Okinawa Tourism Information:NanjoIkoinoOpenGarden

Nanjo Ikoi no Open Garden

post : 2014.11.14 16:00

 From Saturday, April 5th to Sunday the 13th the “Ikoi no Open Garden” is being held in Nanjo in southern Okinawa.
An open garden is when someone opens their private garden to the general public and people can come see careful raised flowers and beautifully manicured gardens. You can see some truly unique gardens.

Let’s ask the mascot of Nanjo, Nanji, what the highlight of “Ikoi no Open Garden” is.
“There are open gardens outside of Okinawa but they are mainly in public parks. ‘Ikoi no Open Garden’ which started 5 years ago is centered around gardens of private residences and with the cooperation of the region it is becoming like a local based redevelopment, making it kind of unique.”

 It is very rare to be able to visit the gardens of private residences.

“By being able to visit the gardens of Nanjo citizens is attractive because locals and tourists can interact with each other.”
You start from buying a passport with guidebook at the Nanjo Regional Market (or 11 other locations). Out of the 25 locations in the official guidebook some have to chosen to receive introductions.  
The first one I went was the house of Yoshiharu Tsuhako (guidebook No. 14) in Sashiki, Nanjo which is on the poster and the cover of the guidebook. It is so popular that there are people who come in group buses to come see the garden.
In the wide yard of about 1750m2 there are Okinawan native plants like the Okinawa pine and black ebony, you can also see bonsai trees that Tsuhako has been growing since his teens.

The next one I visit was the house of Masahiko Hattori (guidebook No.20) in Chinen, Nanjo. Hattori ,who is in a location were you can see the Niraikanai Bridge and the sea, also runs a bed and breakfast, and he plants flowers with the kids who stay there. There are a bunch of flowers in bloom in his garden such as marigolds and violas.
It goes without saying that there Okinawan feeling plants like the hibiscus and the bougainvillea.
Mieko Toyama’ house (guidebook no.11) in Tamagusuku, Nanjo.  
Toyama told us that “More than anything it is fun to communicate and exchange information about flower with the people who come.
She also manages a bed and breakfast and loves to have exchanges with people.
The backyard is a must see.
The garden is which has handmade vases and flowerpots made with love by the couple it can boast it won a the “DIY Photo Contest” sponsored by Okinawa Times  

The flower field of Mitsuko Niisato in Ozato, Nanjo (Guidebook No. 3) is along a prefectural road and in 2008 it won first prize in the “Nanjo City Street Greening Awards”. There are flowers that bloom brilliantly such as pink-colored cleome and purple-colored irises.     

Last I went to Sashiki, Nanjo to go to Ryu Shiohira’s house (Guidebook No. 23). Shiohara greeted his guest with a smile. He is actually one who put the open garden in Nanjo City together.

While working as chairman for the tourism association he had an urge to have a Nanjo-style open guarding and took the initiative to open his garden to the public. In regards to parking with the cooperation of people nearby by and the region he guaranteed. Working jointly with the chamber of commerce and industry, they have brought a homemade and warm open garden to life.

It the beginning is started off with 13 locations but in its 5 years it has increase to 72 locations and it is held twice a year once in spring and once in autumn.  

 Shiohira said “you can see flowers in spring, so please come.”

Okinawa is warmer than mainland Japan so the flower season starts a bit earlier. It is best season to see a many types of brilliant flowers in bloom.
Nanjo-shi Ikoi no Open Garden
Open Period: Saturday, April 5th 2014-Sunday April 13th
Hours: 10:00am-5:00pm
Place: Various designated gardens in Nanjo
Admission: 1 passport per person 500 yen
Sponsor: Nanjo Tourism Association
TEL: 098-948-4811
Sales Points: 12 locations including:
Nanjo Regional Market
Nanjo City Ozato Government Building
Yunichi Hotel Nanjo

Okinawa Clip Photowriter Hiroshi Kuwamura