Japan Gardens & Parks: Ishibashi Memorial Park, Kagoshima City
Ishibashi Memorial Park 石橋記念公園
Towards the end of the Edo Period the Lord of Satsuma brought mason and bridge builder Iwanaga Sangoro from Higo, now Kumamoto Prefecture, to build five stone bridges, known as the Gosekkyo, across the Kotsuki River in Kagoshima.
The grandest of the bridges was the Nishida Bashi, as it was used by the Daimyo and his entourage on his processions to Edo (present-day Tokyo) under the sankin-kotai regulations.
For over 100 years the bridges stood the ravages of time and weather until the summer of 1993. That summer the rainy season did not end as usual but continued into August.
In the first week of August the prefecture received a full meter of rain causing massive flooding and landslides. On the 6th of August the area around Kagoshima city received 100mm an hour of rain and the swollen Kotsuki River caused massive flooding in the city with 41 people losing their lives.
Two of the five stone bridges were completely destroyed and the other three were severely damaged. It was decided to move and reconstruct the remaining three bridges and the site chosen was the Gion no Su Park, site of one of the artillery batteries that shelled the British Navy ships in 1863.
In 2000 the new park, re-named Ishibashi Park, was opened. Located a short walk from the JR Kagoshima Station, which is the terminus for the tram line, the park is also on the City View Bus route.
As well as the three newly restored bridges and the excellent views of Sakurajima, there is also a small museum which is surprisingly good.
Not only can you learn about how the bridges were constructed, and how the stones were quarried and cut, but also about the role the bridges played in historical Kagoshima. At the edge of the park is a small Yasaka Shrine.
Access - Getting to Ishibashi Park
The museum is open from 9am to 5pm, and entry is free of charge. Walk a short distance north of Kagoshima Station.
1-3 Hamamachi, Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture 892 0812
Tel: 099 248 6661
Hotels In Kagoshima
The area around Kagoshima Chuo Station has many hotels including the Hotel Gastof, the Hotel Urbic Kagoshima, the Toyoko Inn Kagoshima Chuo-eki Nishi-guchi, the JR Kyushu Hotel Kagoshima Hotel and the APA Hotel Kagoshima Chuo-Ekimae.