Futagamiyama kōen man’yō shokubutsuen
Futagami Mountain Park: Man’yō Botanical Garden
Outside Takaoka in Toyama Prefecture.
Not applicable: the park is an extended area of natural countryside.
TEL: 076-620-1416 (Takaoka City Parks and Greenery Section; Japanese only)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Japanese only)
The website (Japanese) provides a brief description of the park’s facilities, maps of suggested hiking courses, access and contact details.
The park is open permanently, unless the roads are closed due to inclement weather.
Futagamiyama Mountain Park is laid out along the 8.4 kilometre Man’yō Line (man’yō rain 万葉ライン) route and so is best accessed by car. The Man’yō Line can be entered and exited at two points: Moriyama Intersection (moriyama kōsaten 守山交差点) on National Route 165, or Fushikikofu Intersection (fushikikofu kōsaten 伏木古府交差点) on National Route 415. There is parking near the Botanical Garden, but it is limited.
Visitors wishing to use public transport and hike to the botanical garden, should take the Kaetsunō Bus (加越能バス) company’s service (Jōkōji via Futagami Line (futagami keiyu jōkōji sen 二上経由城光寺線) from Takaoka station (takaoka ekimae 高岡駅前) bound for Futagami danchi-mae (二上団地前) and get off at Shimofutagami (下二上) near the end of the line. Follow the Maboroshi no Taki (幻の滝) hiking course (total length 5.5 km) from the bus-stop, and you will reach the garden after about 30 minutes walk. The entire course takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to walk, and ends up at the Jōkōji Exercise Park bus stop (jōkōji undō kōen 城光寺運動公園), from where you can catch the bus back to Takaoka. Note that this is a hiking, and not a walking course, the paths/roads can be steep and slippery, particularly after rain, and you are not advised to attempt the walk unless properly equipped and in good health and fitness.
Futagami Mountain Park’s Man’yō Botanical Garden is one of the most remote examples of this type of facility, however, its setting is one of its advantages. After enjoying spectacular views over Takaoka and its surroundings on the drive up the Man’yō Line – provided the weather is clear – and passing a statue of Ōtomo no Yakamochi, brush in hand, keeping a careful eye on passers-by, one eventually reaches the moss-covered stone that marks the entrance to the garden. The entrance itself is an unprepossessing, narrow path leading up the mountainside, but follow it and you come across a small network of trails leading ascending and descending over a section of the mountainside. Here and there along the trails one finds concrete plinths with attached stainless steel plates – these mark the location of the garden’s Man’yō plants, and provide a poem, and some information about each plant’s usage in Man’yō times. The number of specifically Man’yō plants is small – around thirty – because the impetus behind the design was to include only those plants which were native to the province Man’yō times, rather than the complete collection. This makes Futagamiyama one of the most locally focussed of all the gardens.
As well as the plaques marking the Man’yō plants, there are others providing brief information about the local wildlife, a small shrine to one of the local deities, and a shelter and benches where one can rest while enjoying the surroundings. When I visited, the garden was desserted, with no-one there apart from my guides from the Greenery and Parks Department and myself, but it was in the immediate aftermath of the passage of a typhoon, and so was both wet and windy! On a more pleasant day, I can well imagine the Garden being a pleasant rest spot in which to pause while hiking through the Mountain Park, or something to take in on a more extended tour of Takaoka’s Man’yō heritage.
Takaoka has an extremely long connection with the Man’yōshū in that the residence of the Provincial Governor of the old province of Etchū 越中 lies within its bounds, and Ōtomo no Yakamochi actually filled this role and lived there between 746-51, composing a number of poems which later were included in the Man’yōshū while he was there. As a result, the city badges itself as a ‘Man’yō Town’ and Man’yō-related events and facilities are to be found everywhere within it (even the local streetcar system is also named the ‘Man’yō Line‘ (man’yōsen 万葉線)!
When the Man’yō Botanical Garden was opened in 1978, it was conceived as contributing to the city’s Man’yō facilities, and as a way of exhibiting the 39 Man’yō plants which have a close connection with Etchū province. The location on Mount Futagami was chosen as it was believed to be a location which Yakamochi himself loved, and it was hoped that visitors to the Garden would come to love the location as he did. The selection of poems, and associated information for the plaques was provided by Professor Shinno Kyūgorō 進野久五郎 of Toyama University, an expert in the botany of the prefecture.
Plants and Poems
The plants marked with plaques (not all of which have poems) in the garden are:
Additional plants mentioned in the Garden’s publicity material, with specimen poems are: