Monday, June 12, 2017

We *finally* make it to the Shibazakura Garden!!!




I have been desperate to see this place since the first year we were here!  I've tried to plan a trip every year, but something always gets in the way ... karate examinations, dance recitals, baseball/softball games, weather...you name it and it happened.  Not this year, my friends...not this year!!  

The drive over was easy.  We rented a car from the base, so tolls were paid for ... about 4,000 yen one way (that's about $70 round trip).  We left at 815 and arrived (in the queue to get into the place) at 1027.  When we arrived the line was starting to stack up behind us.  It was slow moving, but we were at least moving, I think we sat still at the intersection to enter for just a few minutes before they waved us into the park.

The line looks crazier from that direction!
Once they let us into the park, we made a left turn down a little dirt road that lead us to the parking lot.  We managed to get a spot pretty close to the walkway toward the entrance.


And, then....OH MYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!


From a platform at the back of the park.  Shiba-zakura literally means "lawn cherry" because its petals resemble the cherry blossom, and these flowers grow close to the ground.  There are about 800,000 shibazakura (moss phlox) planted in the park.  They begin to bloom in April and peak around the beginning of May.



A close up of the five petaled "Giant Rose" species of Shibazakura.  
There are seven varieties planted in this park.


There were quite a few people already in the park when we arrived.  When we left two hours later....sosososo many people!


These were my favorite!  They aren't shibazakura, but just a patch of wild flowers (you can see them in the pic above).


Kenzie from on top of the platform
From just past the entrance to the flower area you can see a slight hump of flowers in front of a raised platform.  We made our way over to see what all the fuss was about.



Ooohhhh.....so this is what all those people were doing!!!  Well, I managed to squeeze myself between photographers with camera phones, little point and shoots, and big ole honkin' cameras with ginormous tripods and insanely long lenses!  But, it was oh so worth it!


Now that Fuji-san isn't dominating the picture....you can see a few of the different varieties of flowers here....the medium pink closest to me, then the white on the right, the darkest pink in the middle, the light pink toward the back, and the lavender off to the left and right sides.




Don't mind the chocolate on his chin....he had a brownie before we entered. :)


Some of the pictures from today had children that look slightly distracted.  This is why....there were new Pokemon in the area and they were obsessed!  (we waited until halfway through the park before we gave them the phones...ya know...the point where I'm at photo 64,387 and still finding more beautiful spots to shoot from).  The Hubs' level of patience is amazing! 💖




Koinobori (carp streamer) with Fuji in the background.


Cherry blossoms, Mt Fuji, and a carpet of pink!  It doesn't get more Japanese than that!


The crowd is growing!  Perhaps it's time for us to make our way toward the car and head home.


We ended up leaving around 1230 and it took us about 2 1/2 hours to get home.  Traffic was pretty crazy just out of the park.  The cars were piled up in both directions just sitting and waiting to get in.  We counted the distance from where we exited the park to where the line of cars started to spread out....7 miles!!  Some of those people had to be sitting in their cars for hours!!


The cost to get into the park was 600 yen per adult and 250 per kid.  We parked the car in their lot and it cost us 500 yen for the small car.  Easy day...lots of people...amazing flowers!!!  FYI:  there is a festival every year for most of April and some of May.  We chose to go after the festival ended so we could avoid most of the crowds.  This website [ http://www.shibazakura.jp ] has up to date pictures so you can see the progress of the blooming season.