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Suizenji Jojuen Garden

A lovely example of a Japanese strolling garden, a genre popularized in the Edo period.

By Elizabeth Sok

The origin of Suizenji Jojuen Garden dates back to the 1630s when the first lord of the Kumamoto area, Hosokawa Tadatoshi, ordered the construction of a tea house and Suizenji Temple near his seat of power at Kumamoto Castle. Although the temple would be relocated elsewhere and Izumi Shrine later built to replace it, the tea house remained and became a fixture of the Japanese strolling garden that developed around it.

Suizenji Jojuen Garden is a lovely example of a Japanese strolling garden, a genre popularized in the Edo period (1603-1867) that featured hills, ponds and islands that are viewed from a variety of vantage points. The circular path recreates landmarks of the famous Tokaido Road that once connected Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Kyoto. Highlights include a bridge symbolizing Tokyo’s Nihonbashi, a pond standing in as Lake Biwa located in Shiga Prefecture and the large green hill representing Mount Fuji.

Izumi Shrine

Suizenji Jojuen Garden

Photo by: PIXTA/ KOROKICHIKUN Constructed in honor of the Hosokawa family

While the temple no longer exists, the spiritual side of the garden is reflected in Izumi Shrine. Built in 1878 in the aftermath of the bloody Satsuma Rebellion, this shrine was constructed in honor of the Hosokawa family who were seen as the guardians of peace for centuries in the lead-up to the conflict. Notable sights include a stone basin whose waters come from the springs flowing underneath nearby Mount Aso and a pine tree that grew from a bonsai planted by Hosokawa. Fans of Japanese modern fiction writer Natsume Soseki should check out one of his haiku etched in stone near the shrine.

As you continue your stroll around the garden, make sure to stop at Kokindenju no Ma, a teahouse constructed during the reign of Tadatoshi and meant to serve as a place of rest and relaxation. While here, enjoy a cup of green tea and Japanese sweets as you look out onto the garden.

Seasonal Events

Suizenji Jojuen Garden

Photo by: PIXTA/ KOROKICHIKUN There’s always something new to see with each passing season

The garden features a number of flowers that bloom at different points during the year, including cherry blossoms (late March-April) and the Six Traditional Flowers of Higo (present-day Kumamoto Prefecture): camellia (February-April); peony (early May); irises (early June); morning glory (July-September); sasanqua (November-December); and chrysanthemum (late November).

Izumi Shrine also hosts several annual events, such as the Spring and Autumn Festivals held April 22-24 and October 18-20, respectively, where visitors can watch horseback archery and enjoy traditional arts and tea.

Things To Know


The garden is open daily from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission for adults and high school students is ¥400 and for junior high school and elementary school students it’s ¥200.

How To Get There


By train

Take the JR Higo Line and get off at Shin-Suizenji station. The park is a ten-minute walk.

Where To Stay

Matsuya Honkan
  • 23-1 Suizenjikoen, Kumamoto-shi Chuo-ku, Kumamoto, 862-0956 Japan
  • ¥24,200 - ¥150,040
  • 4.78/5 (208 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Matsuya Bekkan
  • 5-5-1 Suizenji, Kumamoto-shi Chuo-ku, Kumamoto, 862-0950 Japan
  • ¥7,648 - ¥46,600
  • 0.2 km
Green Rich Hotel Suizenji
  • 1-8-5 Izumi, Kumamoto-shi Higashi-ku, Kumamoto, 862-0941 Japan
  • ¥5,830 - ¥24,970
  • 3.44/5 (1,964 reviews)
  • 0.4 km
Suizenji Comfort Hotel
  • 1-1-1 Izumi, Kumamoto-shi Higashi-ku, Kumamoto, 862-0941 Japan
  • ¥5,760 - ¥29,040
  • 3.39/5 (1,880 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
Kenchomae Green Hotel
  • 1-24-3 Kuwamizu, Kumamoto-shi Chuo-ku, Kumamoto, 862-0954 Japan
  • ¥5,790 - ¥10,340
  • 3.58/5 (1,489 reviews)
  • 0.8 km

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