I first visited Japan as a sixteen year old exchange student and found an instant love and admiration for the country, the people, the cultural differences, diversity and most notably the beauty of nature.
Fast forward 35 years, it is still instilled in my being and I find that on every journey to Japan I find something wonderful and amazing on my travels.
After living, learning and teaching in Japan for nine years I began a fascination with the four distinct seasons and the flowers that are connected to them.
ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK
If I have to choose just one………. my favourite all time place in Japan.................
From mid April to mid May is the most spectacular collection of wisteria, azaleas and peonies. One of the best places to view beautiful wisteria is the Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture. Ashikaga Flower Park features lots of blue, white and pink wisteria, as well as yellow laburnum (キングさりkingusari) that look like yellow coloured wisteria.
Opening hours: All year: 9:00AM~6:00PM
Except the winter season from late November to February: 10:00AM~5:00PM
Entrance fees: Varies depending on season and special events. Adults from ¥300~¥1200
Access: Approximately 2 hours by train from Haneda Airport, Narita Airport or Tokyo Station/Ueno Station/Asakusa Station. Nearest train station is Ashikaga Flower Park Station.
Blooming beauties, a seasonal guide to Japan's flowers:
• Ume (plum blossom) in bloom January–March
• Sakura (cherry blossom) in bloom March–May
• Fuji (wisteria) in bloom April–May
• Ajisai (hydrangea) in bloom May–July
• Himawari (sunflowers) in bloom July–August
• Kiku (chrysanthemum) in bloom September–November
Haiku are non-rhyming poems written in three lines with 5-7-5 syllables. The only other rules are that there should be one word which somehow evokes a season, as well as a “cutting word” that provides a break in the poem.
yado karu koro ya
fuji no hana
How would you translate the above Haiku written by Japan's most famous Haiku poet, Matsuo Bashō (1644~1694)?
Do you have a favourite Haiku you would like to share?
Maybe you have written one? We would love to see it. Simply log in and leave a comment.
Written by Simone Frost, International Group Consultant Saizen Tours
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