All About Japan

There's a Touching Story Behind These Flowers

Hiking Japanese Countryside Miyazaki

In Shintomi Town in Miyazaki Prefecture, there’s a beautiful tourist spot that blooms in spring with a carpet of pink flowers called shibazakura, or moss phlox. However, the reason that up to 7,000 people visit on any given day from late March to April is not entirely because of the gorgeous flowers.

The 3.3-square-meter (3.95-sq-yd) plot of land was once a dairy farm, becoming home to a young couple, Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki, after they married in 1956. Rising early, and without a day’s rest, the two tended to a herd of 60 cows on a daily basis, bringing up two children in the process and living a tough but rewarding life together on the farm, with the hope that one day, upon retirement, they would be able to take a well-earned trip around Japan.

After 30 years of marriage, however, and at the age of 52, Mrs. Kuroki suddenly encountered a problem with her eyes, which turned out to be a complication from diabetes, causing her sight to fail just one week later. Feeling her life was over, Mrs. Kuroki was devastated at the prospect of not being able to go on the trip she and her husband had always dreamed about, and didn’t want to face a life of disability. As a result, she shut herself away from the world and began living in seclusion in her home. It pained her husband to see her normally cheerful expression become one of sadness, and he thought that if they could at least have a visitor or two each day, it would encourage his wife to come out of her shell.

One day, Mr. Kuroki glanced upon a pink shibazakura flower in the garden and it occurred to him that the beauty of flowers can be experienced not only through sight but through the sense of smell as well. If he were to create a garden filled with flowers, he thought, his wife could still enjoy their beauty, and people might also come to visit, which would bring a smile to her face again.

With this in mind, Mr. Kuroki spent two years creating the foundation for the garden, chopping down trees and looking after the young plants, which would eventually surround their house with a sea of bright pink flowers.

Now, more than a decade after the first seeds were planted, the well-established garden draws visitors from surrounding towns and prefectures, with people hoping for a chance encounter with Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki, who can often be seen walking around the property. And if you meet Mrs. Kuroki today, you’ll see that her husband has brought a huge smile back to her face, all with the help of visitors and flowers.

The old sheds on the site are now a place for visitors to learn more about the flower garden and the couple who created it.

If you’re looking for a unique travel destination with heart, a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki’s flower garden is sure to fill you with love and happiness.

Spot Information:
17180-1 Nyuuta, Shintomi, Koyu District, Miyazaki Prefecture
Website (Japanese)

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