* I'm authorized to reprint the original post in Japanese and translated it into English. Donations are welcome until May 31, 2017. If you would like to donate from outside Japan, please check out the courses at the bottom of this page and let me know.
Your donations can make the 10,000 Hydrangea bloom!
There is a legendary man called "Chui-chan" who created Minamizawa Hydrangea Mountain by planting all the Hydrangea alone in 47 years. But this Hydrangea mountain is now at the risk of its survival. This project aims at protecting the Hydrangea mountain, one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Tokyo, and handing it down to the next generations with you.
Minamizawa Hydrangea Mountain is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Tokyo, located in Fukasawa Area of Akiruno City, Tokyo Prefecture.
It is like a dream world where around 10,000 Hydrangea in white, blue, pink and purple colors fully bloom among Cidar trees and Japanese cypress trees in the mist. It must be so fairytale-like that you can't forget it once you come here!
This Hydrangea mountain is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Tokyo where around 10,000 Hydrangea fans visit every year to see 10,000 Hydrangea blooming in the pretty natural mountainous environment.
Chuichi Minamizawa, a legendary man who created this Minamizawa Hydrangea Mountain alone, is called "Chui-chan" with intimacy by the local residents. Chui-chan is now at the age of 87! He has planted the Hydrangea alone for 47 years since he was 40.
It was 47 years ago when everything started with the two Hydrangea in his garden. Chui-chan was 40 at that time.
"My clan's grave is on the way to the Hydrangea mountain. I wanted to walk through lots of flowers to the grave. This is why I started to create this mountain," said Chui-chan.
The Hydrangea mountain started when Chui-chan moved the two Hydrangea in his garden into the mountain 47 years ago.
"I was so glad when people told me that they were beautiful. I was into them," said Chui-chan, smiling.
At that time, Chui-chan was engaged in the lumber industry. He woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning every day to prune and transplant Hydrangea before commuting.
Chui-chan loves to see beautiful sunrise from the Hydrangea mountain. Even now, he is accustomed to take care of the Hydrangea from 4 o'clock in the morning. His efforts of 47 years have become the Hydrangea mountain with 10,000 Hydrangea blooming.
He exactly embodies Hanasaka Jisan, a famous old man in Japanese folk tale who made withered trees to blossoms. Now, this Hydrangea mountain which Chui-chan created is widely promoted by the administrations including Akiruno City while around 10,000 fans visit the mountain every year during the Hydrangea season of June and July.
However, the Hydrangea mountain is at the risk of its survival!!!
Chui-chan is now 87 years old after taking care of the Hydrangea mountain alone for 47 years. It is actually getting harder and harder to take care of the 10,000 Hydrangea because of his health.
It is soon going to be impossible to maintain this mountain with 10,000 Hydrangea blooming unless younger generations succeed to his techniques and build a stable management platform so that visitors can enjoy the mountain.
The Hydrangea season is about one month from June to July. But it is necessary to manage the Hydrangea through the year to maintain beautiful Hydrangea which move visitors. The management of 10,000 Hydrangea requires an unimaginable efforts.
* Pruning is one of the important cares of Hydrangea to cut long branches.
Chui-chan took care of the Hydrangea alone with few days off every year.
Akiruno City and other administrations passionately desire to protect the mountain as a famous sightseeing spot. However, the management of the Hydrangea through the year costs too much. The labor cost alone can be enormous. Akiruno City is worried how the city can hand this Hydrangea mountain to the next generations.
So far the only revenue is based on his donation box saying "JPY 300 per person", which he set about 10 years ago. But this is literally a optional donation.
This box strongly indicates Chui-chan's voluntary personality that he wants visitors to enjoy this lovely Hydrangea. But the care lasts through the year. It must be with unimaginable enormous efforts and labor cost. So far this Hydrangea mountain lasts only by Chui-chan's voluntary will and some donations of local residents.
However, it is clear that we must rebuild a management organization and change the payment system so that we can maintain the mountain in the future because Chui-chan is too old.
Chui-chan desires to hand this Hydrangea mountain to the next generations. While the population is aging in this area, who can succeed to this Chui-chan's desire, and how...?
Ken Takamizu, a local youngster, has strongly swore with his reliable fellows that they became a successor of this Hydrangea mountain. He is as young as 26 years old. He's just started his enterprise based on his hometown, Akikawa Valley. Now he is engaged in the management of a cafe, and planning and conducting outdoor events.
I used to be non-professional about Hydrangea before Chui-chan and local residents taught me a lot. But this Hydrangea mountain is a symbol of my hometown. This Hydrangea mountain and 10,000 Hydrangea are full of dear Chui-chan's will. My will to protect them is stronger than any other people in the world! This is how we started the project to succeed this Hydrangea mountain together with Chui-chan.
We started the training of pruning Hydrangea under Chui-chan and a local leader of this area, Miyazaki-san.
We re-recognized the unimaginable efforts and sensitive operations while the training. Each day, we feel how hard it is to maintain this Hydrangea mountain where the beautiful Hydrangea blooms every year.
We decided to start charging the admission fee of JPY 500 per person, and JPY 500 per car. These JPY 500 becomes our capital to protect the Hydrangea.
We are preparing an invitation ticket of the events to plant Hydrangea for those who donate JPY 10,000 or more at this crowdfunding. This is the events in which you can plant your own Hydrangea in the special area of the Hydrangea mountain. We take advantage of your donations for fertilizer, herbicide, pruning cost, etc, and we are sure to make 10,000 Hydrangea bloom beautifully next year, of course including your own Hydrangea there.
We, the project members, would like to protect the Hydrangea mountain with donators (Hydrangea Mountain Supporters)!
Do you know that the sweat tea people drink on the flower festival on April 8 is made from Hydrangea leaves? Now, we are developing an original tea named "Chui-chan's Hydrangea tea" based on the Hydrangea of Minamizawa Hydrangea Mountain, adding some local ingredients.
We hope that this Hydrangea mountain and this tea contributes to the development of this town as the specialties of this town, and that the achievement of Chui-chan is passed on from generation to generation forever.
"Once upon a time, there was a Hanasaka Jisan who planted the Hydrangea for people's smile for 47 years..."
The management during the last 47 years was financed by Chui-chan's voluntary will and some donations from local residents so there is no expenses left for management, planting, fertilizing, and buying tools, etc of this year and the following years.
If we manage to be successful in this season when we change the management organization, we can care the Hydrangea through the year and protect the Hydrangea together with you by the three policies. We are looking forward to your donations!
We would like hand this mountain full of Hanasaka Jisan's voluntary will to the next generations with you, the Hydrangea Mountain Supporters!! Your donations make the Hydrangea bloom! We are looking forward to your donations!
* Donations are welcome in until May 31, 2017. If you would like to donate from outside Japan, please let me know.