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Bios Gardens offers a perfect retreat

Date Posted: 1998-12-04

Ishikawa City, Okinawa, Japan -- Take a break from the hectic holiday season with a visit to Bios Botanical Gardens. Nestled in Ishikawa City, this nature-lover's paradise provides the perfect setting to relax and unwind.

Open since April, visitors to the park experience the "nature" on Okinawa Island. All ages will enjoy the twenty-five minute boat cruise on Ufutachigumui pond, and view the park's inhabitants such as Ryukyu Killifish, dragonflies, birds, plus various types of flowers and plants native to Okinawa. Visitors are also welcome to take a walking tour of the park and spend a day touring at their leisure.

One recent Sunday, I decided to relax at Bios by attending a class on "How to Make Christmas Topiaries." I thought it would be the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit while enjoying the serenity and beauty that Center has to offer.

The topiary class was held in the Bios Garden Center, a large greenhouse filled with exotic orchids. Our instructor for the afternoon was Mr. Kubo from Hibiya Kadan Florist at the Laguna Hotel. Mr. Kubo started by saying "just relax and enjoy the class." He then told us we would be creating Christmas topiaries which basically are sculptures made out of fresh or dried flowers, greens or plants. The cost of the class was 3,000 yen, which I thought was a great deal considering it included everything needed to make the topiary.

Even though I don't understand Japanese very well, I was still able to follow along with the rest of class. A display of a finished topiary along with step-by-step instructions made it easy to make the festive decoration. An added treat was that we also learned how to make orchid corsages as part of the afternoon class. According to the Park Manager, Mr. Nishiyama, "the classes have been well received since we started them three months ago. Our next class will be on flower arrangements for the New Year's using a variety of orchids." For those wishing to attend this class on December 20, the cost is 3,000 yen and includes materials.

If you want to get away from it all, Bios Botanical Gardens offers a great escape. Admission to the park and boat ride is 1,000 yen for junior high school students and older, and 560 yen for preschool children to 6th grade. Park only admission is available. Park hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed every third Thursday of the month. There is no fee to visit the garden center where you can purchase a variety of orchid plants. Classes are held monthly, call 098-965-3400 to register.

Directions: To get to Bios Botanical Garden, take Hwy. 329 to Ishikawa City. Take a right at Route 6 to Nakadomari. Look for the Okinawa Royal Golf Course sign, and take a left at the sign. Continue up the road until you reach Bios Botanical Gardens.

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