In Japan, viewing plum blossoms is not big a deal as viewing cherry blossoms, but this year, I wanted to properly experience it. So on March 14 (also White Day in Japan!), we decided to go on a day trip to Ibaraki for the Mito Plum Blossom Festival!
(if you’re wondering what this means, read till the end of the post!)
We headed to Kairakuen 偕楽園 in Mito, which is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan [wiki lists all of them here]. It’s interesting that this park is entirely free! No entrance fees or anything. Just 500 yen for all-day parking!
Oh, in case you didn’t know, every area in Japan is famous for something, and Mito? It’s famous for plum! Therefore it makes it THE place to go for viewing plum blossoms! It’s also famous for natto. But I wouldn’t want to go to a natto festival D:
Of course, Fu and I went with Haru. Which is the name of our car, btw lol.
Apparently many people decided to drive too and we were trapped in the queue into the parking lots for the longest time -_- I guess because the festival is only held on one single day in the entire year.
So… we decided to entertain ourselves.
After 20? 30? minutes of queuing, we were finally free!
We did a quick recce of the place and found that there was an ongoing food bazaar (which is a common sight wherever there are crowds):
We didn’t buy anything to eat though, because…
Fu bought the cake for me as a White Day present instead of chocolates. He said White Day must eat cake. I asked who said that? He said, “Me.” -_-
But the cake is very pretty! *heart eyes* And yummy too. Definitely nicer than chocolates. One of the fillings had mochi inside!
Must get cake for me every White Day ok? ^o^
After food, it’s time for…
I love this photo! The lighting was really nice and I didn’t even need to adjust the levels on this photo!
Wonder who’s taking the photos for us?
The iPhone in Fu’s hand + camera Wifi + tripod.
When we posed in front of the tripod (which is more than 1.6m tall at its full height), we got a lot of curious looks from bypassers. Because… no one uses a tripod to take photos of themselves. I literally mean NO ONE. Apart from us.
The only other people with tripods are those with fancy schmancy DSLRs that look like they weigh half my weight, taking photos of nature, and there we are, my Sony camera perched on top of the tripod like a little bird. They must be looking at us in horror and thinking, “What are these people doing? That’s not how you use a tripod!” LOL.
But whatever la! Stare then stare la. As long as I get my photos! I hate asking people to help me take photos because 1) I’m bothering them 2) They can never take it the way I want. Something always gets cut off and 3) I cannot ask them to retake infinitely, neither can I ask other people to take for me because it’s quite rude and the first person will be like wtf I take the photo not nice is it?! Sigh. Now with a tripod, my problems are solved! :D
We walked deeper into garden – it’s a really huge garden! – and found tons of plum trees! When taken from a distance, they’re not very nice because the flowers are sparse and a lot of the branches show through, so no collective picture.
Instead, I’ll show you individual trees!
There are many varieties and many colors:
and one of my favorite kinds:
I also like the Shidare Zakura (weeping cherry)! Fu asked me why I like them because he doesn’t find them nice, the tree looks sad, and the name sounds depressing. I can’t really explain it either, but I feel there is an air of grace and elegance to them. It’s like they are a ballerina, arching their branches in a dance of their own. When the wind blows, the flower petals gently ruffle and provide music only they can hear.
WHAT. I AM NOT CRAZY OK. T_T
Anyway, you might have discovered why plum blossoms are not as popular as cherry blossoms. Plum trees are simply just not as enchanting or captivating. They are very sparse and too much of the branches can be seen. And I’m sure we can agree that brown or wood is not exactly a color or texture that sets people’s hearts aflutter. Unlike cherry trees, which is basically a giant fluffy cotton candy on a tree trunk.
But when close up, they are still pretty in their own right:
Random: I’m loving my new camera lens!!! ;D Cannot stop ooh-ing and aah-ing over the macro shots hehe.
We also saw a bamboo forest that really made me stop in awe.
They are SO TALL and so elegant! I find them really beautiful!
But Fu was like “Huh? What’s so special about them? They’re just bamboo.” -_- GAHHH. Pure left-brainers can be so infuriating at times. I bet if I showed him lines of well-written code, he’ll be all “Whoa, this is really elegant!” -_-
Anyway, this marks the end of v1.0 Hemera. Hemera is the goddess of day, hence the namesake for the day part of the Plum Blossom Festival.
Watch out for the next instalment, v2.0 Nyx which covers the night part of the festival! And yes, Nyx is the goddess of night :)