Kumamoto City, with a population of over 500,000, is one of the few cities in the world where 100% of the tap water is supplied from an underground aquifer. About 4 km away from Kumamoto Castle lies Suizenji Jojuen Garden, an elegant garden that was commissioned by a feudal lord.
Hosokawa Tadatoshi, the lord of the Kumamoto domain, was fond of the clear spring water in the area, so he had a teahouse built here in 1636. Work on the garden lasted for three generations thereafter. Visitors can stroll around the 10,000-square-meter pond, which is fed by subterranean water from the Aso region, while enjoying views of a hill that resembles Mt. Fuji and the many trees, including some Japanese white pines that are over 400 years old.
There are two shrines on the grounds of the garden, Izumi Shrine, which is dedicated to the lords of the Kumamoto domain, and Inari Shrine, which is known for its impressive red torii gates. The best position to view the garden is from the Kokindenju no Ma, a more than 400-year-old tearoom that was moved from Kyoto to its current location. Here you can enjoy matcha and sweets while you gaze out over the garden.