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Southeast Botanical Gardens await your arrival

By: Marie W. Conway

Date Posted: 1998-09-04

Exotic plants envelop you as you stroll through the gates of the gardens. Due to Okinawa's propitious conditions of tropical and oceanic climate, Southeast Botanical Garden is the only botanical garden in Japan where tropical and subtropical plants' have flourished under cultivation within their natural habitat. Obayashi Farm began at the present location in 1963 and 7 years later it was renamed as Southeast Botanical Garden and is now the largest in Okinawa.

There are two main gardens, botanical and aquatic, encompassing about 100 acres and accentuated with over 2000 ornamental plants. The botanical garden has many kinds of palms, such as Yaeyama (an Okinawan variety known for its exquisite beauty), King, Bottle and Date palms, as well as, water lilies and ferns. The foliage provides plenty of shade and the park invites you to bring along a picnic to enjoy amongst the fragrant scenery.

The botanical garden's "gourmet parlor" offers fresh, made to order exotic fruit drinks for 500. The brilliantly colored flowers and tropical plants from all over the world will captivate you. During the holiday season, from Dec. 20-27th, the gardens are decorated with white lights from 6-10 P.M. The aquatic garden has tour buses to guide you through the "fantastic wonderland" of carp filled ponds, cactus, flowers, banyan trees, palms and a Polynesian lake for only 300. There are many Balinese statues scattered throughout the gardens, which give the park a unique touch. Some tropical flowers in both gardens are in full bloom all year long. Also, the Insect Specimen Gallery displays several thousand types of insects, including rare fluorescent colored beetles and butterflies from different parts of the world. This side of the park also has unusual fruits, including star, dragon and Yang Kuei-huei (oriental Cleopatra), on display and for sale in their souvenir shops. For those of you with a green thumb, the garden also sells a variety of tropical plants and flowers.

The gardens are open daily from 9-6 P.M., admission is 1000 for adults and 500 for children. Coming out of Kadena's Gate 5, go straight through the light and follow the brown wooden signs for Southeast Botanical Gardens. Tel.# 098-939-2555

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