Stately home and gardens of the Shimadzu family
Sengan-en is a traditional garden and stately home built by the 19th head of the Shimadzu family, Mitsuhisa, in 1658. Sengan-en uses the principle of “borrowed scenery”, and incorporates the background elements of active volcano Sakurajima and Kinko Bay as part of the gardens. The gardens cover over 12 acres and include trees hundreds of years old, calming ponds, gently bubbling streams, mysterious shrines, a bamboo grove, and a mountain hiking trail. Sengan-en also incorporates many influences from Chinese culture due to trade with China and Southeast Asia throughout the Edo period (1603-1868), showing the truly international nature of the Shimadzu clan. Cultural events relating to the 800 year history of the Shimadzu family are held in the gardens all year round. Sengan-en also has restaurants with expert chefs preparing the finest Kagoshima cuisine, made with locally sourced ingredients, and shops selling local craft products such as Satsuma Kiriko crystal glass. Sengan-en is Kagoshima’s best known destination, and is much loved by both locals and visitors alike.