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Photos by Don Pylant

The 15 acre Suizen-ji Joju-en is located in downtown Kumamoto.  Todatoshi Hosokawa selected the site for the spring-fed pool that provided excellent tea water. He founded the temple named Suizen-ji here in 1632, and began construction on the gardens in 1636.  The temple was replaced by a tea house and the garden was named Joju-in. The Izumi Shinto Shrine was constructed in 1878, along with a Noh theater.  Suizen-ji became a public park in 1879.

Despite several Shoin-style vantage points, Suizen-ji is a pond and stroll garden depicting the 53 stations of Tokaido, the road that connected Kyoto (Japan’s historical capital) with Edo, the military capital of the time.  These views are similar to those offered by the modern gardens of Adachi Museum.  Main features in the lawn-covered hills include a depiction of Mount Fuji, along with beautifully maintained Black pines.  The center of the garden is dominated by the spring-fed lake resembling Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest body of fresh water.   Two of the three islands in the lake are connected by sawatobi ishi.   The Kokin Denju No Ma teahouse was relocated to the garden from Kyoto’s Imperial Palace in memory of Lord Yūsai Hosokawa (Fujitaka Hosokawa).

The Kumamoto En Sister City Garden in San Antonio, Texas was modeled somewhat after many features of this garden.

From Wikipedia:

    Suizen-ji Joju-en is a tsukiyama Japanese garden located within (Suizen-ji Park (Suizen-ji Koen) in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. The main tsukiyama is a representation of Mount Fuji. Lord Hosokawa Tadatoshi began construction of the garden in 1636 as a tea retreat. The park was named after a no-longer-extant Buddhist temple called Suizen-ji, and now hosts the Izumi Shrine, where members of the Hosokawa family are enshrined, and a N?gaku-d?, a Noh theater. Lord Hosokawa selected this site because of its spring-fed pond, which clean water was excellent for tea. The thatched Kokin-Denju-no-Ma teahouse was originally in Kyoto’s Imperial Palace, but was moved here in 1912.
  • The garden has been declared by the national government a historic site of scenic beauty.Suizenji Koen is an interesting and much visited venue, featuring miniature landscapes, a temple and small lakes containing large, hungry, and multi-coloured carp. It is a short tram ride from the city. Nearby, there are many omiyage and snack shops

From a travel guide resource online:

  • Suizenji Garden ( Suizenji Jojuen) is a spacious, Japanese style landscape garden in Kumamoto, best enjoyed by scrolling along a circular path. It was built by the Hosokawa family in the 17th century.The garden reproduces the 53 post stations of the Tokaido, the important road, which connected Edo with Kyoto during the Edo Period, in miniature form, including a small Mt. Fuji.