In a savvy innovation to keep cool, Japanese gardeners at the 360 year-old stately home and gardens Sengan-en, have started wearing new jackets with built-in fans.
When temperatures in Kagoshima, which is in the south of the Kyushu and where the gardens are located, often reach more than 30°C in summer, up until now gardeners have struggled to keep cool in their heavy work clothes.
Because Japanese culture makes great importance of formality and proper attire, the gardeners must wear their full work clothes all year. Wearing shorts and a t-shirt would be unthinkable.
The new jackets, which feature a built-in battery pack and fan, address this issue. Gardeners can look their best and keep cool.
Gardener Katsuo Yoshio is a big fan, saying the new jackets are a great help, with many visitors to the garden commenting on them. “Heatstroke is always a worry working outside in the summer all day, so keeping cool is a top priority.”
The team of 15 dedicated gardeners work at the 12-acre Sengan-en garden all year to keep it in pristine condition for visitors to the estate, which was built in 1658.
Tasks such as pruning pine trees in a time-consuming process called “midori-tsumi” are among some of the challenging jobs that are carried out regardless of the weather.