Vol.16
PEOPLE
Nov 1, 2019
Meet the Locals on Ojika Island
Welcome to Ōta-san’s garden!

One day, when I first moved to Ojika Island back in June last year, I was on my way to Kojiroyama kominka located in Hamazu District on Ojika Island. As I was driving up the narrow street leading up to Kojiroyama I couldn’t help but notice a colorful sea of Ajisai (Hydrangea) growing in someone’s garden on the side of the road. Since then I would have a peek at the beautiful flowers every time I passed by this garden that reminded me of Ajisaidera in Kamakura.

What kind of person created this garden?
I got my answer one year later when I finally gathered my courage and sneaked into the garden for a photo…and got caught red-handed by the man himself…
When travelling around Ojika Island you may notice that locals put a lot of work into their gardens. It’s almost like the whole island is engaged in a gardening contest of some sort. One man, however, takes gardening to a whole new level. Please meet Ōta-san and his awe-inspiring Japanese garden.

Ōta-san was first introduced to gardening by his uncle and got instantly hooked. After years of self-study he became really good at it. Just like a super hero he had two identities: his public identity of a bus driver and his “secret” identity of a virtuoso gardener. It didn’t take long though for the rumors about his super power to spread throughout the island. Ōta-san then (readily) began to use his gardening scissors for the benefit of humanity (a.k.a. his neighbors).

When Ōta-san caught me taking photos of his garden (and after I apologized a million times) he offered me coffee. I happily accepted and followed him into the garden, which turned out to be a full blown Japanese garden with Bonsai trees of all shapes and sizes.

While we had our coffee (which his wife kindly served us) I’ve learned that Ōta-san has injured his eyes recently while gardening (hence the pink ♥ sunglasses), which then led to the talk about his health and how it’s getting more difficult to maintain the garden all by himself.

While gazing at his beautiful garden Ōta-san seemed to be full of worry and my heart felt heavy as I too grew worried about the future of Ōta-san’s life’s work.

Then, just the other day, we received fantastic news from Ōta-san: he found a protégé!!! Ōta-san seems to enjoy his new role of a teacher very much and both he and his student can be found in the garden working happily together.

Would you like to have a sneak-peek of Ōta-san’s garden and meet the man himself?
We are happy to announce that Ōta-san has opened his garden to public and anyone is welcome to drop by for a tour. Even if Ōta-san is not home visitors are welcome to explore the garden by themselves.

Welcome to Ōta-san’s garden!