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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kyushu - Satsuma Peninsula
Chiran Samurai District
# 2   of 5 most visited sights
in Satsuma Peninsula

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Stone walls and hedges along the main street of Chiran's samurai district

Chiran (知覧) is a small town in the middle of the Satsuma Peninsula in Kagoshima Prefecture. Within the town there is a preserved samurai district with houses and gardens that date back about 250 years. Chiran's isolated location at the southern end of Kyushu has allowed the district to keep much of its historical character intact.

The preserved samurai district consists of a 700 meter long street within downtown Chiran that runs parallel to the main thoroughfare. The street itself is very attractive, with the rock walls and hedges of residences and the forested hillsides in the distance. Unlike some other samurai districts, it is also free of telephone poles and parked cars that would detract from the historic atmosphere.

A group of travelers walk between residences and gardens

Seven gardens attached to samurai residences are open to the public, while the buildings themselves cannot be entered. The gardens are relatively small and designed to be viewed from the residences. Five out of the seven gardens are of the Karesansui Dry Garden variety. Of the other two, one includes a pond and the other is composed of trimmed shrubs.

A 500 yen entrance fee allows tourists to visit all seven gardens. Entry tickets cannot be purchased at the gardens themselves except the one at the northern end of the district. They are also available at a few shops adjacent to parking lots along the main street that runs parallel to the samurai district.

One of the samurai district's seven gardens

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How to get there
The samurai district can be reached by hourly buses from Kagoshima (80 minutes, around 900 yen, departing from Kagoshima Chuo Station and the Yamagataya Bus Center), which also stop at Hirakawa Station (30 minutes to Chiran) along the way. Get off at the Bukeyashiki-iriguchi (武家屋敷入口) bus stop. Most of the buses continue to the Chiran Tokko Museum, which is about two kilometers away.

How to get to and around the Satsuma Peninsula

Hours and Fees
Hours:9:00 to 17:00
Closed:No closing days
Admission:500 yen (includes all seven gardens)

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User Ratings
Ratings for Chiran Samurai District:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  interesting  
User Rating (by 10 users):
78/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 781):
469.  Kitano (Kobe)   78/100
470.  Shinsekai (Osaka)   78/100
471.  Ohara Museum (Kurashiki)   78/100
472.  Museum of History (Miyajima)   78/100
473.  Yunotsu Onsen (Iwami Ginzan)   78/100
474.  Chiran Samurai District (Satsuma Peninsula)   78/100
475.  Zuiganji Temple (Matsushima)   78/100
476.  Edo Open Air Museum (Tokyo)   78/100
477.  Ohori Park (Fukuoka)   78/100
478.  Peace Osaka (Osaka)   78/100
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718.  Takahashi Old Town (Bitchu-Takahashi)   27
719.  Tamagawa Onsen (Hachimantai)   27
720.  Manyo Bunkakan (Asuka)   27
721.  Nihon Minkaen (Kawasaki)   27
722.  Aquamarine (Iwaki)   26
723.  Chiran Samurai District (Satsuma Peninsula)   26
724.  Shiobara Onsen (Nasu-Shiobara)   26
725.  Sado Bugyosho (Sado Island)   26
726.  Stork Sanctuary (Kinosaki)   26
727.  Ryozenji Temple (Naruto)   26

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Japanese Links
Chiran Samurai Houses and Gardens Preservation Association
Official website.

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