Japanese Garden and Kura Storage in Hirakawa-City
If you try to go to Hirakawa-City from Aomori-City by train or bus, it is easier to transfer at Hirosaki-City. Since I don’t like a slow train, we paid extra 510yen to get on the “Resort Shirakami“, which is a popular train to travel around Akita – Goshogawara – Aomori area.
Onoe district in Hirakawa-City is known with the Japanese gardens well taken care of, and well preserved Kura storages. There are about 300 kura storages owned by farmers, which is the largest number among the cities of Japan. Major construction boom of Kura storages occured during 1940-1950, when tenant farmers allowed to be independent, building Kura for status was what everyone wished for. The number of Kura storages can tell how people around this area worked hard and became prosperous.
In the tour you can visit about 10 private Japanese gardens of old families which are not usually open to the public. It was interesting to learn about the materials preferred for the gardens, and the meaning of patterns of Kura storage.
On the way visiting around Japanese garden and Kura storage area, I found a cool antique shop, a cafe with Japanese garden view and beautiful flowers. There were many things I wanted to stop by and take pictures, and my colleagues and I couldn’t complete visiting all permitted gardens within the allowed time!!
The garden which we happened to visit as the last one actually blew me away. It was a garden of Seito family, and I’ve never seen the spacious, luxury private garden like this before.
The pathway to the main area was long, which already surprised me before seeing all area.
I heard it is said that construction of this garden cost 200,000,000yen(!!!!), and the maintenance cost is 7,000,000yen/year. Wow… I don’t think I am earning enogh money even for maintainance of this garden.
This garden has waterfalls, stream, various kinds of trees, flowers and garden rocks regardless of expense….
Above pictures are just a part of the Seito family’s garden. I really enjoyed visiting those beautiful private gardens.
Oh and as one more information, there is a public Japanese garden called “Seibi-en” in the same district, which became the model for the latest Giburi movie “Kari-gurashi no Arrietty” (Original story is “The Borrowers” by Mary Norton) coming this summer. If you are a big fan of Giburi movie, you definitely have to visit Hirakawa-City!