Stayed in Yokohama for last 2 nights before returning home.
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.
Ashikaga Flower Park
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.
Roses were blooming in the garden. Had tea set and enjoyed evening concert.
Garden in New Otani Hotel, Akasaka
view from room
Daytime onsen in Hakone
Shichiku garden (紫竹ガーデン)
visited Shichiku garden when tulip was blossoming on a sunny day.
Drove by beautiful Tokachi plain and onward to Furano. Visited Tomita Farm for the first time in early June.
Tokachi plain along the way
visited rapeseed farms outside Takikawa.
sheep were rarely seen in Japan
returned to Sapporo and stayed in hotel on top of station.
views from room
view from dining place
My first time driving in Japan.
After landing in New Chitose airport, took train to Obihiro and stayed overnight. Picked up rental car on next morning then drove to Akan-ko. Stayed in Tsuruga onsen ryokan for the first time.
It was a rainy and cold day, around 11C if my memory was correct even in end May.
view of Akan-ko
Higashi-Mokoto Shibazakura Park (
It was a rainy day with drizzles at times, but the scenery was awesome with the scale of Shibazakura on the hill slope.
visited this lake for the first time and immediately fell in love with it. It was serene with almost perfect reflections from the hotel garden and from room.
wild onsen along lake rim
serene reflections in lake
plants in the hotel garden
view from room
Kotan onsen in the wild
stayed in this onsen for the first time and would return another 5 times.
view from balcony
The Yuni Garden is a huge English garden. Various flowers were blooming in late June when we visited. Worthy to spend a few hours there for those who love gardens and flowers.
Second visit in Shikotsu-ko for relaxing onsen stay.
Visited and stayed in Toya-ko 4th time. The sculptures around the lake rim are interesting.
Fireworks in the evening and on the next day before returning to Sapporo
Mt Annupuri in the distance
Visited Hokkaido in late June for 1 week after the 3.11 Tohoku big earthquake to support Japan.
CTS > Yubari > Tokachigawa onsen > Furano > Toya-ko > Sapporo
After a brief overnight stay in Yubari, drove to Obihiro and stayed in our favourite Tokachigawa onsen again.
90-year old soba shop in Obihiro
Tokachigawa onsen park
stayed in one of our favourite onsen ryokans
overlooking Tokachigawa from our balcony
Tokachi plain from observatory
stopped by serene Kanayama-ko while driving en route to Furano.
flowers were blooming such as Iris, Dahlia, Gazania, Poppy and early Lavender etc.
early Lavender species
Tokachi range in the distance
Stopped by Senbou-toge for panoramic view of Tokachi plain, and to our surprise Wisteria (Fuji) was blooming in the resting area. Wild Lupins were blooming here and there on the road side and Flowerland.
Shikisai-no-oka, Biei Patchwork Road
Dropped by Shikisai-no-oka as usual and had quick lunch there. Re-visited some famous trees in that area before visiting the Philosophical Tree. We did not realize this would be our last encounter 🙁
Biei Patchwork road
The Philosophical Tree
First visit to Awaji for Tulips after Hanami in Kyoto. Drove across the 4km Akashi Kaikyo bridge to Awaji.
AKASHI KAIKYO NATIONAL GOVERNMENT PARK (淡路島国営明石海峡公園)
While tulip was the main theme, sakura and other Spring flowers were nicely planted and arranged in the park. We spent around 5 hours, including a brief lunch.
Driving across the Akashi bridge
Akashi bridge viewed from Awaji
Onaruto Bridge and whirlpools
drove to the southern tip of Awaji where the Onaruto bridge connects Awaji to Tokushima in Shikoku.
Akashi bridge from Kobe
Flower Festival Commemorative Park in Kani
After returning from Hida-Takayama, visited the Rose Garden in Kani, which was more than 1hr from Nagoya by train and shuttle bus. This rose garden was huge – apart from 30,000 rose bushes, it also had many Spring flowers such as Poppy, Daisy, Camelia etc.
Inside the greenhouse and other flowers
Roses from rest of the world
World Rose Garden
Blue Rose Garden