Sengan-en: Stately Home and Gardens of the Shimazu Clan

Gardens at Sengan-en

Power and Prestige

During the Edo period (1604-1868), the 18th head of the Shimazu family, Iehisa constructed Kagoshima Castle and annexed the Ryukyu Islands, establishing trade with China and making Satsuma one of the wealthiest domains in Japan. During the peace of the Edo period cultural pursuits flourished, and the 19th head of the family, Mitsuhisa constructed a magnificent house and gardens overlooking Sakurajima named Sengan-en.

Expert Guided Tour

Take a tour with an expert guide and delight in the contrast between the raw power of active volcano Sakurajima and the 12 acres of calming traditional gardens. Discover peaceful ponds, bubbling streams, mysterious shrines, tea rooms, a bamboo grove, and a mountain hiking trail with a breath-taking panoramic view of the bay and volcano beyond.

Marvel at Sakurajima, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, only four kilometres across Kinko Bay. Framed by the stunning traditional gardens, this smouldering monument to the power of nature was the main reason for Sengan-en being built in this location by Shimadzu Mitsuhisa in 1658.

Explore the House

Visit the house loved by generations of the Shimazu family, and enjoy the private view over the Japanese gardens, Kagoshima Bay, and Sakurajima. Learn about the lifestyle of Prince Shimazu Tadayoshi and see how distinguished guests from both Japan and overseas were welcomed at Sengan-en by the Shimazu family.

Exclusive Experiences and Access

Experience not only the most authentic cultural experiences in the surroundings of one of Japan’s most famous stately homes, but also a real sense of connection and understanding to the arts and the teachers that have been entrusted with them. In Japanese this is referred to as yoin. Literally meaning reverberation, this word expresses a lingering feeling of connectedness akin to the trailing sound of a recently struck temple bell.

Private Dining

The Shimazu family have a long history of providing luxurious hospitality to distinguished guests. In the late 19th century the Shimazu hosted many visitors from overseas, including royalty such as Nicholas II of Russia, Prince Arthur of Connaught, and Edward VIII of the United Kingdom. All were impressed with the reception they received, commenting on the immaculately kept gardens, the refined atmosphere of the traditional house, and the delicious local food. We have continued this tradition of fine hospitality until today and offer the finest Kagoshima cuisine in both the private dining room of Ohkatei Restaurant and the main reception room of the house as well.