I have just come back from cherry blossom lover's paradise.
A place called Hanamiyama in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture.
I went with my host mother type person who I mentioned in my blog about going to see the plum blossoms
. We got an early bus this morning and were at the park by 9:30ish.
Despite being so early, there were already bus loads and bus loads of people there. Lots of people must have come with a tour group as they seemed to be traveling in packs. The average age also seemed to be about 70 years old. I saw very few young people since it was a) Friday and b) young people generally prefer to get drunk under the cherry trees than walk around oggling and snapping photos like crazy.
There were a lot of walking cane toting, hunch backed (longs years in the fields) men and women who were certainly out to make the most of it. Everyone looked so happy but also had a glint that said: "don't get in my way you fool" in their eye. Even so, everyone was very polite and offered to take photos for us as soon as we even looked like we might want someone to help, lots of people waited patiently so as not to walk into our photos etc. I am still amazed by the energy that elderly people in Japan have.
The walk from the carpark to the very top takes and back takes about an hour and we stopped off here and there and spent a bit of time taking photos as best we could. We were still back at the station by 11:30 though! After over an hour of being bombarded by colour it all got a bit much for the eyes.
(Top to bottome) October Sakura, blooms from October through winter until April. THe red one is called Boke or flowering quince and another kind of dark coloured cherry blossom.
We had lunch at a bakery as I was about to have a melt down from hunger after walking all the way up the hill. We so should have just sucked it up though as we then went across the street to a big department store that was having a special Hokkaido Food market. There were so many things to taste test, we didn't need to eat lunch at all...we were full and couldn't bring ourselves to try any of it. We did manage to come away with quite a few goodies. See photo. The big thing on the left is a squid stuffed with all kinds of seafood and rice, there are dried scallops and pepermint oil which I have been looking for for ages. You can spray it on your sore muscles and it works like deep heat, use it as breath freshner, room freshner and the most important, you can put a drop of it in your water - yum!!!
On the bus on the way home, we both snored our heads off for most of the way I'm sure! Totally fantastic day, so lucky it wasn't raining and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom.