The poet Wakayama Bokusui was born and raised in a beautiful mountain village from which he journeyed far and wide in Japan and Korea writing Tanka poems about the natural wonders he saw on his travels. It is said that his heavy drinking, including (but not necessarily limited to) the earthy sweet potato shochu common to Miyazaki, was responsible for his early death.
Is not a white bird forlorn? It melts neither into the sky blue nor into the sea blue. It flies and floats. -Wakayama Bokusui (1885–1928)
While there are museums honoring the poet here and there around Japan, this is where he was born and grew up, and many of his local fans no doubt believe his early memories live on in his poems. A number of his devotees, therefore, make the trip out here to see his birth home. Others visit to take in the view and breathe the fresh air.
Miyazaki is rich in such natural spots, and the further inland you go, the better you will be rewarded. Bokusui Park (Koen) is one jewel of an example. Bokusui’s house is inside the park, and you can actually catch a glimpse of the rooms from the outside. If you follow the steps behind the house, you will come to a small shrine and a stone slab inscribed with one of the writer’s poems. There is also a museum in the park, if you want to learn more about the poet. Across from the house is the rather expansive park with several viewing platforms to take in the scenery. Kids will enjoy the many slides and other contraptions built into the hills. One can take a picnic lunch and enjoy the surroundings, or have a soba lunch at a restaurant right in the park.
Be forewarned, the site is fairly remote despite it being quite famous. Despite the remoteness (or perhaps it is exactly because of it) once there, you will not want to leave. There is swimming nearby, and it is possible to book cottages here, as in many rural tourist spots, although demand can be higher than availability. The tourist division of the Chamber of Commerce can help you with reservations and other inquiries. Please note that the person calling or faxing will need to do so in Japanese: Tel 0982-69-7720; fax 0982-69-7720.