Sengan-en (Iso-teien) information
In 1658, the 19th Shimazu lord laid out this hilly, rambling bayside property of groves, gardens, hillside trails and one of Japan's most impressive pieces of 'borrowed scenery': the fuming peak of Sakurajima. It was a place of pleasure and a strategically important lookout for ships entering Kinkō-wan.
Allow at least 30 minutes for a leisurely stroll, 20 minutes more to tour the 25-room Goten, a former villa of the Shimazu clan (traditional tea and sweets provided). Shops around the garden sell jambo-moch i (pounded rice cakes on a stick) and Kiriko cut glass.
The adjacent Shōko Shūseikan museum once housed Japan's first factory (1850s). Exhibits relate to the Shimazu family and Japanese industrial history, with over 10,000 items and precious heirlooms, including scrolls, military goods, Satsuma-yaki pottery, and Japan's earliest cannons, steam engines and cut glass.
The garden is about 2km north of the city centre. Nearby is Iso-hama, the city's popular, kid-friendly swimming beach.