Behind the Kutchan Train Station (south west Hokkaido, near Niseko) is a place where people from all over the world come together. It’s the garden of the home of 75 year-old Kazuo Mishima.
From the end of May through mid-June, the garden is blanketed in magnificent Shibazakura (also nicknamed “Pink Moss”) blossoms.
Not a single blossom was bought; they were all planted and grown from seeds. Mishima san has nurtured the tiny blossoms over the years to create the garden we see today, which continues to grow little by little.
▲In a few years, all of this will be covered with the tiny pink shibazakura flowers.
▲He laid each stone and brought all of the gravel to the garden by himself!
Mishima san is from a family that farmed various vegetables, always paying very close attention to even the smallest of details cultivation. After retiring about ten years ago, he decided to start growing the flowers in order to restore and protect the land.
“It just hit me one day – I wanted to build a small hill and plant shibazakura all to cover it. I had an image of a kind of paradise created by the flowers. Had I known it would become this popular, I would have made a more specific plan,” he said.
Tourists began visiting the garden three years after it was started. After being featured in a newspaper, people learned of the garden and word began to spread fast through other forms of mass communication and word of mouth It is for that reason that the number of visitors continues to increase every year. There are now buses to bring tourists and it is even featured at the Kutchan tourist center.
“Every once in a while you’ll see someone mesmerized by the flowers, like they are immersed in this paradise. When I see that, it brings me great happiness.”
To keep this sense of openness, the garden will never have an entrance fee. Recently, Mishima san has even allowed guests to use the restroom in his home. Strangers’ cars are always surrounding Mishima’s home as they come to pay a visit to the garden, but it’s never a bother for Mishima san.
Mishima san explains, “It’s free so there is no sense of entitlement or complaint from guests. They’re very courteous guests.”
He says he travels by himself a lot, and loves talking to people in the different places he goes, “ so I’m looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over the country coming to my garden.”
One couple even came to this spot to take wedding pictures. I can only imagine how happy that couple must have been to have such lovely surroundings.
“The bride came with her wedding dress but was missing her bouquet so I quickly made a present of some flowers from the garden for her.”
Mishima san is dedicated to keeping this garden a pleasant and FREE garden. From allowing guests to use his home restroom, to making a parking area, to giving bride and grooms beautiful presents of flowers, Mishima has created a truly wonderful and friendly place. If there is a heaven, surely it is a place reminiscent of this beautiful garden.
Mishima San’s Shibazakura Garden Park
Phone：0136-56-8009（Kutchan Town Hall）
※The garden reached full bloom last week, so hurry out to see the flowers before they are gone for the season!
( Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer – Yamashita Jun )