A garden that has continued to evolve over the generations
The origin of the garden was a teahouse that was established in 1636 by the first feudal lord of the Higo domain, Tadatoshi Hosokawa. Afterwards, the third lord, Tsunatoshi Hosokawa, built a spectacular Momoyama-style strolling pond garden, but due to the political reforms in the 1740s, all of the buildings were removed save one, the Suigetsu-tei, leaving only a simple environment of trees such as pines. However in 1877, the area was burned down due to battles near Kumamoto Castle, so former retainers who were still greatly loyal to their lord and wanted to rebuild the town of Kumamoto gathered supporters and built Izumi Shrine within the grounds of Suizenji Joju-en which had a deep connection to the Hosokawa clan. Most of it was again burned down during the Second World War, but restoration of the garden was completed in 1973 and has retained its current condition.
A strolling pond garden using a plentiful spring
Suizen-ji Joju-en which expressed the scenic route of the 53 Stations of the Tokaido from the Edo of the Edo Era to Kyoto has a Momoyama-style strolling pond garden which makes it one of Japan’s Three Great Gardens. There is a walking trail that leisurely goes around the 10000㎡ pond which is fed by a spring from Mt. Aso, and the garden has received national recognition as a cultural property and as a historic site of scenic beauty. The spring within the garden has also been selected as one of the Top 100 Sources of Water, and the holy water in front of the shrine is known to grant long life. The place within the garden that has the most beautiful view is a thatched-roof building, known as the Kokin-Denju-no-Ma, which was transferred from the Kyoto Imperial Palace, and has been designated as an Important Cultural Property. Currently used as a teahouse, you can enjoy the view of the lovely garden in harmony with mountain and water as you relax on the zashiki. The temperature of the spring water is kept at 18 degrees Celsius, so the difference between the water temperature in winter and the air temperature brings about a good amount of steam, with the mist creating a mysterious atmosphere. You will want to enjoy that leisurely stroll as you lose track of time while viewing the beautiful spring pond and the greenery.