The secret world of Kasugayama Primeval Forest

I had a great time in Hasedera the day before. The temple grounds were lovely but what struck me most was the abundant hydrangeas blooming all over the garden. I had been to Nara Park several times, but each time I always used to miss visiting the Manyou Botanical Garden, located near Kasuga-Taisha shrine bordering the Kasugayama Primeval forest. The garden contains a Wisteria Garden, Camellia Garden, Iris Garden, Ajisai Garden and a Five Grain Garden. With the Ajisai blooming all over Nara, I decided it was the perfect time to check out this garden.

The garden can be easily accessed by entering Nara Park and walking on your right towards Kasuga Taisha shrine.

The Manyou Botanical Garden (萬葉植物園) opened in 1932 and contains over 300 species of plants and trees mentioned in the Man’yōshū, the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry, compiled sometime after 759 AD during the Nara period. The foundation for this garden was laid by a botanist by the name of Honda Seiroku. He visualized the creation of this recreational botanical garden by utilizing the land set aside for the Nara Imperial Villa in Nara Park towards the end of the Meiji period. However it wasn’t until 1927, when a proposal was forwarded to create the Manyo Garden. Sasaki Nobutsuna, a scholar of Japanese literature, formed an organization to champion the idea of establishing the Manyo Gardens where the exact varieties mentioned in the poems of the Manyoshu would be grown.

I have compiled a gallery of all the flowers and other interesting experiences of the garden. Some of the flowers were easy to identify, others are still a mystery to me. If you recognize any, please add it in the comments.

Honestly, I would not suggest visiting the gardens in Summer if you are mostly a flower person. If you only want to experience Ajesai, there are loads to take pictures of. If you are tired of all the walking one has to do visiting Kasuga Taisha, this is a nice place to come and rest. There is a small pond full of Koi fishes. The colorful fishes stalked me as I stood near the edge of the pond expecting some food from me. After a couple of hours of lazy wandering, I made my way back out of the garden.

Thank you for reading. Please leave me a comment if you liked the shots.

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