難波の南蛮、戎橋の夷。

Kumamoto Part 2- Real Estate

I dedicated my entire last post to the vast, sprawling grounds of Kumamoto Castle.  I mentioned that though it was established by the Kato family, it became the seat of the Hosokawas for the vast majority of the Edo period.  I also mentioned that a lot of historic structures have survived.  The daimyo and his kin lived in the castle palace, which was lost in the 19th century.  However, to the northwest of the castle was a separate residence for another branch of the family.  Now called Hosokawa Gyobu-Tei, it is a surviving example of the more simple, rambling, almost rustic Shoin Style of high architecture, inspired by that ancient hall at Yoshino.  Wow, everything just comes together, doesn’t it?

The outer estate wall is low and unassuming.

The outer estate wall is low and unassuming.


In the outer yards, the leaves were brilliant.

 

P1040594

Sunset to the west

The Kumamoto cityscape doesn’t extend very far beyond the castle.  Instead, it stretches south past the city center, as it slowly becomes more rural.

P1040632

When the Hosokawas ran the city, the south of downtown was all open fields.  In this neighborhood survives another of their properties, a tea villa and country retreat called Jojuen built as an annex to a temple called Suizenji.

P1040637

The garden is among Japan’s most famous.  With a much higher focus on countours, slopes, and landscaping, Suizenji Jojuen makes a fantastic contrast to some of the other Edo gardens that focus more on stones and water features.  It resembles a miniature landscape of the rolling mountains around Kumamoto, plus a miniature Mt. Fuji.

 

Also surviving- the old teahouse, where I sat down and enjoyed some proper matcha!


The pond of Jojuen flows into a river.

P1040673

P1040675

…which in turn feeds a small lake, Lake Ezu, right on the south end of town!

 

P1040691

Who would ever guess this was December?

P1040686

Some sort of rare-seeming bird that was attracting a lot of attention. Anyone know what it is?

P1040680

But remember, no matter how great you think you are, the Toilet Man will always be pointing and laughing at you.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s