Akatsuka Botanical Garden: Garden of Man’yō and Medicinal Plants

The main entrance to Akatsuka Botanical Garden
The main entrance to Akatsuka Botanical Garden

Name

赤塚植物園万葉・薬用園
あかつかしょくぶつえんまんよう・やくようえん
Akatsuka shokubutsuen man’yō-yakuyōen
Akatsuka Botanical Garden: Garden of Man’yō and Medicinal Plants

Location

Tokyo

Address

東京都板橋区赤塚5-17-14
Akatsuka 5-17-14, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo

Contact

TEL: 03(3579)2533 (Japanese only)
d-midori@city.itabashi.tokyo.jp (Japanese only)

Website

http://park.tachikawaonline.jp/plantes/3_akatsuka.htm

Opening hours

The garden is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (4:00 p.m. between December-February). It is closed between 28 December-4 January every year.

The Garden Office is closed every Monday, except when this falls on  a public holiday, when it is closed the following working day.

Access

The garden is approximately 16 minutes walk from either Shimo akatsuka (下赤塚) or Narimasu (成増) stations on the Tōbu Tōjō line from Ikebukuro.

Alternatively, from the north exit of Narimasu station, take a bus bound for either Shimura sanchōme station (志村三丁目駅) or the west exit of Akabane station (赤羽駅西口) and get off at Akatsuka hacchōme (赤塚八丁目). The garden is approximately five minutes walk from this bus-stop.

Description

The pond and marsh area of the garden.
The pond and marsh area of the garden.

The Man’yō garden is reached by walking up the hill along the paths of the main botanical garden itself. Upon exiting the garden by the rear exit, one is immediately faced by the Man’yō garden. This is broadly divided into three sections, covering plants of the plains, plants of the mountains, and plants of the marshes. A small pond forms a centre piece for the garden, crossed by a zig-zag wooden bridge, while a series of gravel paths meander through the garden, past the plants, and occasional benches where one can take a rest and relax while contemplating the beauties of nature. The Man’yō plants are marked with plaques giving their modern Japanese name, Man’yō name, and a sample poem, and about 90 of the approximately 160 plants referenced in the Man’yōshū are represented.

Both the main Botanical Garden, and the garden of Man’yō and Medicinal Plants are mini-oases of nature in the midst of urban Tokyo, which account for their popularity with the local people, although when I visited, early on a weekday morning, just after opening time, they were virtually empty, giving a welcome moment of solitude and peace after the hectic pace of Tokyo life.

History

Akatsuka Botanical Garden was established as the first municipal botanical garden in Tokyo in 1981. It covers approximately one hectare and hosts about 600 different varieties of plants. The garden of Man’yō and Medicinal Plants was established later, in 1986, when the local government had the opportunity to acquire the land immediately behind the main garden and, given the Botanical Garden’s proximity to a number of cultural and religious facilities (Itabashi Art Museum, Jōrenji temple – home to the Big Buddha of Tokyo), it was decided that the extension to the garden should contribute to the cultural and educational character of the locality, resulting in the decision to create a garden of Man’yō and Medicinal Plants. Prior to the construction of the garden, the land was residential, and some of the established trees, being Man’yō plants themselves, were retained and incorporated into the garden when it was built.

Principal Plants

Marshland

Java water dropwort Rabbit ear Iris  Common Reeds Water fringe

Plains

Cogon Grass
Kudzu
Fujibakama
Japanese bindweed
Japanese dock
Paris
Golden valerian
Asiatic Dayflower
Inutade
Maiden grass
Northeastern violets
Yomena
Superb pinks
Madder

Mountains

Katakuri
Mountain lily
Okera
Dwarf lilyturf
Madder Blackberry lily

Trees and Other Plants

Japanese pieris
Japanese cherry
Japanese bush cherry
Deutzia
Japanese big-leaf magnolia
Hamilton’s spindletree
Japanese bitter orange
Torch azalea
Kerria
Japanese star anise
Yamamomiji
Pussy willow
Peach
Wisteria
Japanese snowbell
Japanese apricot
Azusa
Large flowererd barrenwort
Japanese camelia
Neem tree
Asiatic Jasmine
Kadsura

'Simply moving and elegant'