Any visit to Kochi on the southern coast of Shikoku should include a trip to the Godaisan area to the south of the city. There is much to see here including the beautiful temple, Chikurinji, but the highlight for me was the Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden.
First opened in 1958 this wonderful garden was created in honor of Tomitaro Makino (1962-1957), Japan's greatest botanist. Born locally Makino began his study of botany at Tokyo University, starting the Botanical Magazine Tokyo (now the Journal of Plant Research). Throughout his career, Makino traveled throughout Japan collecting over 400,000 specimens and naming over 1500 species.
The garden is split into north and south gardens each with several sections with different environments, reflecting the varied flora that is found in Japan. There is a garden of medicinal plants, an oak garden, a bamboo grove, a tropical conservatory, a marsh area as well as a large cherry-blossom garden and a tea ceremony garden. There are over 50 species of azalea and 20 species of chrysanthemum growing altogether in the garden.
The Makino Museum of Plants & People on the grounds tells the great man's life story in life-size dioramas. There are interactive displays explaining the natural world and its glories, which is of interest to both adults and children who have a love for plants. A small cafe and terrace overlooks the courtyard garden.
Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden
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Friday, June 06, 2008