Monday, 25 April 2016

Mito ume(shu)matsuri

I know April is the season for sakura (cherry blossoms), but before talking about them, I would like to focus on other beauties named ume (plum blossoms). (Btw. matsuri means festival.)

On Saturday 5th of March, 6/7 of Vulcanus Hitachi(naka) crew set off to make a trip to Mito, the capital of Ibaraki prefecture, and it's famous Kairakuen garden. The garden/park is famous for it's plum blossoms and being one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. On Saturday there was also a umeshu (plum wine) festival going on and there you could taste various umeshu from all over Japan for 30 minutes. Sweeeeeet! Also literally. :D

Mito is only around half an hour by train from Hitachi-Taga, but for lucky Aidan and Mathilde it's the next stop from their station.

This is a (flower) photo heavy post. You've been warned. ;)

The prettiest photo first so it will appear as the preview photo when I post it to Facebook. :P
But wait! That looks like a cherry blossom! Yep, it does, but it's a plum blossom. Probably the easiest way to tell these two flowers apart is that cherry blossom petals have split at the end of each petal while plum blossoms are round. More ways to tell the flowers/trees apart can be found for example here and here. (There are also peach blossoms which look almost the same as plums, but apparently those petals end in sharp point.)

Half of the beauty of the plum trees comes from the trunk. A random tree on my way to a bus stop.
Seeing part of Kairaku-en already!
Typical festival booths.
Tokiwa shrine with people queuing for praying.
Umeshu matsuri ticket.
Queuing for the umeshu festival. From left Aidan, Anthony and Ed.
Mathilde exited about a snack.

These are all plums from the Kairaku-en garden, just different varieties.

Some of the trees had only began to bloom.

Group photos! Mathilde, Ed, Alan, Aidan and Anthony.

All together.
Happy me.
Night illumination at Kōdōkan.
Night illumination at Kōdōkan.
Lake Senba. For some reason this reminds me of Espoo in Finland...

And as the last one, some flower I in front my yosakoi practice hall.