My greatest ambition is to document, with utmost meticulousness and accuracy, the entirety of Japan’s flora. I want to publish it as a book and have it distributed in countries around the world, as a way of demonstrating the capabilities of the Japanese and elevating the status of Japan’s scholarship. What I want to do is create something to be proud of, something that will amaze people everywhere. I has to be something worthy of showing off, something that says “This is the kind of work the Japanese are capable of!”
Dr Tomitaro Makino (1862-1957)
When the Japanese established the Makino Botanical Garden and research facility in Kochi their aim was to rival Kew, just as the Gardening World Cup is intended to rival the Chelsea Flower Show. And as with the Gardening World Cup, they had one big advantage – the site. The Makino Botanical Gardens are built on a spectacular hillside location looking down on the city of Kochi and the coastline beyond. Kew is boringly flat.
The museum is vast and comprehensive, covering every aspect of Makino’s life. There’s nothing like it in this country in honour of any of our great botanists. The photo below, taken in the museum, shows a reconstruction of Makino in his study.