Josui-dori Ave. in Chuo Ward is well-known for being a high-end residential neighborhood. Many city residents dream of moving there to enjoy the quiet atmosphere and abundant greenery. The name Josui-dori is derived from the Hirao Josui-jo (water purification plant) that used to be located at the end of the street. Opened in 1923, the plant was in operation until 1976, and the site of the former plant is where the Botanical Garden now sits. Some remains of the plant, as well as a commemorative monument, can be found inside the garden.
Another neighborhood that Josui-dori passes through is Yakuin. In the 8th century, a noble named Kibi no Makibi was sent to work in Dazaifu, which was then the seat of government for the area. He opened a seyakuin, or medicinal herb clinic, in the area, hence the name Yakuin. This was nearly 1,300 years ago, and in the Edo era (1600-1868), Yakuin was known as a place where many doctors lived. Hirao Sanso is another landmark on the street. It is where Botoni Nomura, a female poet whose work inspired those loyal to the Emperor at the end of the Edo era, lived.
Josui-dori, with its ever-so-slight uphill grade unique mix of churches, restaurants, candy shops and florists, makes for a perfect walking course. A must-see spot on the street is Shofuen, a Japanese garden featuring tea rooms built in the early Showa era. You can enjoy the garden in any season as well as seasonal tea ceremony events.
Shofuen is where the residence of Zenhachi Tanakamaru, the founder of the Fukuoka-based Tamaya department store, was located. Until the park was open to the public in 2007, it was a private residence, although it is hard to believe there was a private home with Japanese maples over 100 years old, numerous stone lanterns, and tea rooms built by master artisans from Kyoto!
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn232, Apr. 2018)