Kamikawa, a Town of "Hospitality"

Flowers in Bloom in Asahigaoka

“Daisetsu Mori-no Garden” in the Asahigaoka with its view of Daisetsuzan Mountains. The vast garden changes its appearance with each season, like a space where the attractiveness of Hokkaido has been condensed. KAI visited the garden in its fifth year.
Words by Mori Yuka
Photographs by Ito Rumiko

Enjoy the two themes of Daisetsu Mori-no Garden. The colorful Mori-no hanazono (the flower garden in the forest) area was designed by Ueno Sayuki of Ueno Farm. The colorful Mori-no hanazono (the flower garden). (Courtesy of Daisetsu Mori-no Garden.

A project that sprouted ten years ago

There is a “garden” that is attracting attention as a new tourism subject in Hokkaido. Although Hokkaido’s blooming period is short, it has its own attractiveness with many different flowers blooming one after another, completely changing the scenery with each season.
Daisetsu Mori-no Garden opened in 2013 but its concept was formulated ten years earlier. Various areas that take advantage of the landscape and the woods were created on the 3.3-hectare site in the “Asahigaoka Area.” The Garden has a restaurant and a villa managed by Chef Mikuni Kiyomi. The project seeks to add another layer to the “town of hospitality,” Kamikawa Town.  
Operations and management of the Asahigaoka Area by the town and the private organization, Asahigaoka NPO is a new style. Vice Mayor Tani Hirofumi, Administrative Director of Asahigaoka NPO says, “Daisetsu Mori-no Garden finally marked its fifth year. We constantly need to make changes so people can enjoy the Garden. I want everyone from the town to care for the Garden as if it were their own. In fact, volunteers from the town have been helping out with planting and cleaning.”

Vice Mayor Tani Hirofumi (right) and Section Chief Sekino Masaharu of the Industry and Economy Section (left)

Connecting Sounkyo Hot Springs with the City area, Daisetsu Mori-no Garden plays a revitalizing role for the whole town. The town slogan is a “Town of Hospitality.”
“We invite all the town’s people to maintain the flower beds in the town every year. We find meaning in engaging in such activities as the whole town,” said Section Chief of the Industry and Economy Section.
Everyone here takes out-of-town visitors to the Garden and boast as if it were his or her own yard.

A terrace in the “Iyashi no Tani (Healing Valley)” with a beautiful view of the fields of Asahigaoka (Courtesy of Daisetsu Mori-no Garden)

Change from a garden to be viewed to one that is experienced

“A garden is a tourism subject that some people are interested in and others are not. What can we do to have people enjoy it? That’s the issue,” said Wakamatsu Akihiko, the Secretary General of the Asahigaoka NPO.
Since this spring, Daisetsu Mori-no Garden has been holding experience workshops every Sunday.
“Although we held experience workshops before when there was an event, I thought that by holding workshops every week, it would be a good motive for people to ‘visit next Sunday’ instead of ‘someday’.”
Programs with themes on flowers and the forest are changed every week, such as wood chopping, pizza making, making ballpoint pens of tree branches or making reusable shopping bags with leaf stamps, can be experienced.
“I want visitors to take something back home with them from their experience and interaction with people. I think hospitality improves the satisfaction of the visitors, so they will say they had a wonderful time!’”

Secretary General Wakamatsu Akihiko of the Asahigaoka NPOSecretary General Wakamatsu Akihiko of the Asahigaoka NPO

Secretary General Wakamatsu Akihiko of the Asahigaoka NPOSecretary General Wakamatsu Akihiko of the Asahigaoka NPO

Mr. Wakamatsu brought us a box with a pine cone shaped glass necklace inside. It is an original product from the Hario Lampwork Factory. This product is an aroma necklace that relaxes the user with the scent of vaporized essential oil from the pendant. The oil is from Shimokawa Town.
“This is only available at the store in the Garden. There is also a coffee machine produced in collaboration with Asahikawa Furniture. We will develop more original products in the future.”

A collaborative product with Fupunomori in Shimokawa Town. An aroma necklace with “Hokkaido Fir Tree Essential Oil” distilled from Todomatsu (Sakhalin fir tree).

This time, the special topic was Kamikawa Town and Shimokawa Town. Unexpectedly, collaborations have already begun in these areas. Flexible ideas create abundance in the town. They are like shining gemstones.

“Dress Garden KANTE” was exhibited at the Hokkaido Garden Show 2015 Daisetsu. Kamikawa Town has produced many ski jumpers. Reflecting this, the work offers the sensation of jumping off towards the mountains, as if standing on the top of the ski ramp (Kante). (Courtesy of Daisetsu Mori-no Garden)

Daisetsu Mori-no Garden

The Garden covers approximately 3.3-hectare, with two themed areas: “Mori-no geihinkan” is designed to take full advantage of the undulating landscape and the forest. “Mori-no hanazono” is planted with alpine plants of Daisetsuzan Mountains, native plants of Hokkaido, etc. As the main venue of “Hokkaido Garden Show 2015 Daisetsu,” many people visited the Garden. For the 2017 season, the Garden is open until October 15.
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