In late June 2019 I was part of a small group that visited the Japanese alps of northern Honshu, Hokkaido and Rebun Island. Our guide Hiro Takenouchi introduced us to a wide range of plants that included 6 species of lily, woodland species like Glaucidium palmatum and Paris japonica, ericaceous Diapensia lapponica, Schizocodon soldanelloides and 5 species of rhododendron. So many were familiar garden plants: Cornus kousa and C. controversa, Magnolia kobus, 4 species of commonly grown hydrangea, two garden worthy weigelias, and exquisite colour forms of Rodgersia podophylla and Campanula punctata. Iris ensata or Japanese iris grew in large swaths in a bog, in the mountains we found four species of primula. Thousands of Dicentra peregrina grew on volcanic pumice on Mt Iwate.