Nicknamed the "Little Kyoto of Satsuma", Chiran is home to more than 500 samurai residences during the late Edo period (19th century). As the original buildings of the complex are well-preserved, one can get to witness a real, Edo Period Samurai settlement here. The charm of the Chiran Samurai Residence Complex lies in the 700m stonewall-lined paths, the scattered Samurai houses and the beautifully landscaped gardens within. Built with defense purposes in mind, the paths are neither too wide nor too narrow, and there are many corners and bents to reduce visibility (of potential invaders). Furthermore, the hedges (behind the stone walls of the houses) are pruned in such a way that one inside the house can see the outside clearly, but not the other way round. As such, it is possible to ambush invaders with arrows and spears without exposing one's location. The Chiran Samurai Residence Complex is designated as an "Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings" by the Japanese government, and the seven gardens (open to public) are officially recognised as a "National Scenic Beauty" spot. Among the seven gardens which are open to public, the garden of the Mori family is the only one built in the "Tsukiyama Sensui" style, with rocks laid out to represent the mountain, and an actual pond filled with water. The other six gardens are built in the "Karesansui" (dry garden) style, using Shirasu (pumice and volcanic ash commonly found in the south Kyushu region) spread out across the garden grounds to represent water surface. The use of Shirasu in Karesansui style gardens is unique to Chiran.
Open all year round [Time] 9:00am～5:00pm
Adults ￥500 （ ticket is valid for entrance to the 'Seven Gardens'）
Children ￥300 （ ticket is valid for entrance to the 'Seven Gardens'）
Alight at the "Buke-Yashiki Iriguchi-mae" bus stop (bus departs from the Yamakataya Bus Centre in Tenmonkan, Kagoshima city and JR Kagoshima Chuo station)
0993-58-7878 ※Japan's International Country Code is 81