Wakayama kii fudoki no oka: Man’yō shokubutsuen
Wakayama Prefecture Kii-fudoki-no-oka Museum of Archaeology and Folklore: Man’yō Botanical Garden
Wakayama, Wakayama Prefecture
1411 Iwase, Wakayama-shi, 640-8301
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 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).
|Adults||190 yen||150 yen|
|Students||90 yen||70 yen|
|Adults||350 yen||290 yen|
|Students||210 yen||160 yen|
Tel: 073-471-6123 (Japanese only).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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|
|Ukera (うけら)||MYS XIV: 3376|
|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|
|Kashi (かし)||MYS I: 9|
|Kuzu (くず)||MYS XII: 3072|
|Kusokazura (くそかづら)||MYS XVI: 3855|
|Konotegashiwa (このてがしは)||MYS XVI: 3836|
|Sakaki (さかき)||MYS III: 379|
|Sakikusa (さきくさ)||MYS X: 1895|
|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|
|Chichi (ちち)||MYS XIX: 4164|
|Tsukikusa (つきくさ)||MYS XII: 3059|
|Tsukinoki (つきのき)||MYS XI: 2656|
|Tsuge (つげ)||MYS IX: 1777|
|Tsubaki (つばき)||MYS I: 54|
|Tsurubami (つるばみ)||MYS XII: 3009|
|Nubatama (ぬばたま)||MYS IX: 1798|
|Nebu (ねぶ)||MYS VIII: 1461|
|Hagi (はぎ)||MYS VIII: 1565|
|Hamayū (はまゆふ)||MYS VI: 496|
|Hiru (ひる)||MYS XVI: 3829|
|Fujibakama (ふじばかま)||MYS VIII: 1538|
|Mitsunagashiwa (みつながしは)||MYS II: 90 (Headnote?)|
|Momo (もも)||MYS XIX: 4139|
|Yama’ai (やまあい)||MYS IX: 1742|
|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|
|Yomogi (よもぎ)||MYS XVIII: 4116|
|Wasuregusa (わすれぐさ)||MYX XII: 3062|
|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|