‘Miyagawa Wase’-A Mandarin Orange Born in Yanagawa-

The Tachibana family built a fruit farm called ‘Kikko-en’ more than 80 years ago, and they have cultivated Miyagawa Wase, which is Japan’s first successful early-maturing mandarin.

By Tachibana Museum

Portrait of Tachibana TomoharuTachibana Museum

20E07_2寛治、伯爵となる
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The 14th head, Tomoharu, became a count

The Tachibana family continued to govern the Yanagawa domain until the end of the Edo period. In 1869, the last Lord Akitomo returned his right to rule over the land and people to the emperor because of the plan of Hanseki-hokan, and moved to Tokyo. In 1874, Akitomo’s son Tomoharu became the 14th head of the family. He was honored as a count in accordance with the Peerage Law. In 1889, he moved his home back to Yanagawa in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Tachibana family's farmTachibana Museum

20E08_3農事試験場をつくる
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Tomoharu established an agricultural experiment station

Tomoharu thought that improving agriculture would be in the nation's best interest, so he established a large-scale agricultural experiment station in Yanagawa in 1886. He planted various kinds of seeds that were collected from inside and outside of Japan.

Competition of citrus fruitsTachibana Museum

Tomoharu was particularly focused on production of citrus fruits, largely due to a mild climate that supports citrus production in Yanagawa. This supportive push, led to the creation of a yearly competition of citrus fruits. He invited the participation of people. As a result, the cultivation and quality of mandarin oranges was greatly improved.

Mandarine orange Miyagawa WaseTachibana Museum

Dr. Miyagawa Kenichi grafted a tree, which received from Tomoharu’s experiment station, onto a trifoliate orange tree in his garden. He then exhibited this orange tree at the competition. This tree served as the first of what would eventually become the  early maturing mandarin variety known as ‘Miyagawa Wase.’ These widely popular, high-quality mandarins are still produced in Japan today.

View of Kikko-en Farm (1939) by UnknownTachibana Museum

20E09_4鑑徳、橘香園をひらく
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The 15th Head Akinori opened Kikko-en Orchard

In 1929, Tomoharu’s son, Akinori, became the 15th head as well as the count and took over the Tachibana family’s farm. To spread Japan’s first, early maturing mandarin, He started a fruit farm and named it ‘Kikko-en.’ Since then, the Kikko-en has been run by the family up to the present. A terraced orange grove, made of stone walls built by Akinori, still remains today.

Terraced orange groveTachibana Museum

20E10_5現在の「橘香園」
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Kikko-en at Present

At present, Kikko-en orchard is still being run by the Tachibana family and the14th Head Tomoharu’s spirit for agricultural promotion has been passed down from generation to generation.

Agricultural experiment stationTachibana Museum

20E11_6立花いこいの森公園
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Tachibana Ikoi no Mori Park

The Tachibana family’s farm, which cultivated commercial crops, was purchased by Yanagawa City in 1996. Two-thirds of the site was developed into a park named ‘Tachibana Ikoi no Mori Park’ in 2000. The name of the park was chosen from entries from the citizens of Yanagawa.

Wisteria tree in NakayamaTachibana Museum

On the precincts of the shrine adjacent to the park, there is a great 300-year-old wisteria tree. It has been designated as a natural monument of Fukuoka Prefecture. This mature tree reaches its peak bloom with massive flowery clusters in late April and gives off a nice fragrance floating through the park.

Credits: Story

Tachibana Foundation
TACHIBANA MUSEUM

Created by Executive Committee of the 45
0th anniversary of Tachibana Muneshige’s birth “Discovery & Experience Project of Castle Town and Samurai Culture in Yanagawa”

Supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan in the fiscal 2020

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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