Nestled amidst the vibrant landscapes of Ishigaki, our study trip led us to a place unlike any other: Ms. Hatsumi Iriguchi’s garden. Stepping into this beautiful place, we were immediately transported to a world teeming with diverse flora, each plant possessing unique properties that have been cherished for generations by the local people. 

Ms. Iriguchi, the garden’s warm and enthusiastic hostess, greeted us with a bright smile. Her passion for her work was palpable as she embarked on a guided tour, unveiling the secrets held within each leaf and stem. 








The garden was a tapestry of botanical wonders. We encountered the terihaboku, its gentle leaves used to create a soothing eye wash. The Сhoma plant, with its sturdy fibers, served as the foundation for the exquisite Yaeyama joufu threads. Ryukyu yomogi graced our senses with its dual purpose, enjoyed both as a culinary delight and an ingredient in the traditional yomogi mochi. Plants like akino negeshi and chidomegusa promised restful sleep and healthy blood pressure, while the hamamoto soothed muscle aches. The majestic inumaki tree stood tall, and the delicate Okinawa rose added a touch of beauty. For those seeking solace after coral encounters, the kusatobera offered its healing properties. The indo bodaiju and tsubokusa completed this botanical symphony, boasting brain-boosting benefits when consumed. 







As we ventured deeper, the variety of flavors surpassed our expectations. From the tanginess of certain leaves to the surprising sweetness of others, our taste buds embarked on a delightful adventure. The Okinawan pepper, a local legend, even dared some of us to test its fiery spirit.






Following this exploration, we delved into a hands-on activity. Ms. Iriguchi presented each of us with an agave, a plant traditionally used for crafting sewing threads. With patience and focus, we meticulously separated the agave’s delicate fibers, transforming them into threads that held within them the essence of the experience. 






Our journey culminated at Ms. Iriguchi’s welcoming abode, where she treated us to a delectable pie crafted with love, using fresh ingredients harvested from her garden. The accompanying herbal tea, bursting with flavor and aroma, further emphasized the bounty her garden offered. As we savored these treats, Ms. Iriguchi unveiled the fascinating tradition behind the threads we had created. In ancient times, the Ishigaki islanders believed that these threads held the power to transfer the wearer’s strength to another. This unique custom served as a testament to the profound connection between the islanders and the natural world. 

As a parting gesture of her generosity, Ms. Iriguchi gifted each of us a jar containing a fragrant plant, a token to remember our time in her verdant sanctuary.

Ms. Hatsumi Iriguchi’s garden was more than just a collection of plants; it was a testament to the profound relationship between humanity and nature. It was a place where tradition thrived, knowledge was shared, and the healing power of the natural world came alive. With hearts brimming with gratitude and newfound appreciation for Okinawa’s botanical wonders, we departed, forever cherishing the memories of this extraordinary encounter.