Ogawa’s Garden Kansuien

Japanese Site


History of the Ogawa family

The Ogawa family in Kawaramachi, Kurayoshi City, Tottori Prefecture, was called Nakaeya. The third generation Tomisaburo (1804-1891) made a fortune in sake brewing and cotton business, and the fourth generation Teishiro (1845-1915) founded the Ogawa Silk Mill in Meiji 26, In addition to selling the famous sake [Kumegawa], boasting one of the largest production values in the prefecture.。

The 6th generation Teiichi (1882-1943) founded Ogawa Partnership Company in 1910, changed the sake name to 'Utsubuki Masamune' in 1915, and established Kurayoshi Gyosai Co., Ltd. and Kurayoshi Soy Sauce Co., Ltd. (now is Hishikura Co., Ltd ), held various important positions related to financial and industrial unions in the prefecture, and was a prominent figure in the local business world. He was also active as a politician, serving as a member of the prefectural assembly and a member of the House of Peers. enthusiastic about promoting education, he contributed to the establishment of the Kurayoshi Prefectural High School and the Prefectural Women's Normal School for girls' education, and as the chairman of the establishment of a limited liability union welfare hospital, he played a central role in the opening of a general hospital in 1930. It is the second largest hospital in Japan operated by an industrial association. In the mid-Taisho era, Teiichi studied Noh chants and the Kita school of tea ceremony, and in his later years learned the tea ceremony of the Shino school from the Japanese painter Yojo Okajima. It is believed that it was around this time that he built Kansuien on the south side of the main house.

Sadatoshi the seventh generation (1910-1980) established the company as a representative member of Ogawa Partnership Company and president of Hisikura Co., Ltd., and devoted himself to the development of regional commerce and industry as chairman of the Kurayoshi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The 6th generation Teiichi Ogawa

Ogawa’s Garden Kansuien

Ogawa's garden has a "Front yard" facing the main street, a "Courtyard " in between the main building and a storehouse, and a "Kansuien" in a separate section along the Hachiya River. (The forecourt and courtyard are currently closed to the public.)

Kansuien is a large scale garden with a path around ponds, about the size of 32m from east to west and about 40m from north to south. In the center of the east side, there is a neat garden gate, and in the center of the south side, there is a tea house called "Nanzanso" as a central point of appreciation. In front of Tea house, there is a pond and artificial hills were built on three sides around it. The south waiting seat, the five-storied pagoda, and the north seat are arranged on the top of each artificial hill. Between the south waiting seat and the five-storied pagoda, there used to be a thatched-style tea house called Senshintei, but now only the foundations of the building remain.

"Nanzanso" is a copy of Kanden-an (National Important Cultural Property), which is said to have been designed by Harusato Matsudaira (1715-1818), the lord of the Matsue domain, and was relocated from Misasa ". In 1945-1947, Tatehiko Suga was evacuated from Osaka. While staying there, he drew a binding painting of "Sasameyuki" by Junichiro Tanizaki.

The water of pond is directly drawn from the Hachiya River, and is returned to the river by going around Kamejima and a pond in front of the tea house "Nanzanso". The garden path around the pond uses stone steps, steppingstones, and pavement made of colorful small gravel, with a creative technique as such waterfalls, wells and small ponds etc. are arranged in various places.

In addition, it is also the feature of this garden by having the skillfully constructed path with about 30 stone lanterns and stone pagodas, historical materials such as the railings of the Ogamogawa Bridge and Osaka signposts, as well as monumental red brick chimneys, etc., placed here and there. A 13-storied pagoda is built on the hillside of Mt. Suido, which can be seen from the north side of the pond behind Nanzanso, adding an accent to the borrowed scenery. The flowers and trees are also different from the garden of the main house, with large trees arranged around, and there are many kinds of flowers and trees (about 400) including wisteria trellises, exhibiting colorful planting of four seasons beautifully.

Ogawa Landlord's House

Tea house Nanzanso

Kansuien is the villa of Teiichi Ogawa, and was designed by Takenosuke Tatsumi, a gardener from Kobe. The teahouse in the garden was built around 1930 (Showa 5) next to Iwasaki Ryokan in Misasa Onsen. It is a copy of Arisawa Sanso (Kougettei and Kanden-an) in Matsue City. It is said that lavish tea ceremonies were held here from the Taisho era (1912-1926) to the early Showa era (1926-1989), including honkaiseki, a type of tea ceremony not seen in the prefecture.
From 1945 to 1947, Osaka's Tatehiko Suga, a great master of the art (painting) world, lived in Kansuien's teahouse, and painted an illustration of the binding of Junichiro Tanizaki's new book "Sasameyuki" at that time. In addition, Sadatoshi Ogawa VII welcomed Bernard Leach of the Japan Folk Crafts Association here in 1953.
Thus, the Ogawa family, as one of the wealthiest families in the prefecture, laid the foundation for the modernization of Kurayoshi and had a great influence on the improvement of culture and art.
Sadako Ogawa VIII (1944-2016) established the "Ogawa Memorial Foundation" in April 2015 with a strong desire to pass on the history, culture, buildings, and gardens of the family to future generations and to help promote the community, and began full-scale restoration of Kansuien and the tea ceremony house "Nanzanso".
Her sister, Nobuko Saito IX, succeeded to the restoration project as the representative director of the foundation, and in November 2021, Kansuien and the teahouse "Nanzanso" were opened to the public.

Tea house Nanzanso 〔early Showa period (1926-1989 CE)〕

The gardener Takenosuke Tatsumi

garden design in Kyoto, and worked in the Kansai region, where he is said to have created many gardens for residences in Ashiya. His style of "flowing" and "circular" landscapes is highly regarded in Tottori, and there are several examples of gardens in the prefecture that are said to have been created by Tatsumi.
Ogawa's garden is a representative work of Takenosuke Tatsumi and is one of the best modern private gardens in the San-in region. As a representative of the modern gardens of merchant families in Kurayoshi, Ogawa's garden had a great influence on the gardening techniques and tea ceremony in the region, and contributed to the improvement of art and culture.