Nestled away in a quiet neighborhood of Maibara is the Rosa & Berry Tawada English Garden. Tawada, the town from which the establishment is named, is a rustic area surrounded by low mountains adorned with lush green forests. This local scenery serves as a perfect backdrop for the colorful and finely maintained gardens of Rosa & Berry.
To enter the gardens we first made our way through the gift shop, which sold a wide variety of souvenirs, snacks, jams, and even plants for visitors to add to their own collections. We were then met by an energetic staff member, who graciously gave us a tour of the facilities. Before reaching the garden we passed by a small cafe and a restaurant where people were relaxing and enjoying the tranquil environment.
In the main garden, wooden and stone pathways wandered through cleverly selected plants and whimsical garden structures. Flowers of countless hues, shapes, and sizes gave off a pleasant melange of aromas. I felt like I could explore this area alone for hours on end, but there were many other things to see, so we continued onwards.
Next, we were guided to the picnic area, where visitors could make use of tables with built-in grills to cook their own food. People can select their own vegetables which are grown organically at Rosa & Berry. Near the picnic area was a workshop where families were making numerous arts, crafts, and even bread which was baked fresh at the workshop’s own bakery!
After that, we made our way towards a hill that exhibited Rosa & Berry’s latest attraction: a recreation of the set of popular British stop-motion animation series “Shaun the Sheep”. Before getting to the top, we passed through a large indoor vineyard where workers were diligently maintaining grape vines to prepare for the Fall harvest season. Beyond that was an enclosure containing docile sheep who enjoyed a nice scratch behind the ears.
As we climbed to the top of the hill, we saw little houses built into the hillside reminiscent of the Hobbit holes from Lord of the Rings, guarded by stone-faced gargoyles and decorated with meticulous detail. Arriving at the top we were amazed by the recreation of Shaun the Sheep’s farm. Inside the farmhouse, life-sized models of the show’s main characters could be found making pizza in the kitchen, and everything was made with a round and chunky claymation feel.
Near the Shaun the Sheep exhibit was yet another cafe where we took a short break to enjoy the pleasant view and some iced coffee. Finally, we hopped on a mini steam locomotive which leisurely brought us to the bottom of the hill, passing through a tunnel of vibrant roses.
Before departing we decided to buy some ice cream which was made with local milk and honey imported from New Zealand. It was delicious and incredibly smooth and was the perfect treat to cool down and cap off our visit to Rosa & Berry.
The sheer variety of activities and exhibits available at Rosa & Berry was very impressive. A few hours was simply not enough time to experience everything at a leisurely pace, and visitors would be wise to set aside some time to fully enjoy Rosa & Berry.
place 605-10, Tawada, Maibara, Shiga Prefecture
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