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March 2017

03/05/2017

Chiran Samurai Residences

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The main street of Chiran samurai residences(知覧武家屋敷群) in Minamikyusyu City(南九州市)
Chiran samurai residences are called "little Kyoto of Satsuma(薩摩の小京都)"where there is a feminine and elegant atmosphere.

Chiran2
Saigo Keiichiro(西郷恵一郎邸) garden the style of which is called"karesansui"(dry garden).

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Hirayama Katsumi(平山克己邸) garden is also karesansui. Mt.hahagatake(母ヶ岳) can be seen beyond the garden, and the landscape appears to be continuous.This is called "shakkei"or "borrowed landscape".

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You can see Mt.Hahagatake from the main street too.

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This stone is called "sekkanto(石敢當)", and is set at the crossroad of the three-way street. It is a kind of amulet, which has been transmitted from China to Satsuma via Ryukyu.


In the Edo era,Shimazu clan(島津氏) divided Satsuma Domain(薩摩藩) into 102 districts called "tojyo(外城)",and created samurai settlements called "fumoto(麓)". Shimazu intended not to concentrate samurai in Kagoshima, but to disperse to districts.It meant to prepare for external attacks.Chiran was one of them.

The landscape of stone wall and hedge along the main street of Chiran samurai residences has well-balanced and fabulous, and was designated as an Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings(重要伝統的建造物群保存地区) of Japan in 1981.

The seven gardens of the samurai residences are also designated as a scenic spot(名勝) of Japan as being valuable for knowing the propagation of garden culture.

Karesansui(枯山水)
karesansui is a garden that does not use water,and is a style that expresses mountains, forests,seas and rivers using stones, sand, plants and moss,etc. It is a garden of abstract expressions developed at Zen temple in the Muromachi period.

Shakkei(借景)
Shakkei has no boundaries between the garden and the outside landscape. In other words, it is a garden-building technique in which the artificial garden and the nature such as mountains and forests in the background are integrated.

早春の知覧

Chiran1
知覧武家屋敷群を貫く通りの向こうには母ケ岳の姿。

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西郷恵一郎邸庭園

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平山克己邸庭園

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武家屋敷通りより三叉路越に望む母ケ岳

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石敢当(せっかんとう) 三叉路の突き当たりに設けられている。一種の魔除けで、中国から琉球を経て、薩摩に伝わったとのこと。

質実剛健なイメージが支配的な鹿児島にあって、雅な趣が漂う知覧の武家屋敷群は「薩摩の小京都」と呼ばれ、華やかさを感じ取れる数少ない場所の一つだ。

武家屋敷通りに沿って、国の名勝に指定された庭園が七つあり、それら主に枯山水様式の庭は、母ヶ岳をも借景に取り入れ、その雄大にして秀麗な姿を今日に伝えている。

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