Fukushu-en Garden: Transported to China

There is an entire category of tourist that includes only people who prefer to stay off the beaten path and avoid cities at all cost. Unfortunately for these tourists they end up missing out on absolutely beautiful locations just like the one I am writing about today. Nestled in the center of Naha City’s hustle and bustle, just moments away from the types of hot spots this category of tourist is desperately trying to avoid, is the Fukushu-en Garden.

Fukushuen Garden: Waterfall - Okinawa, Japan

The Fukushu-en Garden is not what you would expect to find in Naha. In fact it’s more like the places that you would find off a nameless road of northern Okinawa. The wide open spaces, intricate architecture and free admission make this an oddity for central Naha to say the absolute least. Nonetheless Fukushu-en is the prefect place to transport you to Fukusyu City, a Chinese city that along with Naha flourished as a center of trade.

Built as a symbol of the friendship between the two cities Fukushu-en uses materials and architecture which was brought over directly from Fukusyu City. This not only makes the park look authentically Chinese but also makes it feel that was as well. It’s a challenge to describe but having been on Okinawa for as long as I have you can tell that what you’re looking at is distinctly foreign.

Fukushuen Garden: Bridge - Okinawa, Japan

Strolling through the Fukushu-en Garden is a very unique experience. The garden itself does not cover a notably large space but the use of the space is done so well that you feel as though you are covering much more ground than you actually are. Skillful placement of plants, stones and structures divide the park up into sections which make each area feel secluded from the next. This makes it possible to enjoy each of the distinctly different landscapes.

Fukushuen Garden: Tower & Pond - Okinawa, Japan

Making the most of your trip to the Fukushu-en Garden means taking it slow. Those who walk through the garden as though they are just trying to complete a chore are likely to miss most of the amazing things that the garden has to offer. The beautiful paintings, sculptures, plant life, and architecture shines brightest when you take a moment to really look at it and not just glance as you’re walking by. Taking that moment to stop, sit and enjoy a few sips of water in the gazebo near the pond is really all it takes to see the little gems hidden around this garden.

Although this garden is an absolutely beautiful place to visit it does have some minor downsides. The biggest downside to this garden is the combination of it’s free admission. This makes it incredibly appealing for tour groups who want to squeeze in another location at no extra cost to the business. This can sometimes mean that you find a lot of people pushing and running through the garden which ultimately makes it much less a pleasant experience than desirable. However this can be avoided by keeping some of these very basic tips in mind. If you find yourself arriving at the Fukushu-en gardens and there are tour busses outside take some time and explore the nearby park which is immediately across from the entrance. The park is beautiful and includes some historic sites as well. Then when the busses of tourists have passed stroll inside to enjoy your visit.

Patreon Banner June 2014


Never Doubt Obaasan!


I live in Oyama, one of the very congested parts of Ginowan which is sandwiched between the coast of the East China Sea and MCAS Futenma. At one point it used to be a large area full of fields (some of which are still in use today even though the city has grown up around them) but now this is no longer the case. Fortunately there are still a great deal of people who work in their small yards making the best of every available inch to grow fruits, veggies and flowers as I am sure their families did before them (although on a much smaller scale.)

At least four of these backyard gardens are immediately next to my house all being tended by older women (obaasan). Day in and day out they are out there working in their gardens waving to me and yelling out an occasional “konnichia” up at me while I am out on my deck. Like clock work they are out there tending, weeding and sometimes just watching their gardens grow.

Now that it’s spring time, however, there has been a change in the attire worn by the obaasan. Rather than just a light covering over their heads they have started to wear their straw hats. These straw hats come in all different shapes and sizes. Some of 384133_10200842905217195_376062264_nthem seem like easter bonnets where as others look like a traditional Japanese style hat with a point on the top. Seeing as how I have a garden now and will be spending a great deal of time out in the sun tending to it I figured I would take the leap and pick one up for myself. After all if wisdom comes with age then these women (easily on their way to 90 years old) have got to have something here right?

Then the other day while I was at my local DIY and Garden Center I spotted it there out of the corner of my eye. I almost missed it because it was on the bottom rack hidden behind the veils of a few other visors and hats that hung above it. I immediately grabbed it saw that it was about ¥500 and tried it on (thank goodness my husband had his camera phone handy lol). Yep this was for me because if nothing else I would at least look super kawaii (and probably a little silly but I’m fine with that)!

Unfortunately as luck would have it soon after getting the hat home I had a day of clouds and then almost 12 hours of non-stop rain. Needless to saythere was no chance to see my hat in action. . . until today. I was so happy to see that the sun had come out I couldn’t help myself. I grabbed my folding chain, book, sunglasses and hat then headed out onto the deck. After spending much time on the deck under the sun I realized how nice it was to have a straw hat. Not only did the hat breath really well but it kept the sun off my neck and face. I knew those obaasan knew what they were doing!