Nanko Park

-The oldest Japanese Park

Nanko Park
Nanko Park is considered to be the oldest Japanese-style Park, started in 1801 by Sadanobu Matsudaira. He won renown as a lord of the Shriakawa domain as well as a tea master and a gardener.

"Nanko" was featured in the famous Chinese poem of Li Bai. Nanko means "southern lake" and is located in the south part of the castle. Sadanobu's design was inspired by the philosophy of "Shimin-Kyoraku", the idea that beauty should be enjoyed by all regardless of rank.

He built a teahouse "Kyorakutei" and enjoyed the moment with people from different backgrounds. Even today this philosophy still lives as the main concept of the teachouse. For 200 years, this park has featured a variety of plants such as pine trees, Yoshino cherry trees, and maple trees in Arashiyama all year around. This is the reason why Nanko park is known as a garden of flowers and trees, and beloved by a lot of people.

Sadanobu Matsudaira

In the late 1700's, Sadanobu Matsudaira succeeded in the leadership Shirakawa domain. Afterwards he was named as chief senior councilor of the Tokugawa Shogunate. During this period he carried Kansei Reforms, which strengthened the already faltering Tokugawa's regime.

He was a man of culture, as well as a politician. His artistic pursuits included calligraphy, music, literature, as well as overseeing the editing of a picture book series called "Shuko Jusshu", illustrated by Buncho Tani. By collecting a lot of resources, this series became one of the first published picture books in Japan and has been used for a long time.

Nanko Shrine

Nanko Shrine
In 1922, this shrine was built supported by Eiichi Shibusawa. Sadanobu Matsudaira, the third Lord of Shirakawa is enshrined here.

On this site, there is "Nanko Shrine Museum" where the relics of Matsudaira and the calligraphy of Shibusawa are exhibited and stored.

☛Who is Eiichi Sibusawa ?

Suirakuen Garden

Suirakuen Garden
This is a garden in the Japanese traditional style that reflects Sadanobu Matsudaira's philosophy of gardening. This garden is located in a corner of Nanko Park.

Here, you can enjoy green tea at the Shoin-style building "Shoraku-tei". A teahouse named "Shusui-an" is a beautiful setting from which to enjoy the view.

Kyorakutei Teahouse

Kyorakutei Teahouse
This teahouse was built by Sadanobu Matsudaira,

in the location with the best view of Nanko Lake. Matsudaira believed in "Shimin-Kyoraku". A philosophy that held that beauty should be enjoyed by all regardless of rank. Therefore, this tea house was not equipped with "Shikii", the dividers between rooms that divide people on the basis of rank.


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