Blooms at Tsukigase

Spring is finally coming back. This winter felt like it took forever to complete its cycle. Thankfully I finally got to taste spring the other day. One of my Japanese teachers from a weekly class I go to invited me to go see some plum blossoms. Most of the plants, trees, and flowers haven’t bloomed yet as it has been especially cold recently. The plum blossoms had just started blooming as they usually bloom a lot earlier than the cherry blossoms that Japan is so famous for. I really love spring, so I accepted his invite in a second in hopes of getting out and taking some more pictures and see some new life. Two friends of mine who also live in the city were able to come as well which made everything more fun.

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The location was around an hour drive from my home and the roads there spiraled throughout the valleys that are some common in my area. As soon as I started to see some flowers budding from the trees I knew we must be close. We drove up a small hill and found parking. First thing we did was find some food, and while we weren’t directly aiming for it, we found an amazing view as well. They are your normal Japanese style dishes like udon noodles with tempura. Delicious and enhanced by the surrounding view, it was a great way to start off the mission.

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I took out my cameras and we followed the path down the hill that was lined with plum blossoms. It was still a week or so early I believe as most of the trees looked to be about 1/3rd or a half full. Regardless it was beautiful and such a refreshing sight to see after staring at barren trees all winter. While I don’t think this place is particularly “famous” it was quite crowded. It was quite astounding how many plum blossoms that actually did have at this sight. The trees lined the entire hill going down and around all the different levels. We made circles and loops throughout the hills and were always awaited on the other side by more blossoming beauties. This was the first day in a while I can say I was generally warm as well. That was something I have been waiting for as well.

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The paths were lined with quite a lot of shops and little stalls where you could buy ice cream and other goods famous in the area. All of them staring off the cliff with the same magnificent view as I was gazing at before. I was rather focused on pictures, but my friends decided to test the plum flavored ice cream. I got a taste, and it was defiantly better than one would imagine. After walking a bit further we came upon a large field that had plum blossoms spreading every which way. They acted as a roof against the warm sun and we laid out underneath them relaxing and chatting. It was very similar to “hanami” which is where you sit under cherry trees and have a picnic. It has been too long since I have been able to enjoy the warmth of nature.

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We stayed there for quite a while then continued down the dirt path heading back to the car. We found some tea fields that spread downwards along the hills towards the river awaiting at the bottom. The perfect symmetry of the tea bushes makes for quite a beautiful sight. Once locating the car we wanted to visit a nearby hot spring for some relaxation. Unfortunately once arriving we discovered it was completely packed and decided to call it there. We went back to town and said goodbye to our teacher. I spent a little more time with my friends before I went home. It was a great change of pace from the normal winter I have been enduring and really has got me excited for spring. I was also able to complete my roll of film so I am excited to see how they turned out. That was the first once I have ever completed so I really don’t know what to expect. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and story, peace.

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