An elderly Japanese gentleman, Toshiyuki Kuroki, has created what might be the most romantic garden in the world, in honor of the love of his life.
Yasuko and Toshiyuki Kuroki grew up in neighboring towns in Japan and got married over six decades ago, in 1956.
They bought a dairy farm and raised plenty of cows, had two children and sent them off to college and then the world, and they planned to live their happy retirement touring the whole country.
But about 20 years ago, Yasuko’s eyesight started to fail. At 52 years old, she went completely blind within just one week, due to diabetes. She lost her smile, withdrew from farm life, and isolated herself. She became depressed. Toshiyuki was heartbroken.
Toshiyuki was feeling helpless, until one day some people walking past their house gave him an idea.
Toshiyuki noticed the strangers were admiring their garden. He had planted some bright pink “shibazakura” flowers, or moss phlox.
Though Yasuko would never see them, Toshiyuki started to plant a whole field of these flowers across their farm lands.
His hope was that his wife could smell their beautiful fragrance, and many people would also see the striking flowers and visit their home, and his wife would never feel lonely again.
Toshiyuki quit his dairy farm, then spent the next two years creating the foundation of his flower garden.
Ten years later, the garden now draws 7,000 people a year.
Visitors are constantly streaming in, but especially so during March and April when flowers are in full bloom.
People from all over the country are touched by the couple’s love story, and come not just to see the garden but to meet Toshiyuki and Yasuko.
The couple converted one of the old cow sheds into a visitor center filled with photos to document their story, and sometimes Yasuko sits there to meet with people from all walks of life.