Feb 27, 2020
Meet the locals

One day, when I first moved to Ojika Island, I was on my way to Kojiroyama kominka in the Hamazu area in Ojika Island. As I was driving up the narrow road leading up to Kojiroyama I couldn’t help but notice a colorful sea of Ajisai (Hydrangea) growing in somebody’s garden. The scenery reminded me of Ajisaidera in Kamakura and since then I would have a peek at the beautiful flowers every time I was in the area.

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 traveling around Ojika Island you may notice that locals put a lot of though and 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 hooked instantly. After years of self-study, he became really good at it. Just like a superhero 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 superpower 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 his offer 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 made, Ōta-san told me that he 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 began to feel heavy…

Then, just a few days after our first meeting, we received fantastic news from Ōta-sanー he found a protégé!!! Ōta-san seems to enjoy his new role as a teacher very much, and both he and his student can be found in his garden, working happily together.

Would you like to have a sneak-peek of the garden and meet Ōta-san?
We are happy to announce that Ōta-san has opened his garden to the 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!