Suizenji Garden 水前寺成趣園
Kumamoto's top Japanese garden
The Hosokawa family is famous in Kumamoto , not least of all for the construction of the region's most impressive garden, now known as Suizenji Park. Construction began in 1636, with the location chosen for its natural spring and high-quality water. Reported to be good for making green tea, a specialty teahouse was also constructed in the garden.
- Ikinaridango, a mochi (rice) and bean paste cake which is popular in the Suizenji area
- Hand-whisked matcha in the thatched teahouse
- Special events, especially during cherry blossom season
How to Get There
Take the tram to the Suizenji Koen stop. Both tram lines run to the park. Public buses are available but can be difficult to work out.
If you like walking, you can reach the park in less than an hour from central Kumamoto.
Limited parking is available.
Fancy a cup of tea?
The thatched-roof teahouse is one of the main attractions of the garden. Order a tea set and choose which sweet you'd like to accompany your cup of hand-whisked matcha. It costs a little extra to sit within the actual teahouse, but the open-air seating is just as pleasant, offering top views of the pond and garden.
Izumi Shrine, with red torii (archways) leading down to it, is a picturesque photo spot in the garden. Some of the Hosokawa family members are enshrined there, and there are sometimes religious events held in the garden. The peak in the middle of the garden is supposed to represent Mt. Fuji.
The pond, which is home to colorful koi and magnificent birds, suffered during the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, when all the water drained away, but it has since been restored. Cross over the photogenic bridge and follow winding pathways, raked to perfection, around the small but beautiful garden.