1738 - 2015

History of the Tachibana Garden

Tachibana Museum

Tachibana Garden, the National Site of Scenic Beauty, is an important cultural institution that beautifully evokes the refined lifestyle of the feudal lords class of Japan's Edo period (1603 - 1867), formerly the home of Tachibana family load of Yanagawa clan. The estate still houses a splendid collection of antiques that have been passed down through successive generations of the Tachibana family, over a period of 400 years. In 1994, Tachibana Museum were opened to the public.

Daymyo Tachibana feudal load and the history of the villa Ohana-batake
The grand forefather of Yanagawa's feudal lords is Muneshige Tachibana. For 13 successive generations, up until the Meiji Imperial Restoration of 1868, Tachibana family had been the load of Yanagawa han clan. The villa Ohana-batake was established in 1738 for the residence of the Tachibana family.

Mt.Tachibana (a historic battlefield of the Tachibana family)
by Umezawa Seiga with inscription by Hoashi Banri
hanging scroll, colour on silk

Portrait of TACHIBANA Muneshige (the first load of Yanagawa clan)
with inscription by Rankei Souei (the 152nd chief priest of Daitoku-ji temple)
hanging scroll, colour on silk, 1654

During the Sengoku period (1470 - 1568) Kyushu fell under the control of Hideyoshi Toyotomi. When Muneshige fought on Hideyoshi's side and led Otomo Bungo's advance guard to win a clinching battle, he was rewarded with Yanagawa to establish his domain and castle in. But Muneshige's alliance to Hideyoshi later lost him this domain when Hideyoshi's western army suffered a massive defeat in the famous battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Then, more than 20 years later, Muneshige Tachibana became lord of the castle again.

Saddle with design of Carp ascending a Waterfall
designed by Kano Tan-yu
owned by TACHIBANA Sadayoshi (The 5th load of Yanagawa Han clan)

Illustration of Ohana-batake garden in Edo period

A geographical booklet of historic sites in the latter part of the Edo period of Yanagawa clan, called 'Yanagawa-Meisho-zue'

edited by NISHIHARA Ippo, illustrated by KOGA Tomijiro Nantei

History of Count Tachibana
Between 1910 and 1911, Tomoharu Tachibana, the family's 14th direct descendant, made extensive new constructions on the estate and gardens. He built the Western-style Seiyokan Annex, Ohiroma grand hall, which are all exemplary architectural works of that period.

View of Tachibana's Residence from the main gate. It shows that Seiyokan ( western style-building), gatepost and gatehouse.

Shotoen garden and Ohiroma grand hall in the end of Meiji period

Tachibana family in the beginning of Taisho period

Inside of the western-style Seiyokan Annex in the end of Meiji period

This traditional Japanese-style Shotoen garden, which translates as "rippling pine garden". Each of the approximately 280 pine trees is between 200 and 300 years old. The enormous stone in front of the Ohiroma grand hall was formerly a stone pedestal on Yanagawa's castle tower. Every year between October and April, over 500 wild ducks migrating for the season rest briefly in Shotoen's pond,

After the defeat
After the World War Ⅱ, the Tachibana family started Japanese-style restaurant to entertain visitors at historical sites and help promote local tourism

TACHIBANA Ayako (Tachibana family's 16th direct descendant) and her husband Kazuo in the Ohiroma grand hall, where they opened a high-class Japanese-restaurant.

Tachibana family of 16th and 17th generations
Photograph to remember entrance into a high school of Muneaki taken in Seiyokan (western style-building) in Aprl 1953. Masako, Kiyoko, Ayako, Kayoko from the left in the front row. Tomoshige, Tamio, Kazuo, Muneaki from the left in the back row.

And now
This garden was named Shotoen and was designated as a national site of beauty in 1978, and in 2014 the whole site covering an area of 23,000 square meters was designated in additon.

This museum displays a rich variety of items that convey the history of the Tachibana family: from a suit of armor that once belonged to family ancestor and first feudal lord of Yanagawa, Muneshige Tachibana, to gold and silver lacquer dispatch boxes, cosmetic utensils and Noh theater costumes. The museum also houses a collection of elaborate Edo period dolls, which were loved by successive generations of young Tachibana heiresses. Such a collection is rarely seen even in Japan. Exhibits are rotated throughout the different seasons.

Shotoen garden and Ohiroma grand hall now

Credits: Story

Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Tachibana Foundation
OHANA Co., Ltd.

Credits: All media
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