Maizuru Park, the site of the ruins of Fukuoka Castle, is well known for its cherry blossoms, but did you know about its peony garden? After the cherry blossoms have fallen, you can enjoy peonies of many colors—red, pink, white and yellow—in April and May. The peony garden is located on the ruins of Otaka Yashiki, the dwelling where Fukuoka’s founding father Kanbei Kuroda spent the later years of his life.
Next to the garden stands the nagaya (‘long house’) gate of the old Tahei Mori residence. Tahei Mori, a Kuroda vassal, is the hero in the Kuroda-bushi folk song who is said to have won the famed Nihon-go spear by quaffing a large cup of sake. This prime example of an Edo era nagaya gate used to serve as the entrance to the living quarters for low-level samurai before it was moved to Mori’s residence. Right next door is a wisteria arbor, whose gorgeous purple flowers also bloom in April and May.
If you walk down the road toward the Fukuoka City Art Museum, you will soon run into the iris garden. The purple and white irises bloom in May and June, and you will likely see many people strolling through the garden at this time of year. Not far from the garden is the Tamon Turret, a nationally designated Important Cultural Property. Fukuoka Castle was said to have 47 turrets, but the Tamon Turret is the only one still standing in its original location.
Irises also grow in the moats around the park. Later, between May and August, you can enjoy water lilies on the moats, followed by lotuses in July and August. The Shiomi Turret, located next to one of the moats, was originally in the castle’s sannomaru, or outer perimeter, and was used to keep watch on the tides of Hakata Bay.
In early summer, Maizuru Park is abloom with many different kinds of flowers. Stop by to admire the view as you walk through Fukuoka’s historical ruins.