If you were to take a walk along the western side of Mt. Hiei on the outskirts of Kyoto, you might come across a large garden. Through the hedgerows that border this 23-acre site, you’d see an immaculate collection of plants of all kinds; herbs and small shrubs in carefully arranged planters, neatly pruned bushes alongside grassy paths—and all surrounded by trees of many types.
At first glance, you may not guess that this green paradise—one of Japan’s largest botanical gardens—was established by a pharmaceutical company, but the Takeda Garden for Medicinal Plant Conservation has played an important role in our environmental protection efforts and medicinal plant research for over 80 years.
Home to 2,400 species, of which some 200 are endangered, the facility was established to help safeguard biodiversity and continues to provide our scientists with the opportunity to study a multitude of medicinal plants with the aim of identifying new ways to promote good health and tackle illness.
Charged with the task of tending to the plants is a dedicated team of 6 passionate gardeners. You can feel their love for nature in the close attention that they pay to every individual plant. Each species has its own needs in terms of temperature, soil type, and sunlight, conditions that the staff then recreate to enable the plants to thrive as they would in their native environments.
It’s not just plants that are nurtured here: the garden also has a role to play in the education of the next generation, through regular activities held with both local school children and pharmaceutical college students.
While not a typical botanical garden, nor your average pharmaceutical facility, the Takeda Garden for Medicinal Plant Conservation plays an important role in our conservation efforts and represents our holistic approach to caring for rigorous research, our environment, and ultimately better health for all.