Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dan and Kath in Fukuoka: Yusentei Garden

First: Dan and Kath (but mostly Kath) are worried that some of our readers might not know who they are. In case the glaring family resemblance wasn't obvious enough, they're my parents. (I'm their oldest, which might explain why they look far too young to have a son with as little hair as I do.) In October, they came out to visit us in Japan for ten days - their first ever trip to Asia. You'll be hearing a lot about them: outside of that break, we haven't done much this fall but work, work, work.

Anyway: The morning of day one of our Kyushu road trip - my parents' second full day in Japan - we made a brief stop at Fukuoka's Yusentei Garden on our way out of town. Yusentei is a tough spot to get to without a car, so we'd never been. I'm glad we went, though: it's a very peaceful little oasis in the heart of Fukuoka's southwestern suburbs.

Yusentei Garden consists of an old country villa and its grounds. They were built by one of the leaders of the Kuroda clan, who ruled Fukuoka for much of its history. Nowadays, Yusentei is open to the public, and frequently used for fashion and wedding photography. In fact, during our visit, a bride and groom were having their photos taken in traditional Japanese dress.
Like most traditional Japanese gardens, Yusentei is constructed as a stylized natural landscape in miniature. Narrow, shady paths for walking meditation circle a large koi pond fed by small waterfalls and artificial streams.

The koi themselves were either very friendly or very hungry. They'd let you touch them, and would even suck on your finger if you dipped it in the water.
 We also spotted a very cooperative little heron enjoying his spot in the shade.
The house itself was relatively modest in size, but very pretty. Clean lines, with a large main room opening out onto a balcony overlooking the water.

Even the high-rise in the distance doesn't quite spoil the serenity.