Before leaving Mt Aso after staying for 2 nights, visited Sensuikyo for Miyama-Kirishima (mountain azalea).
Luckily, the road leading up to Sensuikyo has re-opened from April (after being closed since the last earthquake in 2016). The pink Miyama-Kirishima was almost in full bloom on the slopes. We left less than an hour later, when more cars were waiting to be allowed into the parking lot.
Kuju Flower Park
Arrived at the flower park around noon. Had casual lunch then visited various colourful flower fields. There were live music performances close to the entrance on that Sunday which attracted many visitors.
The park was huge and we spent roughly 2 hours there. By the time we left rain clouds started rolling in. Though it was quite crowded (as expected), the park was beautiful with spring flowers and the Kuju mountain range as backdrop.
Nemophila with Mt Kuju as backdrop
Last glimpses of Mt Aso before heading to Kurokawa onsen
Stayed in Yokohama for last 2 nights before returning home.
Minatonomieruoka Park (港の見える丘公園)
Though its name is long, literally it means a park on mount where harbour can be seen. We last visited in late Oct 2010 when autumn roses were blooming. It was more brilliant this time with about 1600 bushes and other spring flowers in full bloom.
Yamashita Park (山下公園)
after lunch we visited this park on the harbourside, with 1900 bushes in full bloom.
On the next day we visited the Ashikaga Flower Park for Fuji (wisteria), also in full bloom, manifested by the fact that the entrance fee was raised to JPY1,800 right on the day we visited.
Took Tohoku Shinkansen to Oyama and changed JR Ryomo local train to Ashikaga Flower Park station, which was newly opened in April. Though it was a Friday, we had to stand on the local train on both ways for 30min each due to huge crowds.
Fuji flowers can be in purple, pink, white and yellow. The last two varieties are late bloomers. While the purple and pink ones were in full bloom, the white Fuji were starting to bloom when we visited.
In the featuring photo is the big Fuji tree of 150 years old with a large span. Apart from small flower petals it also emitted a pleasant scent which attracted bees.
white Fuji in early blooming
Sea of Azaleas and others
Apart from Fuji the sea of Tsutsuji (Azaleas) were blooming at the same time. As these were in red, pink and white it formed a colourful palette with the purple and pink Fuji.
During the weekend we visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. It happened that the masterpieces of French landscape paintings from the Pushkin Museum in Moscow were on special exhibition till July.
We also dropped by the new Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, which attracted huge crowds to line up. It’s smaller than its sister Midtown premise in Roppongi. We did not stay long and headed off to Omotesando for cake and coffee.
On Monday morning, we headed off to northern Tohoku for sakura.
Visited Japan for 25 days in April for Spring flowers in Kanto region, followed by sakura in northern Tohoku and Hakodate. Returned to Tokyo during the second half of golden week for a break. Visited western Izu, the Open-Air Museum in Hakone and Fuji Shibazakura Park before leaving Japan.
Hitachi Seaside Park
In our original plan we had intended to visit in early May. But in this year temperatures have been warmer since late March so sakura and other spring flowers have reached full bloom 7 to 10 days earlier than average. Based on the blooming status, we made last minute changes in early April to stay in Tokyo for few days. This has turned out to be a right call.
While based in Tokyo, we visited this park for blue nemophila in full bloom. Though it was on a weekday, it was quite crowded. The park was huge and the 4.5 million nemophila were grown in Miharashi-no-oka (a small hill) of 35,000 sqm. Though we have seen the same in other Tokyo parks, nothing compares to its scale and density.
view from the top of small hill
Next we headed to the tulip fields which were gorgeous as well. Luckily we visited in mid-April otherwise they would have pelted in late April.