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Tropical Christmas tree

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1998-12-25

Because God created the world the way it is, we don't have snow-covered Christmas trees in Okinawa. However, there is a bright purple one, instead.

A beautiful and unusual Christmas tree is currently being displayed at the Garden Center in Bios on the Hill. This unique Christmas tree is 4 meters tall and is made of 400 stumps of orchids called Denfare that was introduced to Japan from the West. It has become one of the most popular varieties in Okinawa. Its pretty purple and white petals and sweet scent has been captivating visitors to the center since its appearance in mid-December.

This fine work is made by staff members of the Garden Center. It took a week to complete. Although lots of Christmas trees have appeared all over the island, the Bios on the Hillís tropical Christmas tree is arguable the most original.

Besides the Christmas tree, many kinds of orchid welcome you as you take a step inside this orchids' paradise. The place is filled with hues such as brilliant red, vivid yellow, creamy white, and pastel pink as colorful as Christmas decorations. All orchids displayed here are for sale at moderate prices. Soft drink vending machines, tables and chairs are prepared for those wanting to take a rest. The Garden Center is open everyday except the third Thursday of the month from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Admission to the Garden Center is free, but there's an entrance fee for other facilities. (•630 for adults, •300 for children up to 4 years of age.) Directions: Take Route 58 heading towards Nago past Ramada Renaissance and Sunset Hill Resorts. At the first traffic light after passing Sunset Hill on your left, you'll see a one-way entrance sign on your right. Enter the way and go straight up the hill. Follow signs that lead you to Bios on the Hill. When you see the sign of Royal Golf Club, turn left. Drive carefully because the road inside the park is narrow and winding. For information, call 965-3400 (Bios on the Hill), or 965-7300 (Garden Center).

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