Ofuna Botanical Garden

Always something beautiful in bloom at this hidden gem

By Jessica A Paje    - 2 min read

Ofuna is well known for its bright white, bust statue of Kan'non that can easily be viewed from the train windows running on the JR East Tokaido Line. But, there are other sites in the area that make exploring off the Buddhist path so much more exciting. I discovered the Kanagawa Prefectural Ofuna Botanical Garden Flower Center (神奈川県立フラワーセンター大船植物園), simply known as Ofuna Botanical Garden, just 5-minutes from Ofuna Station by car. Located on the corner of Route 402 & 302, there is ample parking at just 220yen for the first hour.

Ofuna Botanical Garden opened in 1962 and visitors can always find something beautiful in bloom each season. For the month of October, admire the Rose, Camesa, Chrysanthemum, and Salvia. Oh, the classic beauty and fragrant smell of the roses! I spent most of my time here wandering around the paths of 1,200 rose bushes, before I remembered there was so much more to discover before closing time.

Just on the opposite end of the garden is the Greenhouse. Rebuilt in October 1992 to commemorate the 30th anniversary, visitors can take pleasure in viewing 1,300 kinds of exotic flower plants from tropical and subtropical regions throughout the year. The Water Lily and Orchid are just strikingly beautiful!

In between the two gardens is a large grassy area where children can run freely under the crisp autumn sky. There are a few park benches beneath the towering maple trees, too. Just along the concrete path is an arch trellis full of interesting hanging fruit. Thankfully, there are signs indicating the type of flower or plant written in English and Japanese. So, I immediately learned they are called, “Luffa Eegyptiaca” or “Egyptian Cucumber,” and are well known as the scrubbing bath sponge “loofah.”

According to the Kanagawa Prefectural Government website, the Peony and Japanese Iris have been cultivated here since the early 1920’s during the Taisho period. These particular flowers can only be seen here at the Ofuna Botanical Garden and the best viewing season is May and June. So, mark your calendars now!

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Jessica A Paje

Jessica A Paje @jessica.paje

From San Diego, California, I lived in Japan for 5 years and am now in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 2010, I arrived in Yokosuka with a new outlook on my future. Mainly, to refocus on family and let my curiosities take us to places we’ve only dreamt of. Along the way, we’d hopefully develop new friendships and simply collect memories to last a lifetime. Then, there was the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. I will never forget that experience and the devastating effects it had on the entire country. I asked the community, “What can I do to help?” Collecting, sorting, and packing donations, was the least I could do. I also went to California for 1 month, raised a monetary donation for Red Cross, and secured phone interviews to help spread the word on how others from the USA could assist. I was determined to show my family, friends, and folks across the world that it would be okay to return to Japan. I wanted them to know that the little things that make up this beautiful country still existed. What better way than to use a platform such as Japan Travel to share photos and stories full of life, history, and culture. It is a pleasure to say I have contributed more than 150 articles to a database that now collectively holds more than 15,000! This journey has not only allowed me to realize my initial goals, but I’d like to think that it has somehow played a role in sparking an interest locally and across the globe for others to experience all that is published here and more. I invite you to also share your wonderful stories, offer comments, and ask questions right here. Feel free to contact me at jessica.paje@japantravel.com. Safe travels! ٩( ๑╹ ꇴ╹)۶

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Kim B 6 months ago
A hidden gem indeed - I've been to this area a number of times and didn't know about the garden! A good reason to return!
Elena Lisina 6 months ago
I love such places! :)