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  • Writer's pictureAllie

Ginoza Tour of Gardens

Every year in March, around the 2nd and 3rd weeks of the month, the village of Ginoza hosts the "Spring Ginoza Open Garden." At this time of year, flowers are in full bloom all over Okinawa, and many local attractions host flower festivals. You can drive through thousands of beautiful azaleas in Higashi Village, view a wide range of tulips and orchids at the Tropical Dream Center in Motobu, and see fields full of cosmos just driving to the grocery store. Even with all these fantastic options, my favorite place to view the seasonal blooms is in Ginoza (the wonderful village we've called home for almost six years)! The "Ginoza Open Garden" is the perfect opportunity to see a wide variety of plants, shrubs, blooming flowers, and succulents.

ranunculus in Ginoza

If you've ever wanted to wander through beautiful gardens, these two weeks of March are your chance! You can buy a visitor pass at the Ginoza Roadside Station (also called the Ginoza michi no eki). It is less than $5.00, and you can visit as many of the participating gardens as you can fit in one day. After you buy the visitor pass, you will be given a map of the participating gardens. They extend from the southern end of Ginoza near Kin to the northern end near Henoko.

Ginoza garden bonsai

The gardens are as diverse as the people who tend them. Some are visible from the main road through Ginoza (there's even one tended by the local gas station), and some are cared for by residents who have lived in Ginoza their whole lives.

At one particularly memorable garden, we were invited to a small garden tea party. The host had tables set up in their yard. They let us choose a table and served us coffee, tea, and pastries. With classical music playing in the background, we chatted with the hosts about the gardens we had seen that day. They also wanted to know how we were enjoying the tour. The kids didn't want to leave that garden!

If you're visiting the gardens with curious kids, you may want a free app like "Picture This," which will allow you to identify the plants you're viewing. (As with most apps, there is the option to purchase, so if you don't want a membership, hit "cancel" and proceed with the unpaid version!) Kids are also naturally taken by beautiful blooms. Be sure to watch those little hands, and don't let them pick the flowers. I had to give many reminders to leave the flowers for others to see. By the end of the day, my reminders turned into "OK, we're going into a garden again! Time to keep your hands in your pockets!"

Ginoza Garden Center

If by the end of the tour, you feel inspired to try your hand at gardening, there is a small flower shop at the Ginoza Roadside Station. It is called "Ginoza Gardening Center" on Google Maps. Take yen, though, since they only accept cash. If walking around the gardens makes you hungry, grab a delicious burger and a hot latte at Ginoza Farm Lab. I recommend the mushroom veggie burger, but I've never met anyone who didn't like their burger from the Farm Lab!

I hope you come to Ginoza soon before this excellent opportunity to wander around strangers' gardens is over! Send me a message and let me know if you come up north, and I'll meet you for a coffee!

Azaleas in Ginioza

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