Thursday, September 1, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Makino Botanical Garden 牧野植物園

Visited 17.11.2014

In memory of Dr Tomitaro Makino. [Extract from "The Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden" brochure] Born in Sakawa, a rural village in the west of Kochi city, on 24 April 1862, Dr Tomitaro Makino (牧野富太郎 博士) devoted his lifetime to botany. He left behind a legacy in the field of botanic research - collected some 40,000 botanical specimens and named over 1,500 new species and sub species of plants during his life. In 1940, after his term as a lecturer at Tokyo University, he published his Illustrated Flora of Japan (牧野日本植物図鑑), a reference work which remains indispensable to professional botanists and enthusiasts today. After his demise in 1957, Makino Botanical Garden was opened to public on April 1958 to honour his phenomenal achievements.  

Statue of Dr Makino.


The botanical garden is way much bigger than I thought.
There are two gates to Makino Botanical Garden - visitors coming from Chikurin-ji will enter the garden via South Gate instead of Main Gate. The entire compound is divided into North and South Garden and made up of smaller parks/gardens with various themes such as Serpentine Park, Limestone Park, 50th Anniversary Garden, Canna and Rose Garden, Cherry and Azalea Garden and Garden of Medicinal Plants. The existing terrain is beautifully landscaped with water features and it felt very calming to stroll along the multiple pathways leading to different parts of the garden. Was expecting to see some autumn foliage here but most of the trees were already on the verge of becoming barren during my visit. Fortunately, I chanced upon the chrysanthemum festival here (normally held in Japan between October and November) and huge displays created using various kinds of chrysanthemum flowers, were put up for exhibition in the garden. There are cherry blossom trees scattered throughout the garden, making this a great place to visit during the flower blooming season from late March to April.

The conservatory with tropical plants.
A 17 m tall conservatory, renovated in 2010, stands right in front of you upon entrance via South Gate. In the conservatory, temperature is being regulated to create an environment similar to tropics. The entire place breeds familiarity since I grew up in a tropical country. The conservatory is filled with lush greenery, decorated with flowers - spotted numerous species of orchids being cultivated here. A visit to Makino Museum, located in the North Garden, is necessary in order to better understand Makino's devotion to botany throughout his lifetime. Visitors can see an interesting construction of his workplace here - a realistic wax figure of Makino hard at work, surrounded by huge piles of reference materials. The buildings here are also aesthetically appealing. Designed by local renowned architect Hiroshi Naito (内藤 廣), a shear amount of timber was utilised to create buildings that harmonised with the natural surroundings. As Makino Botanical Garden is strategically located on a hill (Godaisan), a scenic view of Kochi city can be admired at various spots in the garden too!

A glimpse of Kochi city.
Do allocate at least 2 hours of time in order to fully soak into the serenity of the garden at a leisure pace. There is also a restaurant/cafe (Arbre), housed within Makino Museum, for visitors to take a break and enjoy western cuisine created using local ingredients.

Bari-san for Imabari city of Ehime Prefecture.

Udon-no of Kagawa Prefecture, the region in Japan where Sanuki Udon originated from!

Sudachi-kun from Tokushima Prefecture. Sudachi is a green citrus fruit specialty of prefecture.

Shinjo-kun, from Susaki city of Kochi Prefecture. In fact, I just got to know that this adorable otter wearing a nabeyaki ramen hat (a specialty of Susaki city) came in first in Yura Kyara Grand Prix 2016 (a popularity contest for mascot held in Japan annually)! 

Makino Botanical Garden 牧野植物園
〒781-8125 高知県高知市五台山4200-6
Operating hours: 0900 - 1700 hrs
Closed from 27 Dec to 1 Jan.
Admission fee = 720 yen

How to get there? 
(1) MY Yu Bus (MY遊バス). At Kochi JR Station, board MY Yu Bus heading for Katsurahama and alight at Makino Botantical Garden (牧野植物園).
Kochi JR Station <> Katsurahama: 1 Day Pass = 1,000 yen
Kochi JR Station <> Chikurin-ji: Godaisan 1 Day Pass = 600 yen
MY Yu Bus:

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