Japan, Day 3: Senmi Shikizakura no Sato

Ever heard of sakura blooming during autumn? Well, that is not a fantasy because there is a place in Japan where this happens. The town is called OBARA, which is popular for shikizakura (四季桜 four-season cherry blossoms), and not too far from Nagoya.

NOVEMBER 23, 2018

From Fushimi Station, the train ride to Toyotashi Station was about an hour. I bought food for breakfast but wasn’t able to eat it because there was a long line already at Bus Stop 1. It turned out to be the bus bound for Obara Fureai Park, the more popular spot for shikizakura. My destination was SENMI SHIKIZAKURA NO SATO, which was farther than the park.

I rode the bus with Kaminigi as the last stop, and the 1-hour ride became 1.5 hours due to traffic congestion in the Obara Fureai Park area. It was an interesting ride because there were more than five other Filipinos in the same bus. They were MA students who had no classes that day, and we ended up chatting for some time.

When the bus arrived at the Kaminigi stop, there was no English sign where to go to reach Senmi Shikizakura no Sato so I decided to follow where the locals were heading. The walk was about 10 minutes and even before reaching the park, I already saw a few shikizakura trees.

Upon reaching the highway, there were even more shikizakura so it was a sign that I was very near my destination. I crossed the road and then saw this:

Yay, finally!

Even at the base of Senmi Shikizakura no Sato, the landscape was so scenic that you would not be able to resist taking lots of pictures. Imagine seeing autumn and spring colors mixing together!

Red and pink representing two seasons
Close up shot of shikizakura

Autumn colors were present everywhere. 😍

I thought that it was just a big area with some stairs or slopes. What I didn’t know was that I need to do a long uphill climb to go around the whole park. So, uhm, I was wearing loafers… Hence, most of the time, I had to be really careful in walking otherwise I might roll down the slope. Haha!

Start of the uphill trail

But, all those slope challenges were worth it because I got to see shikizakura flowers up close. Shikizakura flowers are quite small compared to the spring sakura one. Still, that does not make them less beautiful.

Some other sights I enjoyed:

The only gingko tree I saw in the area
Spring and Autumn together

After making sure that I already covered all possible trails, I started my descent. Akala mo naman nag-hike nang bongga. Haha!

I was so hungry by the time I reached the food stalls and dining area. I checked if there was anything interesting but all stalls had long lines so I decided to just eat the onigiri we bought earlier. Before finding a spot though, I smelled a really nice citrus fragrance nearby and found locals eating a small yellow fruit. I decided to buy one since it was just ¥50 per piece.

After finishing my onigiri, I removed half of the peel of the fruit I bought. It was so juicy that my hands had juice drops everywhere. I took my first bite… and my face couldn’t help but twitch because of the sourness. I said out loud, “Ang asim!!!”. The group of four obaasans (grandmas) across the table laughed and told me “Suppai!!!” (sour). They were talking to me in Japanese and from the little I understood, they told me that the fruit was yuzu and it was really sour during this season. They told me “Gambatte!” (good luck) when I reached for my 2nd and 3rd slices. I responded to them with my basic Japanese skills – good thing they understood me saying thank you for cheering me and that the yuzu was really not sweet. They said goodbye as I was eating my 4th slice… and after that, I decided to give up on the yuzu.

While putting the yuzu in the plastic bag, an obaasan from another table approached me and gave me wet wipes. Such a sweet gesture! I thanked her in Japanese and gave her a big smile as I wiped my hands clean from the yuzu juice.

I think I am really a magnet of ojiisans and obaasans (grandpas & grandmas) of Japan. 😊 I had cute and heart-warming stories as well last year – in Yasaka Shrine, Kyoto and Todai-ji, Nara (here).

After finishing, I climbed a long flight of stairs, which led to a small shrine:

In the middle of climbing the stairs, I noticed a nice spot with maple trees basking under the rays of the sun.

Trying to find the best angle…

Paid respect to the shrine at the top of the hill then started going down to catch the special bus going straight to Korankei.

I was waiting for the 14:01 direct bus to Korankei and I was lucky to meet three locals who were volunteers helping tourists in Obara. One of them can speak in relatively good English so she confirmed the bus schedule.

Being in Japan, everything was supposedly on time but all of us were wondering why the bus had not yet arrived even if it was 14:10 already. The volunteers started asking locals nearby and one of them even called someone on the phone. Apparently, that Friday was a holiday so the bus schedule is different from normal weekdays.

Plan B was to take the 14:37 bus going to Obara Fureai and from there, take the last shuttle going to Korankei. They apologized a few times but I told them not to mind it since Korankei was my last stop for that day anyway. What was more important for me was to see the autumn night illumination.

The Toyota Tourism website (click here) provided an accurate bus schedule for those who were in interested in going to Obara and Korankei in 2018.

Once the bus arrived at 14:37, we rode it and I was surprised to know that it was a free bus. Yay! Story on my short stay in Obara Fureai Park will be on the next post. 😊

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