Kii Fudoki no Oka: Man’yō Botanical Garden

The view from the museum building up to the tumuli
The view from the museum building up to the tumuli

Name

和歌山紀伊風土記の丘:万葉植物園
わかやまきいふどきのおか:まんようしょくぶつえん
Wakayama kii fudoki no oka: Man’yō shokubutsuen
Wakayama Prefecture Kii-fudoki-no-oka Museum of Archaeology and Folklore: Man’yō Botanical Garden

Location

Wakayama, Wakayama Prefecture

Address

〒640-8301 和歌山市岩橋1411
1411 Iwase, Wakayama-shi, 640-8301

Opening Hours

The museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m (last entrance at 4:00 p.m.)

It is closed every Monday, or the following working day when Monday is a public holiday, and over the New Year Holiday period (29 December-3 January). There will also be irregular closures when the exhibits are changed.

Entrance charges

Entrance is free to children of high-school age and younger, those over 65, the disabled, and exchange students studying within Wakayama prefecture (proof of age/status required).

General admittance

  Individuals Groups
Adults 190 yen 150 yen
Students 90 yen 70 yen

Special exhibitions

  Individuals Groups
Adults 350 yen 290 yen
Students 210 yen 160 yen

Contact

Tel: 073-471-6123 (Japanese only).

Website

http://www.kiifudoki.wakayama-c.ed.jp/
The website (Japanese) provides a considerable amount of information about the museum and its activities. The section on the Man’yō Botanical Garden gives a brief description of the garden, and explanation and images of the major poems displayed on stone plaques, and links to separate pages focussing on the plants in the garden by the month in which they are at their best and their associated poems. Images are provided for all of the plants listed.

Access

By car, the museum is about 5 minutes’ drive from the Wakayama intaa (和歌山インター) interchange on the Hanwa Expressway.

Visitors using public transport from Wakayama should take the Wakayama Bus (和歌山バス) company’s no. 90 or 94 service from stand no. 5 at the east exit of JR Wakayama station (JR和歌山駅東口). The service runs approximately every hour, and terminates at the museum car park. It is then a short walk to the museum itself.

Description

A poem carved in stone, with an explanation beside it
A poem carved in stone, with an explanation beside it

One approaches the museum from the car park along a broard, two lane, but generally vehicle-free street, at the end of which the museum building sits as a gateway to the tumuli beyond. The building itself is a split-level, concrete affair, and after climbing the stairs into the museum and paying one’s entrance fee, one has the choice of either viewing the exhibits inside, or heading out and across a pedestrian bridge into the grounds to view the tumuli and, of course, the Man’yō Botanical Garden.

In the grounds, a series of paths wind up the hill past and around the mounds, leading, one the western side, in the end to the Man’yō Garden. Here a main path gradually winds even further up the hill, past displays of plants and poems, and several monumental centrepieces of poems carved in calligraphic (and therefore illegible to all but specialists) form on polished stone slabs, which, in turn, are attached to a variety of stone plinths. Scattered about in these areas are benches on which to sit and look back down the hill while enjoying the plants around one. The garden covers a total area of about 1650 m2. Eventually, the main path leads to the top of the hill, where a shelter sits among the trees, affording protection from the sun or rain, and a view over the hillside’s trees and Wakayama.

There were few visitors to the museum the day I was there, but that was during the distant passage of a typhoon, and so it was raining heavily and constantly. Nevertheless, accompanied by the curator of the Man’yō collection, I climbed all the way to the shelter at the top of the garden, where we sat and discussed poetry – truly a balm for the soul.

History

As one of the key loci of Man’yō civilisation, Wakayama prefecture has a long and intimate connection with the anthology, with a substantial number of its poems having been composed in the area, or refer to locations within it. The Kii fudoki no oka Prefectural Museum of Archaeology and Folklore, however, was established in 1971 to collect and preserve materials related to the Iwase-senzuka Tumuli Cluster (岩橋千塚古墳群 Iwase senzuka kofun-gun), which is one of Japan’s most important archaeological sites. The site is one of only two in Japan where haniwa 埴輪 (clay figures of people or animals buried as grave goods) have been found, and displays of these form a major part of the museum’s exhibits.

Information plaque for Yamabuki
Information plaque for Yamabuki

As part of the landscaping of the area around the tumuli to allow museum visitors easier access, it was decided to create the Man’yō Botanical Garden to display plants and poems from the Man’yōshū and provide a further connection to the culture of the times from which the tombs date. The intention was not to collect and display all the plants mentioned in the anthology – only those which were most suitable for display in the context of the museum and its grounds. The result was the assembling and planting of about eighty of the total number of plants. Of these, forty were chosen to be accompanied by specimen poems, and information plaques giving the poet’s name and poem’s reference number, as well as the plant’s Man’yō name, modern Japanese name, and simple scientific information.

The basic plaques were complemented by the provision of five more monumental poem displays on stone plaques in calligraphic format. The poems selected for display in this fashion, all of which refer to plants, were two by Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (MYS IV: 496 (Hamayū) and MYS X: 1814 (Sugi)), one by Yamanoue no Okura (MYS V: 818; Ume), one by Kanabi no Ikago no Maihito (MYS XX: 4513; Ashibi) and one anonymous poem (MYS X: 1869; Sakura).

Plants and Poems

All of the following plants are contained in the collection  of the Kii fudoki no oka Man’yō botanical garden. As stated above, only some of these have specimen poems displayed to accompany them.

Akane (あかね)
Asagao (あさがほ) MYS X: 2104
Ashi (あし) MYS VI: 919
Ashibi (あしび) MYS XX: 4513
Ajisai (あじさゐ) MYS XX: 4448
Ōchi (あふち) MYS X: 1973
Ayamaegusa (あやめぐさ)
Ichishi (いちし)
Ukera (うけら) MYS XIV: 3376
Unohana (うのはな)
Umara (うまら)
Ume (うめ) MYS V: 818
Ōigusa (おほゐぐさ) MYS XIV: 3417
Ominoki (おみのき) MYS III: 322
Omoigusa (おもひぐさ) MYS X: 2270
Kakitsubata (かきつぱた)
Kashi (かし) MYS I: 9
Kuzu (くず) MYS XII: 3072
Kuzunoki (かずのき)
Kaerude (かへるで)
Karatachi (からたち)
Kusokazura (くそかづら) MYS XVI: 3855
Kuri (くり)
Konotegashiwa (このてがしは) MYS XVI: 3836
Komo (こも)
Sakaki (さかき) MYS III: 379
Sakikusa (さきくさ) MYS X: 1895
Sakikusa (さきくさ)
Sakura (さくら) MYS X: 1869
Sanekazura (さねかづら) MYS II: 94
Shikimi (しきみ) MYS XX: 4476
Shidakusa (しだくさ) MYS XI: 2475
Shii (しい) MYS II: 142
Shirikusa (しりくさ) MYS XI: 2468
Seri (せり) MYS XX: 4456
Sugi (すぎ) MYS X: 1814
Sumomo (すもも) MYS XIX: 4140
Tachibana (たちばな)
Tade (たで)
Tamahabaki (たまばはき)
Chisa (ちさ)
Chichi (ちち) MYS XIX: 4164
Chibana (ちばな)
Tsuganoki (つがのき)
Tsukikusa (つきくさ) MYS XII: 3059
Tsugine (つぎね)
Tsukinoki (つきのき) MYS XI: 2656
Tsuge (つげ) MYS IX: 1777
Tsuchihari (つちはり)
Tsubaki (つばき) MYS I: 54
Tsumama (つまま)
Tsurubami (つるばみ) MYS XII: 3009
Nadeshiko (なでしこ)
Nagi (なぎ)
Nubatama (ぬばたま) MYS IX: 1798
Nebu (ねぶ) MYS VIII: 1461
Hagi (はぎ) MYS VIII: 1565
Hachisu (はちす)
Hahaso (ははそ)
Hamayū (はまゆふ) MYS VI: 496
Hi (ひ)
Hisagi (ひさぎ)
Hiru (ひる) MYS XVI: 3829
Fujibakama (ふじばかま) MYS VIII: 1538
Hōgashiawa (ほほがしは)
Matsu (まつ)
Mayumi (まゆみ)
Mitsunagashiwa (みつながしは) MYS II: 90 (Headnote?)
Mitsunagashiwa (みつながしわ)
Muronoki (むろのき)
Muronoki (むろのき)
Momunire (もむにれ)
Momo (もも) MYS XIX: 4139
Yama’ai (やまあい) MYS IX: 1742
Yamasuge (やますげ)
Yamatachibana (やまたちばな) MYS IV: 669
Yamatazu (やまたづ) MYS II: 90
Yamabuki (やまぶき) MYS XVII: 3974
Yuzuuruha (ゆずるは)
Yomogi (よもぎ) MYS XVIII: 4116
Wasuregusa (わすれぐさ) MYX XII: 3062
Wasuregusa (わすれぐさ)
Egu (ゑぐ)
Obana/Kaya (をばな・かや) MYS I: 11
Ominaeshi (をみなえし) MYS XVII: 3944

The following plants are not currently contained in the collection, but have information provided about them, along with a specimen poem, on the museum’s website:

Uwagi (うはぎ) MYS X: 1879
E (え) MYS XVI: 3872
Konara (こなら) MYS XIV: 3424
Sasa (ささ) MYS II: 133
Shirakashi (しらかし) MYS X: 2315
Suga (すが) MYS VII: 1250
Take (たけ) MYS IX: 1677
Tsutsuji (つつじ) MYS VII: 1188
MYS III: 434
Natsume (なつめ) MYS XVI: 3830
Nire (にれ) MYS XVI: 3886
Fuji (ふぢ) MYS III: 330
Hoyo (ほよ) MYS XVIII: 4136
Momiji (もみち) MYS IX: 1676
Yuri (ゆり) MYS VII: 1257

'Simply moving and elegant'