Group, family, private and community gardens can be found everywhere in Japan. Having to feed some 124 million people from a land where about 75% is unsuitable for agriculture (mainly because it’s mountainous areas) is a formidable challenge for this country. No wonder why the Japanese people are growing food, whether rice or veggies or tea or fruit, or just flowers, in places that westerners would simply leave as vacant lots or fields, for example along rivers, roads or railway tracks. The following photos illustrate the ingeniousness of the Japanese in using those spaces.
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PRIVATE GARDENS IN YARDS
Private garden in Isahaya, Nagasaki. The owner, a retired gentleman, did all the landscaping himself.
Beautifully pruned pine with Japanese lantern are part of this private garden in Isahaya, Nagasaki.
The cascading pebbles among the rocks make us forget that there’s no water cascading. Private garden, Isahaya, Nagasaki.
Although located in a narrow sideyard, this gardener wisely used perspective to add depth to his landscape. Private garden, Isahaya, Nagasaki.
Two Japanese black pines with some flowering bushes in a narrow yard along the railway.
This highly pruned evergreen was about 20 feet long in each direction, in a back yard in Kagoshima.
Shade-loving pink flowers, Kagoshima.
Backyard veggie garden, Kagoshima.
GROUP OR FAMILY OR COMMUNITY GARDENS
This family garden section shows the use of field greenhouses.
Family garden between houses, Kagoshima.
Family garden along a river, Kagoshima.
Tea (ocha) hedges – camellia sinensis. The hedges are about 3 feet high and the spaces between them is very narrow. Kagoshima.
ALONG THE STREETS, ROADS AND RAILWAY ROADS
A veggie garden along the street with tea hedges in the background. Kagoshima.
Partly harvested greens. Note the color of the soil. Many areas of Japan enjoy rich soils due to their volcanic origin. Kagoshima.
Rice paddy, Kagoshima.
Community gardens along the Onda River in Naruse, Machida, Tokyo.
Equipment used for gardening, as for any other gardener in the world. Along the Onda River, Naruse, Machida, Tokyo.
Onions in the foreground. Note the soil here: it’s yellowish, the same color as the dust from the dust storms coming from China. One took place during that hike along the Onda River in Naruse, Machida, Tokyo.
This view shows the ‘partitions’ between the garden plots. Onda River in Naruse, Also note the shape of the building in the background. Machida, Tokyo.
Black plastic row covers are used extensively in those gardens. Onda River, Naruse, Machida, Tokyo.
This is what it looks like during a yellow dust storm. Onda River, Naruse, Machida, Tokyo.
Mini-greenhouse frame. Onda River, Naruse, Machida, Tokyo.
Some deployed row covers. Onda River, Naruse, Machida, Tokyo.
Harvested rice paddy with the sheltered deciduous vines in the background, during the yellow dust storm. Onda River, Naruse, Machida, Tokyo.
These row covers along a street in Naruto were perfectly aligned.
In many places along the roads there were terraced fields. These are between Kyoto and Kanazawa. Photo taken from a moving train.
Greenhouses and bare fields between Kyoto and Kanazawa. This part of the country is colder than Kagoshima, which is located at the south of Kyushu Island.
People working in the fields between Kyoto and Kanazawa. Those photos are fuzzy due to being taken from inside a moving train, and trains in Japan are NOT slow!
Hard to identify a vine when it’s bare. Kotohira, along the railway platform.
Fresh seedlings in the background of a large garden along the railway tracks in Kotohira, Shikoku Island.
Huge ginger roots in a farmers market in Kochi, Shikoku Island. Ginger is a local specialty there.