The circumference of Mt. Shiroyama is an ideal running course.
Some runners passed by in silence and then a group of university students running in the same training uniform appeared. Thy were the members of the University of Tokushima Swimming Club, who gathered in the open space next to the iris garden and started exercising in a circle.
“We build up the strength of the trunk muscles here after swimming for 90 minutes from six o’clock in the morning every Saturday in winter,” said the manager. It takes about five minutes from the University of Tokushima to come to the place by bicycle. This open space may be very convenient when the university ground is unavailable.
When they finished their training and started running again, other groups came one after another. They would start their training then.
On Saturday afternoon, the person with a single-lens reflex camera was Ms. Mitsuko Mitani, a student of Photography Course of the Center of University Extension, the University of Tokushima.
“Before I started learning photography, I used to visit here only once a year when cherry blossoms bloomed.” Now, she often comes to the park before or after the class, sparing some time.
“Reflections of the colorful sports wears of runners on the surface of the pond are beautiful. I can enjoy finding something lively to which I didn’t pay attention before through the finder. Here are abundant materials such as people, flowers and birds that look different in different seasons!” She held a camera and started taking pictures again, smiling.
A lot of cherry trees are planted and lawns beautifully maintained in the south part of the castle park, which is a nice place for cherry blossom-viewing.
The Akiyama family, father and two children, were enjoying their snack on a bench near a big willow-type cherry tree.
“My wife is now shopping clothes and other items near JR Tokushima Station, so we are playing here, waiting for her,” said Shinichiro, the children’s father. When it becomes warm in the best season for cherry blossoms, they sometimes come to the park for appreciating cherry blossoms while enjoying lunch boxes.
Yoshiki, the elder brother, seemed to have an itch to move more actively after eating up his snack. The spacy park is Yoshiki’s favorite. “Let’s stroll around here.” Mr. Akiyama started walking around the park with him, pushing the stroller which Haruki, the younger brother, is seated in.
“I love this garden very much,” said Mr. Susumu Umeda. After working as a carpenter for about fifty years, he became engaged in weeding the garden and cleaning the pond of the former main palace of Tokushima Castle, being dispatched from the Employment Center for the Elderly for five years. After he retired from the work, he still comes to the garden by bus three to four times a week to stroll there. His regular course is getting off the bus at JR Tokushima Eki-mae bus stop (in front of JR Tokushima Station), having a cup of coffee in a cafeteria and coming to this garden.
In front of the palace building where feudal lords lived, there was this Daimyo (feudal lord)-garden. This garden is a circuit style, which is remarkable among many gardens in Japan, so that you can walk the circuit course of the garden to appreciate it. “The gardens in Korakuen Park and Ritsurin Park may be wonderful. But this garden is very special,” said Mr. Umeda, guiding us in his favorite garden that has been taken good care of.