Sunday, April 09, 2006


Was picked up this morning at a leisurely 10AM by my lovely Yoshiko and her magical Pajero-mobile and whisked away for a day driving around the countryside trying to find blossoming trees.

Out first attempt was Nikko-kaido, a street which leads from Utsunomiya to Nikko and is lined with large cherry trees which often cause a tunnel effect of flowers to drive under. Unfortunately, whatever variety of cherry trees are planted there aren't blooming yet, so we headed down a side street which looked rather lovely. Here you can see a shot of Nantai-san and the mountain ranges to the West of the city.

As we were walking around, I spotted these prices on these used cars which were quite surprising. I knew cars were cheap here.... but come on... I know people who've dished out more cash than this for bicycles! Mind you, these are small vehicles... but the little pickup truck in the back right is going for 900$... can't beat that!

After our little walk amongst the flowers, we headed out to Romantic Mura for a walk in the forest they've got out there and to check out the jazz band that was playing. We then headed out towards Kanuma, stopping a couple of times to take walks along wooded trails and having a nice lunch before stopping at the major temple complex in Kanuma. The atmosphere was great with people all over the place enjoying hanami (picnic party under the cherry trees) all over the place. It really is a great time of year. While Japan is of course not the only place in the world to have flowering trees, they certainly take the celebration seriously here, and that's really what this is all about.

We eventually turned back towards Utsunomiya, had a bit of a nap before eating some lovely pumpkin linguine, a nice day.

Tomorrow, I'll try and round up the fellers for a trek in and around Hachimanyama park... they checked it out today, but I'm sure they'd be willing to head out for a second viewing.

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