Kagoshima: The Sengan-en Villa
February 20, 2014
My dear friends,
All is can say is …“Ah!”
The weather here: Sunny. Mild. Shed a layer of sweaters.
Forget the north. Forget Tokyo. Forget the cold and the snow!
I’m an independent traveler. I checked the map. I booked a ticket. At Kyoto I boarded the “Super Express” to Kagoshima (4 hours) – the southernmost metropolis on the main islands of Japan. (pop 605,640)
In Kagoshima I rode the escalator down from the arrival platform to the main hall of the station. I made a left turn, followed the signs, and in about thirty seconds, I rolled on in to the lobby of the JR Kyusho Kagoshima Hotel.* “Ah!”
The Sengan-en (Iso-teien) – a hilly, rambling bayside garden laid out in 1658. Even now in February, many of the trees are already in full pink display. The tiny birds poke their beaks into the blossoms. Early flowering cherry trees of the kanhizakura variety. (I looked it up!)
I opted for the tour of the Shimazu-ke Villa. Lovely rooms and internal gardens and ponds. Goldfish. Naturally, tea is served.
Like the architects of the Okochi Sanso Villa in Kyoto who “borrowed” the scenery of the cherry tree orchards and the view of the city, in the Seventeenth Century, the designers here at Shimazu-ke Villa “borrowed” the fuming volcanic peak on the island of Sakurajima.
The peak is still fuming.
Tomorrow? Next stop? The Volcano?
Warm, but not fuming,