriko cut glass, a traditional Kagoshima glass handicraft, is displayed and sold, and at the adjacent Satsuma Kiriko factory, you can also get a look at the production. The intricate glass-cutting techniques that evoke the essence of Japanese beauty and the lovely gradations are wonderful.