After a week of cold, wind and rain, today at last we had warm weather. Time to go cherry blossom viewing (hanami 花見）. Already past its best in town so I drove out to Miharu which has scores of weeping cherries most of them saplings of the famous 'Takizakura' (waterfall cherry) 1,000 years old and one of the 'Three Great Cherry Trees' of Japan. I knew it would be crowded so headed first to my favourite, the 'Fudo-zakura' which is uncommercialised and has a small shrine at its foot. Drove around trying to get to the Takizakura by the back way but the police had it blocked off. Faced a wait of an hour or so (and that was from a shortcut; there was a jam of 5 or more kms from the expressway side) so gave up. I'll try again another day.
Headed back to Koriyama where people were having picnics or sampling the food from stalls. There's a saying 'Hana yori dango' (花より団子), sweet cakes rather than the flowers. A cherry blossom equivalent of 'I'm only here for the beer', perhaps.
Golden Week has started. Nine days holiday for some lucky people. I have Sunday and Monday off. Back to work on Tuesday and Wednesday, then four days off, returning to work on Monday.
|The Fudo-zakura, 350 years old
|Five metres round the trunk, this guy seemed to be an expert
|The little shrine. The dull thud of the gong echoed out over the countryside.
Other sounds: the singing of the nightingale and croaking of frogs.
|The flowers - dark pink and delicate
|Another ancient tree, the Kaisan Yakushi-zakura.
Can you see the huge camelia tree growing alongside the trunk?
|Delightful countryside to travel through. Scenes like this not uncommon.
|Back in Koriyama at the Kaiseizan shrine.
Wonderful smells: yakitori, grilled corn, pancakes, candy floss
|Picnic in Kaiseizan Park
|Notice: 'This area decontaminated. Before 2.49μSv/hr. After 0.55μSv/hr. 18 April 2012.'