An elderly couple have turned their sad future around with the beauty of flowers and now thousands of people visit them when their garden blooms each year.
In Shintomi Town in Miyazaki Prefecture, there’s a beautiful tourist spot that blooms in spring with a carpet of pink flowers called "shibazakura," or moss phlox. What makes the site most unusual, however, is the fact that it’s a private residence, and the reason that up to 7,000 people visit on any given day from late March to April is not entirely because of the gorgeous flowers. It’s because of the touching love story that brought the garden into existence.
The 3.3-square-meter plot of land was once a dairy farm, becoming home to a young couple, Mr and Mrs Kuroki, after they married in 1956. Rising early, and without a day’s rest, the two tended to a herd of 60 cows on a daily basis, bringing up two children in the process and living a tough but rewarding life together on the farm, with the hope that one day, upon retirement, they would be able to take a well-earned trip around Japan.
After 30 years of marriage, however, and at the age of 52, Mrs Kuroki suddenly encountered a problem with her eyes, which turned out to be a complication from diabetes, causing her sight to fail just one week later. Feeling her life was over, Mrs Kuroki was devastated at the prospect of not being able to go on the trip she and her husband had always dreamed about and didn’t want to face a life of immobility. As a result, she shut herself away from the world and began living a life of seclusion in her home. It pained her husband to see her normally cheerful expression become one of sadness, and he thought that if they could at least have a visitor or two each day, it would encourage his wife to come out of her shell.
One day, Mr Kuroki glanced upon a pink "shibazakura" flower in the garden and it occurred to him that the beauty of flowers can be experienced not only through sight but through the sense of smell as well. If he were to create a garden filled with flowers, he thought, his wife could still enjoy their beauty, and people might also come to visit, which would bring a smile to her face again.
With this in mind, Mr Kuroki spent two years creating the foundation for the garden, chopping down trees and looking after the young plants, which would eventually surround their house with a sea of bright pink flowers.
Now, more than a decade after the first seeds were planted, the well-established garden draws visitors from surrounding towns and prefectures, with people hoping for a chance encounter with Mr and Mrs Kuroki, who can often be seen walking around the property.
And if you meet Mrs Kuroki today, you’ll see that her husband has brought a huge smile back to her face, all with the help of visitors and flowers.
Spot information Kuroki-san taku no shibazakura/黒木さん宅の芝桜 Address: Miyazaki-ken, Koyu District, Shintomi, Nyuuta 17180-1 宮崎県児湯郡新富町新田17180-1 Website (Japanese)
Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- The not-so-fleeting beauty of the cherry blossoms: An alternate perspective -- Fukuoka’s “Wisteria Tunnel” delights visitors with pretty pastel petals -- Yoro shisetsu: Japan’s progressive joint care centers where kids and seniors interact© Japan Today