By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs.
I have been very fortunate over the years to explore many gardens throughout Japan. This was my seventh time to Japan and you would think after this many visits that I would have seen it all. But the wonderful thing about the gardens, parks and landscapes in Japan is that they are always breathtakingly beautiful. You can never get tired looking at the scenery in this part of the world. However, on this trip I wanted to stay further away from the big bustling cities. I hid in small mountainous town surrounded by stunning views and sapphire rivers; this town is called Otoyo-Cho which is located in Nagaoka District, Kochi Prefecture.
During my time in Otoyo I spent a lot of my time adventuring out on long day drives to explore temples, shrines and a few gardens. One of the most memorable gardens I visited was in Kitagawa Village called ‘Monet’s Garden’. This garden was a 3 hour drive from where I was staying, and after a long car drive I was excited to get out and explore.
These gardens have been inspired and designed to recreate Monet’s “Water Lilies” garden. The water lilies are the star in many of his famous paintings. The large pond is the main attraction which draws gardeners from all across Japan to come visit. The colourful blooms of the water lilies sit proudly atop of the water surface, which are best viewed during the day before the flowers close in the evening. The gardens sit nestled amongst the mountains and the rolling hills add another layer to the romantic and tranquil atmosphere of this garden.
Every garden-bed border was smothered in colourful blooms such as Viola, Sweat Pea, Oenothera, Achillea, Poppies and many more amazing plants! The Hippeastrums flowers were the size of dinner plates and the vibrancy of the flowers were unbelievable! If you find yourself in this part of the world I would highly recommend taking the time to take a look at this garden and take in the beautiful scenery.