Untapped Kumamoto

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Autumn colors illumination at Hosokawa Residence

I suppose you’ve heard that Japanese love 桜(sakura, means cherry blossom).



In spring, people get very excited to see cherry blossom blooming.


During that season, we always talk about where is the best place to see and exchange information.


We also have sakura forecast and people always check when to have お花見(ohanami, means cherry blossom viewing picnic).


(The number here means the date when they predict that sakura will bloom. For example, “3.25” means March 25th.)


Source : tenki.jp  https://tenki.jp/sakura/expectation/


In autumn, it’s time to enjoy 紅葉( kouyou, means autumn leaves).


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


Unfortunately, there is no kouyou forecast but people always talk about how colorful leaves get.


This autumn was rather warmer than usual so at the beginning of it, leaves hadn’t colored well.


But gradually it’d become colder and began to change color vividly.


This time, my friends and I visited this 旧細川刑部邸(The residence of Hosokawa family).


Source : 熊本市観光ガイド https://kumamoto-guide.jp/spots/detail/81


In Edo period, Hosokawa family had ruled Kumamoto.
細川忠利(Tadatoshi Hosokawa), who was the third heir of Hosokawa family, had a younger brother named 細川興孝(Okitaka Hosokawa).


He was given the budget which was 2万5千石(ni-man go-sen goku).


(I didn’t know how much it was and tried to find out.
Some people showed how to calculate using the price of rice or how many peasants they had so it seems difficult to say exact price but I guess it’s almost equivalent to 5 billion yen now.)


He built the house as a holiday house in 東子飼(Higashikokai, which is near Kumamoto university now).


After a while it was transferred to the present venue which is close to Kumamoto castle and this relocation took about 4 and a half years.


Source : Wikipedia https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/旧細川刑部邸


Since it was used only for the high class samurai, it was famous for the fancy atmosphere.


The beauty of decoration and the style of architecture had been kept intact.


At their garden, people have enjoyed the scenery changing with seasons.


This house is an important cultural property of Kumamoto. 


Sadly, because of the earthquakes in 2016, it was severely damaged and we can’t enter it anymore.


The residence of Hosokawa family was especially famous for its beautiful autumn leaves and many people had been excited to visit there every year.


Specially this time, from November 17th to December 2nd, they opened their garden so that people can enjoy the best time.


On the way to the residence of Hosokawa family, my friends and I dropped by Kumamoto castle.


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


Since it was the best season, there were many people.


You can see Kumamoto castle from 二の丸公園(Ninomaru kouen, which means Ninomaru park).


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

It’s under reconstruction after the earthquakes.


Kumamoto prefectural government announced that it would take 20 years at least to be finished.


But I’d say people here believe that it’s a great hope for our restoration.


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


We arrived at the residence of Hosokawa family at 4:30 pm.


The information said that they would start to light up from 5 pm so until then we were exploring around the venue.


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


At the entrance, there was a hot spring for hands.


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


There is a famous hot spring place, named ‘植木温泉(Ueki Onsen, means Ueki hot spring)’ which is located in the northern part of Kumamoto-city.


Ueki Onsen consists of several hot spring places.


ややの湯(Yaya no yu) which is one of the 旅館(Ryokan, means Japanese traditional hotel) came and brought their nice hot spring and offered us hot spring for hands.


The water was soothing and smooth. 


After bathing my hands for a couple of minutes, I felt warmed up from the tips of my fingers and skin became nice and moist.


After 5pm, the residence was illuminated.


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

Along the path, the beautifully colorful trees were lined.


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto

There were already a lot of people and enjoying the beauty.


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


They also decorated the bamboo lanterns which were used for Mizuakari festival(Check the article about Mizuakari Festival, too!→ http://untappedkumamoto.com/2018/10/28/みずあかり2018mizu-akari-festival/).


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


They made an arch using the bamboo lanterns.


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


These flowers are called “肥後六花(Higo Rokka)”.


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


There are 6 kinds of flowers, Higo-tsubaki(camellia), Higo-shakuyaku(peony),Higo-Hanashoubu(iris), Higo-Asagao(morning glory), Higo-Giku(chrysanthemum) and Higo-Sazanka(camellia sasanqua).


The unique things about Higo-rokka are the beauty of petals which is single-flower, and their pure color and the fine center of flower.


Hosokawa family had improvised these six kinds of flowers.


At the beginning, they started it as an educational activity for samurai and they have  passed on the method which was never allowed to be taken out.


Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto


After admiring the beauty of kouyou, we met this kind and cool samurai.


He’s one of the おもてなし武将隊(Omotenashi Bushou-tai).


They are the group which consists of several samurai who are related to Kumamoto.


They try to advertise Kumamoto wearing samurai costume and speak the way samurai used to.


They often have performance at Kumamoto castle and downtown so when you come to Kumamoto, check their schedule in advance and meet them.
Official website → http://kumamoto-bushoutai.com


They are happy to talk to you and take a photo with you.


Photo credit : Fumi @fu.mi.nn


I was so happy that I could see the best time of kouyou.


I think it’s a great idea to use bamboo lanterns which are one of the symbol of Kumamoto now(they use them at the events such as Mizuakari festival and Christmas Market Kumamoto).


We have amazing resources and learn to use them in an effective way. 


And above all, people here are so kind and friendly.


I hope more people will visit Kumamoto and fall in love with us!

Photo credit : Chieko @untappedkumamoto



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