The botanical garden at Hamamatsu is primarily for flowers and plant-viewing, but the garden management authorities have endeavoured to recreate the gardens into a haven for visitors with some quirky plant-displays, a play area, entertainment and restaurants — all designed to appeal to families and groups. This makes it an interesting day out for people of all ages. The 75 acre ground already suggests that there are plenty of places to explore. So be prepared for a lot of walking. Or hop on to the little flower train for a view of some selected areas of the garden.
The plant-displays in the garden changes every season and so does the entrance fee to the park. Spring and early summer are the most expensive seasons. Be assured that there is much to see and enjoy in this season.
The first thing to see on entering the Flower Park is the large pond with fountains in the centre. The water rises and falls to the rhythmic music at every 30, 60 and 90 minutes interval. The backdrop to this beautiful show is the huge glass greenhouse called “Crystal Palace” and the geometrically cut blocks of azaleas, which sadly had withered away when we visited the garden.
The weekend of our visit, the greenhouse had fabulous displays of begonias at the entranceway, and a bench positioned in the centre for capturing memorable photographs. Inside the greenhouse was a Balinese garden with a little waterfall, palm trees, statues, plenty of lush tropical foliage and a bank of many different coloured orchids. After the Balinese garden was a Mexican garden with desert plants arranged in patterns and some magnificent blousy cacti.
Soon after we left the greenhouse, we entered the rose garden. The rose garden was ethereal and filled with colourful roses. The roses were planted in sections with some climbing varieties on a trellis walkway and some scented varieties too. The entire view was mesmerizing.
At the far side of the park, away from the main entrance are a series of ponds with azalea bushes on the hillside above them. These azaleas are not pruned and have grown into trees. The pathway goes through the bushes and trees and crosses a suspension bridge before descending down to the ponds.
There is a small Japanese garden with many turtles in its small pond and beyond it the iris beds create a scenic view. Walking over the boardwalks through the middle of them was a wonderful experience in itself. The purple flowers made a brilliant display. A wisteria walkway had sadly withered away by the mid of May, hence we missed a chance to capture its beauty on our camera.
As we made our way back to the entrance we walked through the ‘Smile Garden’, a twisting path with closely planted borders of plants in similar colours. This represents an English style garden. The foxgloves were magnificent too.
Dotted throughout the park are some unusual three-dimensional plat-displays. We saw a hot air balloon, a tortoise, and a pocket watch just as the white rabbit might have used in the Alice in Wonderland.
Besides the garden, the park also has a children’s play area – easily located by the small Ferris wheel – a café and a restaurant by the entrance, and toilets and drinks machines at regular intervals throughout the grounds. The souvenir shop has a selection of plants and items with flower motives as well as local products such as biscuits and sweets.
Since we made a weekend trip, there was free entertainment around the area of the greenhouse. Inside were some musicians with interested audience seated right before them. Many visitors did stop by to watch and listen to their performance. Outside the greenhouse was a performance by a fire-eater who entertained families with children.
Hamamatsu Flower Park lies towards the Lake Hamana, an area of amusement parks, hot springs, maritime sports and the municipal zoo. It is about a 60 minute bus ride from Hamamatsu JR station via bus number 30 from bus terminal #1. Alternatively there is a large car park at the front of the park.
Check the website for details of what there is to see in each season.
Address:195 Kanzanj-cho, Nishi-ku, Hamamatsu-city, Shizuoka, 431-1209
Opening Hours: March to September 9:00 - 17:00; October to November 9:00 - 16.30; December to February 10:00 - 16.30