In my last article, I talked about the beautiful Shimabara castle and all it had to offered. However, Shimabara Castle isn’t the only interesting thing you will find in town. There is also a little hidden gem within the city that is listed in the “Registered Monuments of Japan”. This is the beautiful Yusui Garden Shimeiso.
After we had finished walking around and exploring the castle. We took a walk down the streets of the city. They call the area the City of Swimming carp, due to the little waterways on each side of the street that are filled with colorful carp. The water actually comes from filtered spring water that passes through Mount Unzen’s volcanic layers before emerging around the town. After following these carp for a little while, we came upon the entrance to what looked to be a beautiful garden. We walked inside and came across this beautiful pond, garden, and Japanese tea house. The house was situated right on the edge of the pond, with a lot of it overhanging. We went up to the house and took off our shoes to enter.
We were greeted by two very nice Japanese ladies, who asked if we wanted some tea. We agreed, and they made a fresh batch to give to us. We went to the part of the house that was overhanging the pond and took a seat.
As we sat there and drank tea while watching the koi I couldn’t help but relax. It was an extremely peaceful experience, that really gave me a good feel for traditional Japanese culture.
The access to this area is pretty similar to that of the rest of Shimabara. From the castle, it is about a 10 minute walk to this house from the castle. From the castle, you want to head south, in to the City of the Swimming carp. The house is off to the side on one of the streets there.
If you start at the castle, you can go into the tourist office there and ask them. They will be more than happy to show you how to get there.
I feel this is one of the best parts of Shimabara. It’s a such a peaceful place, that I feel it deserves a stop on your way through town.