Where a garden, volcano and ocean make one memorable experience.
Senganen Garden is a traditional Japanese garden located on the coast just north of Kagoshima city center. Recognized as a World Culture Heritage Site in 2015, it offers picturesque scenery and a glimpse into the history of the family who built it.
The garden was constructed in 1658 by the Shimazu family, who were one of the Edo period’s most powerful feudal families. The Iso Residence, which was once their main home, still stands in the centre of the garden. A 20-minute guided tour is available for a small fee, which includes a tea ceremony at the end.
The garden itself features a bamboo grove, bridges over ponds filled with koi fish, and intricately sculpted foliage. One of the more unique features is a small shrine dedicated to cats, where visitors can inscribe wishes for their feline friends on special wooden plaques.
There are also several restaurants on the grounds, a museum, and a gallery displaying Kagoshima’s traditional cut glass, Satsuma Kiriko. A selection of souvenir shops is available selling local crafts and produce such as pottery and shochu (traditional Japanese booze).
At the back of the garden, a hiking trail runs up into the forest. The simple route takes about 20 minutes and leads to two separate observation points which provide excellent views of Kagoshima Bay and the mighty Sakurajima, an active volcano.