On March 25th Yokohama kicked off their 33rd Garden Necklace Flower Fair, which will run through June 4th. This was my 4th annual attendance and I can say unequivocally the best. From the moment I started walking through Yamashita Park, the 1962 Peter, Paul and Mary song “Where have all the flowers gone?” danced through my head as I answered their question. They have all gone to Yokohama.
The planning process for this year’s presentation began with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism back in 2014 and execution started in March 2016. To make this a success many people are involved from several government agencies, design consultants, gardening companies, procurement of plants, and hundreds of volunteers. This event boasts over one million flowers.
You will notice at each venue there is a Garden Bear with his blooming head of flowers, especially the very large one in Yamashita Park. He is the symbol for the 2017 Yokohama Garden Necklace Fair.
At almost all the locations there are information centers with display maps and brochures. I found the English brochures at the Information Center Yokohama Station. A very popular tradition here in Japan is to stamp a paper reflecting all the places you have visited. Look for the stamp at tables in front of the information tents.
Along Nihon Odori Street and Yokohama Park you will see prefecture and city representation with their local flowers as well as silhouettes of their famous attractions.
My walked started with Grand Mall Park, continued on to Nippon Maru Memorial Park, Canal Park, Shinko Central Plaza (next to Red Brick Warehouse), Zou-no-hana Park, Yamashita Park, back to Nihon Odori Street, and finally Yokohama Park.
On a separate day I walked to the Bluff area venues, America Yama Park, Bluff Garden 99, and Harbor View Park. The miniature house display at Harbor View was very beautiful, depicting several of the historic houses on the Bluff.
The mother load of them all was this year’s main venue Satoyama Garden. It is located near Nakayama Station on the Yokohama Subway Blue Line. There is a flowerbed that is 10, 000 square meters (2.5 Acres), plus a Japanese Iris Garden, Yato Rape Weed Flower Field, and a Forest and Outer Garden path. If that doesn’t tire you out they also have zip lining, camping, and finally the popular Yokohama Zoo Zoorasia for a fee.
To maintain Satoyama Garden there are 99 volunteers who cut grass, weed, sweep, and pickup fallen flower pedals.
On one of my walks last year I passed by Satoyama while it was under construction and had no idea how beautiful it would become. Once the Fair is concluded this Garden will convert to a permanent Botanical Garden. I will be coming back in late May to see the Iris display.
Still want to see more? There are several outlying venues that are participating including Yokohama English Garden (Nishi-ku), Hakkeijima (Kanazawa-ku), Matanobettei Garden (Totsuka-ku), Maioka Furusato Village (Totuska-ku), Jike Furusato Village (Aoba-ku), and of course the very famous beautiful Sankeien Gardens.
Over the next several months I plan on visiting all of them.
Yokohama has so much to offer her visitors, and for the flower lovers like myself it is utopia.