Every year I anticipate the cherry blossoms so I can “hanami”. I was wanting to go some place I’d never been before.  In fact, I quizzed my Japanese teachers about various places in Fukushima and southern Sendai.  When a beautiful Saturday with perfect weather came along, however, my husband checked the internet and discovered that other spots in Fukushima were not blooming yet, but Hanamiyama (Mt. Hanami) was blooming.  So we went there.

I’d been there many times.  It’s really close to our home and it’s very famous.  Loads of tourists come from other parts of Japan to experience its “hanami”.

Last year we went there, but it was a bit too early, so it was nice to get there this year while the blossoms were really blooming.

DSCF4435

This is approaching the mountains.  These food kiosks are temporary.  They are not here in the off season.  Hanamiyama is dead empty during the winter.   (I know from experience!  But no matter the time of year, it’s always nice.)

DSCF4436

The requisite dango.  So colorful.

DSCF4437

Hey, little guys with the huge testicles.  This road leads up to the mountain.

DSCF4439

My son is definitely not the sort of kid who wants to go Hanami.  But once he’s out there enjoying nature and hiking, he loves it!

DSCF4441

This is the park entrance.  The sign says “Hanamiyama Kouen”  (Mt. Hanami Park)

DSCF4442

A lovely view as we traipse up the path.  It took about twenty minutes to walk up?  (I’m guessing.)  It’s not really a hard climb.

DSCF4443

Lots of hikers.  Crowded but not too bad.  I was told the blossoms opened early this year, so the scheduled tourists hadn’t arrived yet.    (The ones from places like Tokyo who make their travel plans weeks in advance.)

I noticed that there were many old people (like around fifty to seventy), more than younger people.  I thought that odd, considering that hiking seems like a young person’s activity.  But my husband said that Hanamiyama is an Old Person’s Disneyland.  LOL

DSCF4444

Walking up!  My son went on ahead.  I like to look around.

DSCF4446

The city of Fukushima in the distance.

DSCF4448

Pretty, pretty.

DSCF4449

Lovely, Lovely.

DSCF4451

Delightful, Delightful.

DSCF4452

At the top.  You can see my son waiting.  And playing with ants.

DSCF4455

On the way down!  I definitely recommend Hanamiyama.  Cherry blossoms bloom in the beginning of April or mid April.   If you manage to get to the Fukushima City train station, it’s an easy bus ride from there.  In the peak season, the buses leave every fifteen minutes and go straight to Hanamiyama.   You can’t miss the bus in the peak season because it is parked right in front of the station (East Exit).  There are friendly guides to help you buy the ticket and answer the questions.It costs 500 yen round trip for an adult bus ticket.