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?
In the outer yards, the leaves were brilliant.
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.
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.
Who would ever guess this was December?