The Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden was established in 1958 to celebrate the achievements of Tomitaro Makino who was known as the “Father of Japanese Botany.”
The garden spans about 6 hectares and has over 3000 different types of plants which can be found in all different seasons. Here, you’ll not only be able to discover different types of plants, but also really feel as if you’re one with nature.
There are various facilities inside of the spacious botanical garden ranging from the exhibition hall, the museum of plants & people (recognized in Japan for its harmony with the surrounding nature), the conservatory, the 50th anniversary garden, museum shop to a restaurant.
The garden is relatively easy to access with the My-Yu Bus which drops you off at the main gate. From the main gate, you can see foliage common in Kochi prefecture in the “Kochi Foliage Garden,” as well as a great view of Kochi city.
The next area we visited was the exhibition hall. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit the garden on the last day of the Herbarium Special Exhibition which was held in order to celebrate Makino Botanical Garden’s collection of herbarium specimen.
In addition to various dried herbs, there were also herb specimen kept in liquid to maintain its shape. The facility also provided many types of pamphlets and information for those who are more interested in research and botany.
As a memento, you can also walk around the facility and collect limited herb-shaped stamps on the paper provided.
Pass the exhibit hall is the 50th anniversary garden.
Taking advantage of the surrounding terrain, the anniversary garden features a pond and surrounding gorgeous plants and trees including cherry blossoms, lotuses, irises, and gentians. Although the flowers weren’t blooming due to the fact that it was mid-November at the time we visited the garden, it was still very calming to walk around the general area.
Next was the Conservatory, a perennial tropical environment which houses many rare varieties of plants from abroad. This part was by far, the most entertaining area of the entire garden.
As you head closer to the building, you enter the Conservatory Atrium, a 9 meter-tall structure resembling an ancient cave with over-grown plants surrounding the walls. Walk through sliding doors, and you’ll come across a fairy-tale like entrance which will finally lead you to a tropical garden.
Entrance to the Conservatory
Since it was November, the temperature of the Conservatory was much warmer than the outside.
Looking around, you can see various rare tropical plans and even a small waterfall near the center of the building.
Out of all the botanical gardens we’ve been to, my friends and I agreed that this was probably the most expansive, and best of the gardens. In addition to traditional Japanese plants, we liked the fact that we would be able to observe the changes of the fauna and flora depending on each season. If you’re looking for a casual stroll in Kochi, or if you want to learn about different types of plants, then we highly recommend visiting Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden!
Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden
Address: 4200-6 Godaisan, Kochi, Kōchi Prefecture
Hours of Operation: 9:00am ～ 5:00pm
Closed: December 27th ~ January 1st
Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden is most easily accessible via the My Yu Bus. The unlimited one-day pass from Kochi Station to Godaisan can be purchased at Kochi Station for 600 yen. Visitors should take the bus from JR Kochi Station towards Godaisan. Chikurinji Temple is also located nearby via another bus stop on the mountain or a 20-minute walk.