An array of hues reflected in the water provide an air of elegant simplicity in this garden formerly belonging to a feudal lord
Overlooking the sea, Uwajima is one of Shikoku's main port towns, which has flourished since the days of yore thanks to its temperate climate and abundant natural resources. Tenshaen is a pond-stroll garden created in 1866, during the final years of the Edo period (1603-1868), as a retreat for Munetada, the seventh feudal lord of the Date clan, which governed this region. It was created in a corner of the Hamagoten residence, which the second lord, Munetoshi, built on land reclaimed from the sea. As the name suggests, a pond-stroll garden is a type of Japanese garden laid out with a large pond at its main focus, with a path around it that enables those walking along it to enjoy views of small islands, bridges, rocks, shrubs, and flowers as they stroll. The name of the garden is taken from a line in a Chinese poem composed by Munetada's ancestor, the warrior Date Masamune.
Visitors to Tenshaen can enjoy the beautiful hues of its flowers: in April, the wisteria on the trellis in the shape of an arched bridge across the pond is a riot of cascading blossom, while in May, about 2,000 irises reach full bloom. In particular, 19 types of bamboo have been planted around the pond , as bamboo and sparrows feature in the kamon crest of the Date clan, creating splendid scenery with an appeal unique to this garden.
Moreover, some of the rocks laid out in the garden are valuable, and even if you are not a particular devotee of Japanese gardens, you won't be able to take your eyes off such rocks as the Roaring Tiger Rock, so named because of its resemblance to a tiger, the Standing Cow and Recumbent Cow rocks, which have a somewhat bovine appearance, and the Sea Rock, which was used for mooring boats. There are many things to see that will make your walk a most rewarding experience.
Address: Tensha-Koen, Uwajima City, Ehime
Hours open to visitors: 08:30-17:00 (April-June), 08:30-16:30 (July-March)
Admission Fee: \300 (high school students and above), \100 (junior high school students), \50 (elementary school students)
Closed: Monday (December-February expect for the first Monday of December)
Directions: (Train) 20 minutes on foot from Uwajima Station on the JR Yosan Line (5 hours 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station, or 1 hour 40 minutes from Matsuyama Airport).