Gardens of Kumamoto
Kumamoto Travel Blog› entry 31 of 52 › view all entries
I get a lift down the hill from my ryokan to the tram line and get a day ticket for the tram so I can get out and exploring the city. I start out by heading towards the castle where I went yesterday - just outside the gates of the castle is a big old samurai house. I get to the house and the stylish garden around the house. Compared to the samurai houses I saw up in Kanudate this is different - this is how the better rich samurais live. The garden is big by Japanese standards and it is carefully designed to impress the guest coming into the garden.
The house got lots of room but like most houses in Japan there is not really a lot of furniture inside the rooms. It is mainly just tattami mats and a few small pieces of furniture. One great thing about the rooms are the frequent garden access hence it was possible to just open some of the paper walls so you could walk right from the room to the garden. I finish my walk around the house and go back to the exit to pick up my shoes and I head off.
I go back and catch a tram to a small garden on the other side of the town. It is one of an old garden which took no less than three generations to complete with different kinds of landscape which is supposed to look like the 53 stations of the Tokiado which used to connect Kyoto and Tokyo. The one station easiest to recognize is a miniature Mount Fuji which is standing high in the middle of the garden. The rest of the garden is really nice to walk around and there is some of water in the garden in a great traditional Japanese manner.
Most of the garden is centered around the lakes which are connected by small picturesque bridges and colorful fish swimming in the lakes. There are also a couple of old temples in the garden but they are all places in the outskirts of the garden and the garden is the main thing to see.
I am done looking at the garden and wonder what to do next - it looks like it will rain in a little - but I had seen the weather forecast yesterday and apparently the weather should be better at the south tip of the island. And thanks to fast trains and a rail pass it is a manageable distance of less than 200k or about 20 minutes longer than the time it took me to get across town from the samurai house to the garden. Hence it looks like an appealing option and I ready to go.