An open garden of moss phlox in Tokigawa in spring and a 1200 year old gingko in Autumn…
Stumbling upon a beautiful private garden of pink, white and purple moss phlox was one of the highlights of spring 2022. I absolutely adore moss phlox. Long before I even came to Japan. But after seeing the moss phlox of both Mt Fuji and Hitsujiyama here in Japan, my love and appreciation of the cute and bright shamrock like flowers has grown even more. It is probably exactly because they look like shamrock, the flower of my home country Ireland, that I love them so much. But interestingly in Japan they are called ‘lawn cherry blossoms’ or “shibazakura” in Japanese.
Moss phlox in Tokigawa
It was an absolute joy to find this moss phlox in Tokigawa today. Moreover, it really was complete good luck, that is my guardian angels looking out for me once again, that I came across them. I used a completely different route than I normally do to get to Tokigawa today. If I had of gone my usual way I’d never have discovered this gem.
I was driving toward Donguri Yama (to see the Totoro with cherry blossoms as per photo above) when the unmistakable pink blanket of the moss phlox caught my eye. Immediately I took the next turn I saw, which luckily was into the Kinomura Farmer’s market, and parked the car. I intrepidly set off to investigate whether this moss phlox was open to the public or a private garden. It is a bit of both!
Open gardens are very common in Saitama Prefecture. And very popular in spring, particularly for roses I find. They are the gardens of private households, that welcome visitors when they have a flower of note in bloom. In this case, this family open their garden to the public for moss phlox season. Some of the open gardens are completely free, but this one costs 100 yen. Well worth it in my opinion. There are donation boxes (honor system) in three different locations in the garden where you can pop your money in.
They have a few other blooms in the garden currently. And there is even a rest area which adds to the overall aesthetics of the garden. And the stand alone tree you can see in the featured photo at the top of the post is actually a prunus (plum I would guess). It looks like they cut it back recently, but the bare black trunk adds a stark contrast.
Sekibori Gingko Tree
On trying to find the entrance into the garden, I happened upon a giant gingko tree. Turns out, its not just giant, its ancient too. Approximately 1200 years old. The circumference of the tree is approximately nine meters and it is about 33 meters high. Its one of Tokigawa’s 18 giant and / or ancient trees and a designated monument of the town. Despite that, apart from being marked on this official map, I couldn’t find any information online to share with you! There is a small plaque at the tree with information. I will just have to revisit it now in Autumn to see it donned in gold!
Tokigawa’s Moss Phlox Garden Information
If you like character with your coffee: don’t miss this nearby (by car) outdoor cafe!
Season: moss phlox is known to flower from around mid April to early May. However, for the last three years its been blooming from around the second week of April. The moss phlox garden in Tokigawa is more or less in full bloom already.
Hours: in theory its “open” 24 hours, but obviously as its someone’s home you’re going to be respectful of that!
Cost: 100 yen, on the honor system – pop it into the donation box on the grounds.
Address: 209-1 Sekibori, Tokigawa, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0356
Contact: as this is a private home, even if I could find a phone number I couldn’t share it for legal reasons. There is also no website that I can find. But here is the website of the neighboring farmer’s market.
The main side of the garden is along a back road. One person had parked there to view the garden. You can do so at your own risk. As I said above, I parked at the neighboring farmer’s market. Once you are purchasing something there, you can park comfortably.
By public transport: the easiest option is to get a bus to Tokigawa’s principal bus station “Sesaragi Bus Center”. From there, if you use the back roads, the garden is only about an eight minute walk. Buses go from the picturesque Myokaku Station to Sesaragi Bus Center.