Sengan-en Garden in Kagoshima city(仙厳園, 鹿児島市)


Sakurajima volcanic mountain seen from Sengan-en garden

What and where is Sengan-en Garden?

It is the Japanese style garden of the Shimadzu clan.

The clan used to govern the Satsuma domain which is today’s Kagoshima prefecture located on the Kyushu island, southern part of Japan.


In the mid 17th century, the 19th generation local feudal lord built a villa and made a garden attached to it.

The current family master is the 32nd generation.

The 28th generation lord Nariakira Shimadzu initiated the ‘Shuseikan project‘ in the mid 19th century, which played a significant role in Japan’s modernization towards the end of the Samurai period.

The villa in the garden with a badkdrop mountain which is part of the garden.

Can you see the three letters on the cliff face? It is read ‘Sen-jin-gan’, meaning ‘very large rock’ made in 1814. The mountain in the above picture has this.


What is the ‘Shuseikan project’?

Shuseikan‘ was the name of the machinery factory.

It was built in 1865.

In the factory, metal was processed and various machinery parts were manufactured.

It pioneered Japan’s industrial modernization.

The building is designated as a UNESCO site, one of the 23 sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and steel, Shipbuilding and coal mining. 


Who was Nariakira Shimadzu?

He was the 28th head of the Shimadzu clan, lived in the mid 19th century.

It was just before the abolition of feudalism.

He started Japan’s military and industrial modernization by introducing Western technologies through the Shuseikan project.