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ADACHI GARDENS EXCURSION


Very occasionally, you come across something so beautiful it literally takes your breath away. ADACHI GARDENS, frequently voted Japan’s best garden, has that effect on you. The planting, landscaping and maintenance are so perfect it is hard to believe it is real.


Adachi Zenko (1899-1990) started


the garden when he was 70, aiming to create a ‘living painting’ as well as increase people’s appreciation and interest in Japanese art. Designer Saichi Kojima has brought in hundreds of red and black pine trees, planting them at the same angle as they leant when growing in their original mountain home. Huge, beautifully-shaped rocks


were brought in, together with large quantities of evergreen azaleas, maple trees and moss. A waterfall, pond filled with koi carp and teahouse were added. Clever planting was used to create the illusion distant mountains and forests are part of the garden. Adachi was a perfectionist and the meticulous standard of maintenance he demanded remains a key feature. Every tree and shrub is intensively pruned into classical shapes using techniques that date from feudal times.


The carefully-cultivated moss is painstakingly groomed with little knives and the white gravel carefully washed by hand. The result is a calm, enchanting


garden whose focus changes with the seasons – azaleas in spring, soft verdant green in summer, the glow of red maples in autumn and, in winter, beautiful shapes highlighted by snow.


clear he would have no difficulty removing the head of anyone who troubled him. One of the few pretentions Orion does permit itself is reference to suites as guests’ ‘staterooms’. I dislike the term but admit it is a fair description of Orion II’s magnifi- cent accommodations. They are generous, from 215-286sq ft,


and all have an ocean view, sitting area, DVD/CD player, satellite TV, telephone, safe, mini-bar and Internet connection. As I entered, I was immediately struck


by the warm American cherry-wood wall- panelling, the French window opening on to a balcony, comfortable chairs, large mir- rors, fine-thread Brussels linen and marble washstand.


74 WORLD OF CRUISING I Winter 2011-12


The bottle of decent sparkling wine and


plump strawberries dipped in chocolate were also appreciated. Later, I came to appreciate the bedside effective reading lights and blackout curtains. Sixteen of the 50 cabins have balconies, a luxury it is difficult to give up once you have had the experience.


T


he ship’s two lounges and main din- ing room are best described as warm, welcoming and restful. Look care-


fully and you see gold curtains, ivory wall- paper, soft recessed lighting, comfortable sofas, decorative polished copper panels and modern sculpture. The tropical flower displays were so perfect that, one evening,


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