Sengan-en
Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks • Scenic Walking Areas
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9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
Sengan-en is a traditional Japanese garden and stately home that has been passed down in the Shimadzu family for over 350 years. The garden boasts spectacular views of active volcano Sakurajima, and the house provides a glimpse into the lifestyle of a powerful feudal lord. Sengan-en and the surrounding area was fundamentally important in the modernization of Japan. It was here that Western industrial technology was introduced to Japan, studied and used in the creation of modern factories. Shoko Shuseikan is a museum set in a 150 year old stone building originally used as a machine factory. Learn about the 800 year history and culture of the Shimadzu family, and the first steps towards the industrialization of Japan. In July, 2015 Sengan-en and Shoko Shuseikan were recognized as World Cultural Heritage Sites related to Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
1,285 reviews
Excellent
625
Very good
524
Average
120
Poor
12
Terrible
4

William S
Kobe, Japan1,197 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
We’ve seen many homes and gardens in Japan and Senganen was one of the most impressive. The house is not just historic it is gorgeous. The staff are helpful (some English spoken) and clearly proud to be working there. The gardens are really remarkable with ponds, small buildings, fountains and great walking areas. It’s March and there are lots of trees and flowers in bloom but it must be gorgeous most of the year. There’s a lot of English signage which is helpful along with young, enthusiastic staff. The shops are interesting with local traditional sweets along with beautiful crafts. We aren’t so fond of cut glass but the production here is a quite remarkable. Expensive and wonderful. We spent 3-4 hours wandering around and having lunch in the cafe - which was also quite good. Keep a watch for someone ordering one of the deserts with tea - the making of the tea is an interesting exhibition.
Written March 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

lantagee
Cairns, Australia10 contributions
Aug 2014 • Couples
This quite simple one of the best Japanese gardens to visit in Japan. As its in Kagoshima, its relatively unknown and so delightfully, if you are lucky, can almost have it to yourself on the right day.

What makes it so good? What do you want in Japanese garden? Senganen has almost anything that you wish.

The Garden: The garden is relatively large by Japanese standards so this allows you to explore it at your leisure and if you do it slowly will take up to 2 hours depending how long you want to linger. The garden has many nooks that are hidden around corners, behind moss covered stone walls and hedges cut in pristine condition. The whole garden is maintained immaculately and the attention to detail over such a large area requires a dedicated team. Small shrines, a mountain stream that bubbles through garden, changing seasons, the back of the garden framed by mountains and forest and you would never know you are just 10 minutes outside Kagoshima city.

Borrowed scenery: Perhaps the best in Japan!! They talk about borrowed scenery of Kyoto gardens but I have never seen any place better than Senganen. The garden is situated no more than 50 metres from Kinko bay that looks like a vast pond right before your eyes. The bay stretches across to Sakurajima, an active volcano only a few kilometres away which is simply stunning! as it rises magnificiently before you with its smoking peak. There is no better view in Japan from a garden, a must see for anyone who loves Japanese gardens.

History: Sengan-en was built by local Lord Mitsuhisa, the 19th head of the Shimadzu family in the early Edo period so this allows you to enjoy some ambience of old Japan as you imagine days gone past.

I went in summer, the green was a beautiful green but it seems that in different seasons the garden changes with the rhythm of nature. I was lucky, very few people were there during a weekday and and most of the time I could enjoy the garden by myself and soak up its ambience. There are grassed areas as well and some seating so you can rest and take your time. You could spend a whole afternnon there if you enjoy Japanese gardens and have the time.

Restaurants: There are some restaurants on the ground, modern buildings and tastefully done. You can go to the 2nd floor of one establishment and it has full sized windows with unobstructed views across Kinko Bay to Sakurajima. When I was there it quiet so you could stay as long as you wished and just enjoy the incredible view over a delicious lunch.

Shopping: As you come inside the Garden entrance there are some shops with local crafts, especially wood products from Yakushima, Kagoshima glassware and of course shochu!, the local distilled alcohol usually made from sweet potatoes that is famous all over Japan. Once again the the shops have been built tastefully, no hawkers outside, and you can just leisurely look through and pick up something if you like. If you aren't interested in shopping just go straight past them onto the garden.

I have lived in Japan for over 10 years, visited Kyoto and its gardens on numerous times, seen the most reputed gardens from all over Japan and I found this to be among one of my favourites. If you happen to be in Kagoshima you must go, you won't be let down. For those who really love Japanese gardens it's worth making the effort to to go to Kagoshima for an experience you will never forget and and a memory of sublime beauty that you will have for life.
Written December 12, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

BillWaqalevu
Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan59 contributions
Oct 2015 • Couples
I visited this place twice (with a friend and then with my wife). I cycled from central Kagoshima to Sengan-en the first time which took about 40-50 minutes so the second time I caught the 600¥ sight-seeing bus service from Chuo-eki station (600¥ per stop but you can upgrade your ticket to last the whole day and is valid for 3 days). An added bonus of this bus tour is that it stops at all the main sights within 30 minutes driving from central Temonkan (i.e. Meiji Restoration Museum, Terukuni Shrine, Saigo Takamori caves/statue/burial site,Tsurumaru Castle ruins, Shiroyama Observatory AND Sengan-en Gardens to name a few). I recommend visiting Sengan-en in early Spring (when the cherry blossoms are in bloom) or in mid-Autumn when the weather is cool and beautiful daisies and the deciduous tree leaves begin to change colour (avoid rainy days or the rainy season). Sengan-en is set as a traditional Japanese garden which was owned by the Shimadzu family (leading clan) for over 350 years. The garden has amazing views of Sakurajima, and the house gives you an insight into the lifestyle of a samurai lord. You can also take a hike up the trail to the lookout (400m elevation and get a better panoramic view of Sakurajima and Kagoshima City - great photo op!). Sengan-en was a vital area during the modernization of Japan and it is where western industrial technology was introduced into Japan via its factories. Next to it is a museum (entry fee inclusive of Sengan-en fee) and boasts collections from the sites illustrious past. You may visit nicer gardens in Kyoto or other places but at only 1100¥ per adult, this site is worth visiting when you are in Kagoshima. It is simply fantastic!
Written December 10, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nik D
Hollister, CA109 contributions
Nov 2011 • Friends
This historical flower garden [also called Iso Flower Garden] is well preserved and developed. It is simply a delight to walk through its flowers, trees and shrubbery, water channels and ponds, shrines, and other architectural features. There are some stunning views of the Sakurajima volcano from many places in the garden. If you have more time available, there is an hour-long nature trail inside the garden, with even more spectacular views. A great place to sample some good tea and bean cakes. The City View Tour Bus stops here. A day-ticket for this bus (available at the information desks, or on the bus itself) will get you a discount for entering this flower garden.
Written November 27, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

foodie2828
Hong Kong, China161 contributions
Feb 2018 • Couples
This site is definitely worth a visit. Probably the best site for me in Kagoshima.
The grounds are well kept and you get an excellent view of Sakurajima island and the volcano. There are many different paths to take to walk around and get a sense of the peace and serenity of the environment.

Easy to get to with the one day Cityview bus ticket which is only Yen 600. well worth it.
Written February 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eric161200
Amsterdam38 contributions
Nov 2017 • Solo
The garden showed a nice collection of flowers in november. Compared to the sublime samoerai gardens in Chiran, an hour from Kagoshima, the Sengan-en Garden was less astonishing. A nice garden with some remains of the first industrialization of Japan.
Written November 26, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

784sylvainen
Hong Kong12 contributions
Aug 2017 • Family
A short bus ride away from the heart of Kagoshima City, Sengan-en provides the perfect sanctuary for locals and tourists alike from the hustle and bustle of the city. The garden, which doubles as a UNESCO World Heritage site in conjunction with the adjacent Shoko Shuseikan, is where the powerful feudal Shimadzu family once resided. The site includes several restaurants that highlight the local cuisine in Kagoshima as well. For the penny-pinchers, you will be glad to learn that visitors can get TAX-free for souvenirs and even snacks that do not have to be consumed on site.

Despite visiting the site in the summer, without any special event going on, we found the gardens beautiful. For us, it was particularly interesting to note the Chinese influences, such as feng-shui and bamboo groves, that were incorporated into the garden. Remember to strap on a pair of sneakers as the garden is huge and even has a hiking trail leading to a panoramic view of Sakurajima and Kinko bay that you won’t want to miss. Although simple, don’t forget to pick up a fan at the entrance as it can get quite hot in the summer.
Written August 26, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MysteryEater2014
Singapore, Singapore25 contributions
Apr 2017 • Couples
It's a big garden facing a beautiful mountain across the sea. The only setback for our visit was that we were just few days earlier before the sakura were fully bloom. However I could envision the beauty of the surroundings. Even without the sakura, it still big and fun to explore. I particularly enjoy climbing up to the mountain top. The air is fresh and you can have a great view of the coastal area. There's no stalls along the way, so it's kind of like jungle trails. Be prepared to bring water along the way. You'll have no regrets!
Written June 8, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dream605680
4 contributions
Dec 2015 • Couples
Beautiful scenery, stunning gardens that are extremely well kept, quite a bit of history and some shops, with high quality local foods, absolutely out of this world handmade glass craft of such exquisite quality that I have never seen in my life and all kinds of other cool stuff! Go and spend at least 4 hours there... So beautiful...
Written December 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ryanteo
Guangzhou, China7,796 contributions
Mar 2015 • Couples
Well-maintained landscape and gardens make strolling within the large compound very relaxing. There is a path to top of the hill which presents magnificent view of the city. A guided tour will include cultural and green tea experiences.
Written March 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Sengan-en (Kagoshima) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Sengan-en

Sengan-en is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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