Manyo Botanical Garden, situated within the precincts of Kasuga Taisha Shrine, has 300 kinds of plants, all mentioned in Manyo-shu (Ten-Thousand Tanka: the oldest anthology of tanka poems). Especially in May, 200 wisteria swaying in the wind are lovely. The wisteria is the symbol of the Fujiwara clan, who originally enshrined their guardian god here at the foot of Kasuga Hill. There is a Japanese teahouse ‘Ninai-jaya’ on the long approach to the shrine. The entrance of the garden is just behind the teahouse. By the way, the Garden has some special events twice a year (May 5th and November 3rd), featuring ancient court music and dance (YouTube video).
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Japan is a small island nation, but we have a huge number of surprising things to discover here. Many of these delights can be found when you step off the main street onto small side paths. I really enjoy studying about and researching various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and then sharing this information with visitors to Japan. I hope you will enjoy it, too! ARTICLE INDEX & PHOTOS: An index of most of my Japan Travel articles can be found at the entry page of my blog, and my photos are shown here. 日本はとても小さな国ですが、大通りから一本小道に入ればたくさんの発見があります。日本人が積み重ねてきた歴史を学びながら、古い建物や庭を訪ね、物語の舞台となった景色を眺めて、皆様といっしょに日本文化の奥深さを探求していきたいと思います。