Nakanojo Gardens is a celebration of nature in all its forms. The Japanese have a spiritual affinity with nature, whether through Shinto, or in its appreciation of the four seasons. While in the past Japanese gardens were more formal, Nakanjo has taken on a more contemporary approach, by the inclusion of more casual areas where you can have a picnic or take part in the community herb garden. There are also a number of greenhouses and exhibition rooms, filled with plants and flowers that is open to the public. In the centre, they created a spiral display with a lot of flowers, depending on the season.
I went there in April to see the cherry blossoms, and there are also tulips and daffodils at other times. Right now you can enjoy the hydrangea blossoms. There is also a pleasant restaurant where you can eat a great curry or buy a small bonsai plant for around 2,000 yen. Nearby is a shop specialising in local produce, such as tea or honey.
The fields of tulips and lilies were the inspiration for painters and artisans alike. From Akira Isogawa to Claude Monet, the dance of sunlight and rain created a natural canvas for them. There are vivid reds and lilacs and purples, in every hue under the rainbow.
This garden is the kind of place where both adult and child can be on the same level, for the charms of this sanctuary brings a childhood sense of play in the most serious adult. In some ways it reminds me of Ai Yamaguchi’s art installation of Toge no Ochaya or Teahouse of the Mountain Pass , a kind of Neverland where the children never grow old.
The park is situated less than 15 minutes by car from the Nakanojo station, with free parking and admission to the park.