It was construction as usual in the town of Gyoda, until an excavation for a new building hit a layer of lotus plants that had been dead for thousands of years. They didn’t think much of it, until the rain came, and the ancient lotus seeds began to sprout. When the plants bloomed, the flowers had fewer petals than modern lotus, and local botanists discovered it was a variety they thought was long-extinct!
Now there’s a gigantic garden of these ancient lotus, sitting amid the rice fields
Kodaihasu-no-sato (as this garden is called) now has ponds upon ponds of these ancient lotus – 120,000 plants, at last count – plus 41 other varieties planted in banks of raised beds out front, for your viewing pleasure. And in case you think, eh, you seen one lotus you seen ’em all, these:
From the nearby tower, you can get an amazing overview of the gardens
The Gyoda Ancient Lotus Garden (Kodaihasu-no-sato) is near the town of Gyoda, in Saitama prefecture, and because it’s way out in the country, it’s not super easy to get to. I have a long-suffering and equally flower-mad Japanese friend with a car, which made it easier. If you’d like to go, the next time you’re in Japan, there’s a map on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.
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Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!