Tulips

I hadn’t seen a field of tulips before, so I decided to visit my favorite garden in Mie which is Nabana No Sato.  This place changes the flowers depending on the season.  I remember in autumn it had cosmos festival.  And I think by the end of May,  a new set of flowers will be planted as soon as the tulips have withered.

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Go to Meitetsu Bus Center just somewhere at the back of Nagoya Station.  Buy a ticket to Nabana no Sato.  Here’s the bus schedule. (*Schedule may change without prior notice.)

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Wisteria

The reign of cherry blossoms has ended which means other spring flowers will have their time to shine.  Most people flock to gardens or tunnels to see the growing wisteria. Wisteria has its own charm as a growing vine with purple or white flowers.11Mandaraji Park is one of the nearest places in my area to see the wisteria.  This park can be found in Konan City in Aichi Prefecture.  I had a very smooth travel going to Konan Station.  If you’re coming from Nagoya, it takes less than 30 minutes by train via Meitetsu Inuyama Line.  By the time I exited the station, I saw someone holding a placard informing the travelers where they could ride the bus going to Mandaraji Park.  I really found it very helpful as I didn’t know in which bus stop I was supposed to go to.12I went to Mandaraji Park on May 4th  which is actually Midori no Hi or Greenery Day in Japan.  It is a day to appreciate mother nature.  Thus, I found it befitting to see the blooming wisteria on that particular holiday.  It was  sunny but I didn’t feel sweaty at all because the wisteria vines kept me under the shade.  Plus, the beauty of nature really has a way to keep one in a good mood.13Actually, I’ve only come to appreciate spring this time around because I was more of an autumn person.  But after being stuck in cold weather for many months, I find myself longing for the warmth of the spring season.  The presence of flowers in the front yard of the houses I pass allows my mind to destress even for just a moment.  Truly, colors and flowers have a positive effect on a person’s emotional state.  Until now, it amazes me to see these beautiful flowers just within my reach because not all people are lucky enough to see so much of nature in the place where they live.14There is just something ethereal walking through a place with hanging bluish-purple wisteria vines.  I feel like I am in a fairytale world.  Actually, Mandaraji Park isn’t the place where I really wanted to go to see the wisteria.  My dream destination is the Wisteria flower tunnel at Kawachi Fuji Garden in Fukuoka.  Since I ran out of budget to go to Kyushu Island, I decided to just enjoy the wisteria in Aichi Prefecture.

As I entered Mandaraji Park, I was actually disappointed because the wisteria vines that I saw were lacking in length.  They were just crawling on the trellis.  But as I walked further inside, I finally spotted the hanging wisteria vines which were much longer than the ones I saw at the entrance.  Aside from the bluish-purple species, I also enjoyed the white-colored wisterias because they smelled so good.  It reminded me of Sampaguita: the national flower of the Philippines.15What I appreciate most in Japan is that even disabled people get to enjoy nature.  I spotted one or two people in wheelchairs.  It’s always a family affair whenever Japanese people go sightseeing. I really appreciate how this country makes it easy for everyone to access the local tourist spots.

Flowers are beautiful gifts of nature.  They’re one of the reasons why I travel to different places. Hopefully, I’ll get to visit my dream wisteria tunnel.16

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Sakura at Kakamigahara

This is my favorite place to see the cherry blossoms because it has a romantic, jdrama-ish feel to it. During the sakura season, the park ground gets covered with a carpet of pink petals. My favorite part is the pathway where you can see pink paper lanterns hanging on the cherry blossom trees. This year, unfortunately, I visited a little too late. Thus, when I stepped out of the train station, this area was unrecognizable. Almost all cherry blossom petals have already fallen on the ground. It’s been four years since I last saw this place, and it’s disheartening that I have to wait again for another year to see its beauty. Sakura, you are so beautiful but you fade away so quickly.

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Cherry Blossoms at Yamazakigawa River

DSCF3423 “This weekend is the best time to see the cherry blossoms,” mentioned the woman I work with.  It might be true but I wasn’t planning to have my hanami on said weekend because I had a dental appointment.  Come Saturday, I was patiently waiting for my teeth to be examined when the dentist assistant engaged me in a chitchat.  “Today is the best time to see the cherry blossoms,” she said cheerfully.  Two Japanese women randomly telling me that that Saturday was the perfect time to see the cherry blossoms made me decide to finally go to Yamizakigawa River: the best viewing spot in Aichi prefecture.

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It was the first weekend of April. Most people probably scheduled their hanami on that day if I base it on the number of people around.  It was rainy the day prior to that and the days after which made it the perfect day.  It was a sunny spring day so I didn’t have to wear my long coat.  It was a comfortable long walk because the sun’s heat was not intense.  This is my second time to live in Japan and also my second time to experience spring.

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Since my arrival in August of last year, I started having a deep fascination with flowers.  Cherry Blossom, being the most beautiful and beloved in this country, is always a must-see.  The sight of just one or two trees is not enough for ne anymore as I always spot them on my way to work every week.  Thus, I longed to see a hundred of them in a park or lining a river.  Yamazakigawa is a perfect choice and a recommended spot in most of my online searches.

I reached the subway station but since it’s still a 10-minute walk, my problem started to arise.  I didn’t know which way to go so I just followed the direction where most people went.  Unfortunately, almost ten minutes had passed but there was still no sign of cherry blossoms.  That was when I finally decided to use google map to bring me to Nagoya Women’s University which is near the river.  When I reached Nagoya University, I saw many people going in one direction so I just started following them.  Lines of cherry blossoms can also be found along the road.  By the time I saw a bridge, I knew that I found the Yamazakigawa River.

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I went to Yamazakigawa with the intention of photographing only the beauty of the place.  When I include myself into the picture, I usually become a little stressed because I tend to focus on getting a good angle for my portrait.  But on that rare day, my mind was just on the cherry blossoms.  I walked the long kilometer of the riverside.  The place was packed with people.  It amuses me how the Japanese celebrate hanami.  I saw people with their family, friends, and partners eating lunch or having snacks under the cherry blossom trees.  Because it was too crowded, I think some of them didn’t mind at all even if they weren’t able to set-up a plastic blanket on the ground for their hanami.  Some brought a cooler and even had wine.  Some had bento boxes which were probably bought from a convenience store on their way to the river.  There were also two or three small vans selling street food.  Although there weren’t a lot, the restaurants near the area were also full.

I was glad I did go on that particular day.  Thanks to the two Japanese women who unconsciously prodded me.  The cherry blossoms were at their best.  The rain partnered with the strong wind of the succeeding days would have hastened the falling of the petals.  Ymazakigawa River, undeniably, had the most number of cherry blossom trees that I’ve seen in my region so far.

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Begonia Garden

There is a secret garden in a place called Nabana no Sato.  Nabana no Sato is a theme park located in Mie Prefecture, Japan.  I explored that park before for its Winter Illumination but I didn’t even stumble on that garden.

I refer to the Begonia Garden in Nabana no Sato as a secret place because I didn’t know such an ethereal place is confined in what looks like a simple building from the outside.  I just happened to see a picture of it in Instagram and I was like “I didn’t see it when I went to Nabana no Sato!”. That led me to take a second visit.  When I was there, I spent more than half of my time just within that big garden.  It was enough to cool myself during a very humid August summer.

The first room that you’ll enter is filled with Begonias.  According to the American Begonia Society, Begonias have 1500 different species and they can grow from a mere few inches high to more than 12 feet.  For me, they looked like roses, just a little bit bigger.  The begonias on display in Nabana no Sato come in different colors.  Each begonia is planted in a pot.  There seemed to be like a hundred of potted begonia plants arranged carefully inside the huge greenhouse.

When you move on to the other parts of the glass building, you’ll see different kinds of plants and colorful flowers.  I think what makes the place more exquisite are the hanging plants that look like art installations.  Before you eventually make an exit, there is an area that for me would definitely be a perfect venue for a dream garden wedding.  The medium-sized fountain pond filled with floating colorful water lilies and lotus flowers creates a perfect balance to such a flower-packed setting. Everything seems to be in place.  Just have that special someone and your entourage!

The Begonia Garden in Nabano no Sato somehow reminds me that life is beautiful and colorful.  And that it is possible to have that kind of beauty around us if we just continue to care and protect nature.

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This is just one of the sceneries that you can enjoy in Nabana No Sato.

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There is a restaurant inside the big garden.

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How To Go There:

Refer to my previous post.