Spring will be approaching soon and hopefully by the next issue of Access, Yamaguchi will be warm enough to have a picnic. In this issue, I would like to introduce you to Tokiwa Park, one of the most beautiful parks in Yamaguchi and the true story about the lovable Tokiwa Park mascot Cutta-kun.
Tokiwa Park, which is located in Ube, has various aspects and sights to see. First, the greenery – the flowers and the plants around the park are hard to miss. With cherry blossom season coming up in early April, the park is a must see with approximately 3,500 cherry blossom trees. The park was also selected in the Top 100 cherry blossom locations, a perfect place for a picnic. It also has calamus, water lilies, hydrangea, and other plants that could be found while exploring the Ube tokiwa Museum. The museum is partially constructed to be a greenhouse. There is a cactus greenhouse along with a greenhouse dedicated to tropical plants. On the grounds, there is also the Coal-Mining History Museum (the first coal museum in Japan created in 1967)； a small amusement park with a roller coaster, merry-go-round, and a ferris wheel； and a camp area. Last but not least, the animals are definitely a highlight of the park. Observe the monkeys and the flamingoes, feed the swans, and pet the pelicans. Yes, pet the pelicans. You might find this a little odd, but this all goes back to the story of Cutta-kun.
Cutta-kun, born in 1985 at Tokiwa Park, was named after his parents who were from Calcutta, India. Cutta-kun was raised by humans, therefore very friendly and frequently flew to visit suburbs and seashores nearby. Cutta-kun was a regular at the preschool by Tokiwa Park； and he walked the children to school and dance during school hours. Children would pet and ride his back, and his sweet nature made him famous all over Japan. His story was made into a movie in 1995. Sadly, Cutta-kun passed away in 2008 at the age of 23. Although Cutta-kun has passed away, he lives on through his son Kirara-kun, who took on his friendly personality, and Bun-kun and Yana-chan who still visit schools in the city.