Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Day with Monet

The first water lilies of summer are in full bloom!
Don’t miss the blue lilies!
  Oscar-Claude Monet—a man who has gone down in art history as one of the founders of Impressionism and whose art has been associated with light, beautiful landscapes, and water lilies. Monet’s original lilies can be found in the Monet Garden in Giverny, France, but the only other official Monet Garden in the world is in Kochi Prefecture’s very own Kitagawa Village. In this article we’ll take you through the garden docents’ recommended course for maximum enjoyment!

   The first stop once you arrive is the Water Garden, a stunningly accurate replica of Monet’s garden in Giverny. The highlight of the garden, its famous water lilies, only bloom in the morning, so get here early. We also recommend observing the reflection in the water and the overall atmosphere, as Monet loved these as well.

   On sunny days, the garden and sky are reflected warmly in the water, and on rainy days the pond surface ripples elegantly. Yes, the lilies still bloom in the rain! Finally, don’t miss the garden’s blue tropical water lilies that don’t grow in France but do grow in Kochi due to higher temperatures.
The pond surface reflects the beautiful
scenery like a mirror.
   The next stop is the Light Garden. Unique to Kitagawa’s Monet Garden, it has many rare and exotic plants due to its Mediterranean inspiration. Not only is it a visual experience, but it is also an olfactory one; try touching some of its herbs such as rosemary, and their pleasant scents will rub off on your fingers. Many traditional Mediterranean plants like olives can be found here, but Kitagawa specials, such as yuzu trees instead of Mediterranean citrus trees, are also abundant.

   Continuing past the Light Garden, you will find hiking trails that lead up to an observation deck with a splendid view of the ocean. Unlike the meticulously pruned and maintained gardens, the hiking trails provide a chance to experience some of Kitagawa’s authentic and wild nature. On your way down from the observation deck, take a rest at the forestenclosed playground located between the Light and Water Gardens.
   The third main attraction is the Flower Garden. But first, why not get a bite to eat at the French bakery or café that uses local ingredients and herbs from the gardens? The deck of the café overlooks the Flower Garden, so you can preview the flowers while you eat your lunch. After you finish eating, it’s time to enter the garden itself. Like the Water Garden, the Flower Garden is also based off of its counterpart in Giverny. The flowers here are grouped by color in order to create the appearance of a painter’s palette. The garden is constantly changing, so there are always new flowers to admire. Finish off the day in the cool indoors by visiting the nearby exhibit space, painting gallery, gift shop, and flower shop with plants from the gardens!
   In summer, when this issue of Tosa Wave is published, the Flower Garden and the Light Garden are full of wild growth, and the Water Garden’s lilies are in full bloom. At their peak, there are 300-400 water lilies blooming throughout the garden.
   The garden offers a simple version of their website and pamphlet in English and French, and basic signs throughout the gardens are easy to understand without knowing Japanese.

   Kitagawa Village’s Monet Garden is surprisingly accessible and makes a perfect daytrip for couples, friends, families, and even solo travelers!
A hotdog made from Kitagawa deer
sausage and handmade bread!
Monet Garden
   Aki-gun, Kitagawa-mura, Notomo, Ko 1100
   TEL: 0887-32-1233 FAX: 0887-32-1243
   10:00~17:00, JUL&AUG 9:00~16:00, Closed TUE except holidays and 12/26~1/1, 1/10~2/28
General Admission:
   Adults 700yen, Junior High School and below 300yen, 10% off for groups, 2,000yen for yearly pass
   (From Kochi Station) Take the JR Gomen/Nahari Line to Nahari Station. Take a bus for 10 minutes to the Monet Garden.

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