After recently around past one month, there are a lot of Sakura photos from Japan that feed up all entirely timeline. During this time, it might be the period around the end season of Sakura, thus in order to bid farewell to the season, I would like to collect my little memory of seeking for Sakura trip in many main provinces of Japan to review here, this review will provide all the details about time, places, GPS coordinates as well as travel information for everyone who will travel to seek for Sakura in other years.
This trip I travel during 28 March - 5 April 2016 with a trip plan to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya and Shizuoka. For the first day of the trip would be a pure journey day from Phuket, then connect flight at Singapore and arrive Japan during night time, therefore, I would not include the first day in this review, as for other 8 days we will spend whole day traveling.
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Ps. I will give details of accommodation, travel, budget in the end of this review as I don't like to displease those who like to see only the picture.
29 March 2016 – “Well, it still hasn't reached the time"
Today I have a plan to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto in the afternoon as I intend to travel in Tokyo during the end of the trip. Yet, as there is still time left in the morning, thus I have to find some places in Tokyo to travel to so that I don't waste time for nothing. I have chosen some places from the list of watching Sakura points which is located close to JR train station which are Kumagaya near JR Kumagaya, Asukayama park near Oji station and Yanaka Cemetery near Nippori station, these 3 stations are on the same route and considerably convenient to travel from Tokyo station where I have left my baggage in the locker, moreover, it is also the origin station that I will travel to Kyoto in this afternoon.
On the way that I get into Tokyo, I already make up my mind that I surely could not see Sakura in full bloom today, as the Sakura trees along the way still haven't had a sign of beautiful flowers, just only some species of Sakura trees that the flower will bloom before time would having beautiful full bloom flowers. Yet, all the Sakura in my travel plan would be Yoshino specie and it is still not reach its blooming period.
After I already placed my baggage in the locker, then I use JR pass to get on Shinkansen train to Kumagaya city, it takes approximately 40 minutes (in fact, the distance is actually far, yet Shinkansen train is pretty fast and help me saving the time)
From Kumagaya station, we walk further around 400 meters to reach at the ridge where Sakura trees have been planted in longitudinal line. The road that located alongside of the ridge is full of the shops that selling various foods and goods to welcome Hanami festival, the festival that people will gather around to sit back and picnic under Sakura trees. Since there are cold weather pressure and rain in Japan during last week before I travel here, it makes Sakura trees that having a sign to blossom out quicker than every year have stopped to be in a full bloom like many people predict. However, we still could see that there are a lot of Japanese people come to picnic at the place happily. As even though the Sakura at this place is blooming just around 20%, yet the yellow flower field under the Sakura trees are in a beautiful full bloom which I think that if we come here 4-5 days later, we might able to definitely see the spectacular scenery.
GPS coordinates of the ridge where Sakura trees are planted.
As for the information of this place, I use these below links to follow up the situation of this place (with using Google translate tool to help translating)
- Website of the administrative office of Kumagaya city. https://www.city.kumagaya.lg.jp/kanko/matsuri/sakura_matsuri/kaika28.html
- Blog of one of the bloggers who might live not far from that place. http://plaza.rakuten.co.jp/miekomagic/
As the matter of fact, according to our trip plan, we would like to visit Asukayama park and Yanaka cemetery in the afternoon. However, due to the trip program today starts rather late as we waste the time queuing up to exchange the JR pass for an hour and manage to leave a baggage as well, thus by the time that we arrive at the Kumagaya station, it is noon already and that make us have to cancel two attractions in the afternoon itinerary as we are afraid that we would manage to arrive at Kyoto too late at night. Anyway, while I am riding on the train, I have passed through these two attractions and have seen that there are adequately Sakura flowers blossom out, some of them have seem to have more blooming flowers than those in Kumagaya a bit. Overall, I think that going to Kumagaya is more worthy as there is a yellow flower field which looks extremely beautiful.
During the afternoon, we back to grab our baggage that we leave in the locker at Tokyo station, then we continue traveling to Kyoto. For those who use a big luggage, it might be difficult to find a locker in the station, however at Tokyo station, there is a luggage room for leaving a baggage as well and the price is the same as locker, you guys could ask for more details from the station officer.
30 March 2016 – A little Surprise.
Today we go out from our accommodation in Kusatsu city which is located in suburb area of Kyoto around 08.00am in the morning. We have to adjust most of our trip plan as the Sakura flowers in most places are still not in a full bloom, thus I need to adjust places like shrine and temple to be in the first day itinerary in Kyoto. Hoping that the weather that is gradually getting warm will make Sakura flowers blossom out in the next days of the trip. Well! we will stay 3 nights in Kyoto to travel around the city which include one day trip to Osaka as well.
The first destination of today is Fushimi Inari Taisha or White Fox shrine which is a shrine that has a lot of red Torii inside. Getting to this place is quite easy as it is a few stops away from Kyoto station and tourists could use JR pass as well.
Upon arrival at Inari train station, just walk across the road and you will reach at the entrance of the shrine. There surely are a lot of tourists inside as this place is a popular attraction of Kyoto. Apart from worshipping God, most of the tourists would like to see the red Torii that has around ten thousand of it, lines up and form up to be a tunnel.
On the way that we walk up toward the Torii tunnel, there are a few Sakura trees that are in full bloom to be seen which could regard as an eye candy for us.
Actually, the tunnel of Torii is extended up to the hill to a far distance, yet we walk to take a photo of it till only second zone as we have to head to Kiyomizu-dera temple in our next destination.
On the way back, we walk along on another route which is a small alley that has many food shops along the route, hence, we decide to have a lunch at the traditional restaurant in that area. The recommended menu here would be Fried Quail which tastes delicious and other menus that I think it tastes awesome is Eel over rice, the food price is adequately expensive and there are only a few seats inside, thus we could not stay and talk to each other for a long time. When we eat up all the food, the staff would stand there like they want to tell us that it is time for us to leave.
Before we back to Kyoto, we walk on a roundabout route to take a walk by the canal after the train station as we have seen a few Sakura trees by the riverside that start to blossom out, hence we like to go and take a photo to keep as a good memory a bit.
(As for the GPS coordinates of the Fushimi Inari shrine, I don't think that I have to mention it as everyone might has known about this place, and also there is a lot of information about it.)
During the afternoon, we have a program to visit Kiyomizu-dera temple or pure water temple that I think I don't have to mention its GPS coordinates too. We buy a one day bus ticket and take bus no.100 to get off at the stop of the temple entrance . During the festival season like this, the queue line waiting to get on a bus is rather long and when we arrive at the bus stop and walk to the pure water temple, we are not surprised at all that there are a lot of tourists all over this place, some people are wearing a bright color of Kimono which make me enjoy taking the photo time by time. Yet, I feel a little surprised that there are also some groups of Thai people rent a Kimono to take photo as well.
When we reach Kiyomizu-dera temple, we are surprised that there are some Sakura trees that are almost blossom out. The more the afternoon sunlight shines on them, the more the beautiful scenery it is.
Even though there are a lot of tourist, yet they also could make the atmosphere looks extraordinary lively. Wherever I see, all I could see is the smile of people who come to admire the beauty of this place and make a merit at the temple.
As for the Sakura in the inner zone is still not blooming properly. As the matter of fact, I'm also not sure that the tree without any flower on it is Sakura tree or not, yet only this beautiful atmosphere is enough to make me feel delighted as I could feel the real Japanese atmosphere here.
31 Marh 2016 – The scenery is nice, yet it is still not perfect.
Today we travel to Arashiyama which is located in the suburb area of Kyoto. We ride on a train from Kyoto station and get off at Umahori station, then walk back for approximately 500 meters to catch a Romantic line train, Torokko Kameoka to travel to Arashiyama. The reason that we choose to ride back is because we would like to avoid the long queue line at Arashiyama, however, there are a lot of people at this place too as we have to wait for 2 hours for a train ride and we could only get just the stand ticket. Well, what we could do is accept the truth.
However, the advantage of waiting is that we have a chance to take a photo of the train that is moving into and out of the station twice times with having the Sakura trees of pink color specie that their flowers are blossom out and hang down loosely at the Torokko Kameoka station to perfectly be the foreground of the picture. An only pity thing is that the Sakura trees that are located by the railroad tracks are not blossom out yet, otherwise it might look perfectly awesome.
When we get on a train, it makes me realize that standing on the train of Torokko Kameoka line is not bad at all as we could move around to see the view or take photo in any sides, on the other hand, people who take a seat are difficult to see the view in the other sides. However the Sakura trees along the railroad tracks are not blossom out yet today, it might be because of they are all in the shady area with a bit sunlight to shine through. Therefore, riding train this time is more like the riding to watch the natural scenery of the rivulet that flows through the valley.
We get off at Arashiyama station to take a walk in bamboo forest. During the traveling season like this, there are definitely a lot of people at this place, thus if you guys would like to take photo of the bamboo forest without any people inside the frame, you should have to arrive here before 08.00am.
From the bamboo forest, we keep walking along the route until we get into the city area which has a main street leading to a renowned wooden bridge called Togetsuka. The general atmosphere of Arashiyama is bustle not less that other attractions in Kyoto, along the way is full of the shops that sell foods and souvenirs. Well! don't miss to try Green Tea+Sakura flavors ice-cream cone too, it will give you a real Japanese flavor, I would say.
Upon reaching at Togetsuka wooden bridge, the scenery in front of us at another side of Katsura river would have a lot of Sakura trees that are in full bloom right now and when you look at the mountain, there are also pink Sakura flowers blossom out that spreadably decorate the mountain. Moreover, there are a lot of Japanese people come to sit back at the park by the river, some rent a boat to paddle in the river. All of these makes the atmosphere looks perfectly nice.
As a matter of fact, a lot of Sakura trees are going to be in full bloom, just only that these Sakura trees are not fully grown yet, hence, their flowers would not look fluff up like Sakura flowers that I dream for. Nevertheless, I have taken a lot of photos of the atmosphere here.
In the afternoon, I ride on a train back to JR Emmachi station, then catch a bus to Kinkakuji-michi stop to visit Kinkaku-ji temple.
There are almost no Sakura trees to be seen in this place, yet this place is always packed with tourists not less than other places. The highlight that you guys might have known very well is the golden pavilion that everyone uses to see in the anime cartoon called Ikkyusan. Moreover, there are also flamingos in the water park that are busy with cleaning their own feathers, they are super cute, I would say.
From Kinkaku-ji temple, I head to Imperial palace to watch the Sakura in accordance with the recommendation of one of the Japanese tourists that I have found in the ice-cream shop. By the time that I arrived at the place, it was considerably dark, yet there is still light that allows me to see the Sakura in various species and most of them are in a wilt phase, I think these species of Sakura have already bloomed for some times, hence if everyone come to visit Kyoto and see that Sakura in other places still have not bloomed yet, I would suggest you guys to come to this place first as there are a lot of Sakura trees that are pretty beautiful, especially the specie that its branches are hanged down loosely to the ground.
1 April 2016 – A little gift in the rain shower day.
Today, it is hard for me to make a decision as according to the weather forecast, the rain will fall all over places, thus the original plan to go watching Sakura along Keage, the old train route and Philosopher's Path in Kyoto has to be canceled.
Finally, we decide to travel to Osaka as I have learned from the weather forecast that the weather there is better than Kyoto. We take Shinkansen train and it takes not more than 20 minutes to reach Shin Osaka station to have a nice warm coffee there. The weather is perfectly like what the weather forecast reports, the rain is falling down continually, although it is not falling hard, yet it is still not convenient to walk and watch Sakura during this time, thus I would spend this time by letting ladies in the group to do some shopping. Until afternoon, the rain let up, thus we catch a train to Sakuranomiya station which located next to Kema Sakuranomiya where the Sakura trees are planted along the riverbank and we don't feel disappointed at all as there are full bloom Sakura flowers welcome us since we reach at the train station. Upon getting out from the station, we have seen the park of full bloom Sakura flowers, even though there is a rain shower, yet it doesn't make us feel uncomfortable at all. In fact, a rain shower is better than facing a crowd as the park during this time is not crowded at all, there are only a little amount of tourists taking a walk in the park.
I keep walking to take a photo until reaching at Osakajokitazume Station, then we decide to take a train back to Kyoto. Actually, it is not far away from here to travel to Osaka Palace, yet our time is restricted as we have to change the accommodation to Nagoya city today and we are afraid that we will arrive at the accommodation late at night, thus we need to say goodbye to Osaka right now with an impressive photo of the Kema Sakuranomiya Garden.
GPS coordinates Kema Sakuranomiya
Getting there: take JR train to Sakuranomiya Station and take west exit.
2 April 2016 – Finally we have met.
Although we stay in Nagoya city but our travel plan to seek for the Sakura is located away from the downtown, we need to take a local train Meitetsu, Inuyama line to visit Inuyama Palace and admire the Sakura trees that are planted along the riverbank.
From Nagoya, we take a train and get off at Inuyama-Yuen Station, then keep walking around 100 meters we will reach at the bridge which is used to cross to another side of the river. From this point, we could see the Inuyama palace which stand eminently on the hill with the Sakura tress that are planed in a long line along the river which looks pretty spectacular. Although the weather is not good today as the sky is closed, yet the Sakura trees that are all in a full bloom could make other problems seem to be a little matter. Well! I eventually found you now, the beautiful Sakura.
We spend some times indulging ourselves with a beauty in front of us and take a lot of impressive photos till we feel fully contented. By the time that we walk to the end of this street, we came to know that we have spent an hour with a short distance only 500 meters.
I'm not sure that it is our good luck or not that traveling Inuyama this time we could see the Sakura in full bloom, and it is coincidence that today is also the day that the city government has arranged the large parade of old car which there are a lot of visitors come to see the parade, the atmosphere is pretty bustle, yet it is pretty crowded that I could not stand to wait for going up to visit inside Inuyama palace as from the queue line that I have seen, it might take an hour waiting, therefore what I could do is just keeping an impressive scene from the outside area only.
For the return leg, we use the route that pass through the old city of Inuyama and cut to the Inuyama station, then we catch a train back to Iwakura station, another place that we have to stop by.
At Iwakura, this places is also crowded with people who have the same purpose which is watching the beauty of Sakura and picnic under the Sakura trees. From the train station, just follow the crowd for approximately 500 meters, you will reach at the Sakura trees line that is planted by the rivulet.
The scenery in front of me makes me feel excited and hurriedly to grab the camera to take photos nonstop as the Sakura flowers here are fluff out and densely all over its branches. Moreover, the Sakura trees are planted along both of the bank of rivulet which makes the scenery looks extraordinary beautiful. And here at Iwakura makes me feel that I really have reached Japan during Sakura festival.
GPS coordinates of Sakura line at Inuyama.
Get off at Inyama-yen station or Inuyama.
GPS coordinates of Sakura by the rivulet at Iwakura.
Get off at Iwakura station.
3 April 2016 – Double Beautiful.
Today we have to leave Nagoya, I feel a bit pity that we still haven't been to some places in the watching Sakura list (backup list) of Nagoya city, yet we could not do nothing as we have limited time, therefore we decide to move to Hamamatsu city in Shizuoka province to watch the Sakura there instead.
Getting there, we take Shinkansen from Nagoya and get off at Hamamatsu station, then catch a bus which its platform is located right in front of the train station, the bus ride takes approximately 40 minutes to reach at the flower garden.
According to the weather forecast, it would be cloudy alternates with the rain throughout the day, anyway I don't expect much anymore as I feel fully delighted from the full bloom of Sakura flowers in Inuyama and Iwakura already. Yet, the main reason that we choose to travel to this flower garden is because of "Tulip" flowers that I came to know that they are in full bloom during this time with beautiful Sakura trees. Only thinking of it also makes me feel excited already as it would be a double beautiful full bloom.
Upon passing the entrance gate, there are a lot of Tulip flowers awaiting to welcome us with various species and colors of them for tourists to enjoy taking photos.
From this point we leisurely follow the route that surrounds by flower garden till we reach at the Tulip zone with Sakura trees. The tulip garden is arranged in the variety styles with a sweet color, contrast color or a mix of vivid color, all of them is arranged under the Sakura trees. This is the scene that I dream and would like to see by my own eyes once. Well! my dream already came true now.
We spend time walking slowly in the park under cloudy weather alternates with a little sunlight for us to see the brightness of the flowers. We spend around 3 hours at this park, then we walk back to the train station to head back to Tokyo.
GPS coordinates Hamamatsu flower park 34.76267, 137.63211
Getting to flower park
Get out from Hamamatsu station, then take an north exit, there will be a direction sign to bus station, then wait at the platform no.2 to take bus no.30 or no.36 which costs 560 yen and it takes approximately 40 minutes riding, then get off at flower park stop which is located right in front of the park.
4 April 59 – A Bonus in Tokyo.
Actually, I have a list of many places for admiring Sakura flowers in Tokyo, yet since today's weather forecast indicates that it would be cloudy alternate with the rain throughout the day, thus I decide to go only 2 spots which the first place is Showa Kinen park which located at the suburb area of Tokyo.
This park has a large area, if we would like to walk around every corners of this park would have to spend almost a day, yet we arrive at the park during afternoon as we spend some times having some coffee and waiting for the rain to stop.
We slowly keep taking a walk in the park till we reach at the spot where various species of Sakura trees are in full bloom along both banks of a large canal. The different aspect of this area comparing to others places is that there are Sakura flowers in white and pink colors alternate with other specie of the flower with a bright yellow color.
Nearby is a group of large Sakura trees that are planted on a low mound. Each branches of the Sakura trees is bending down to the ground which allow us to have a chance in admiring Sakura closely.
The route in the park has led toward another part of this park which is planted with the Tulip alternates with Sakura trees. It is pity that all the Tulip here is not bloom yet, thus it is not beautiful as it should be.
In fact, there are other beautiful spots in this garden, yet as our time is limited, therefore we need to say goodbye to this garden now. From this place, we continue traveling to take a walk in Inokashira park.
The atmosphere of this park is different from other places as Sakura trees are planted by a large swamp. The Sakura trees are in a full bloom and their branches are also bent down to the water surface which looks spectacular. Another reason why Inokashira park is pretty crowded is because a lot of Japanese people like to rent a boat to paddle and pedal in the lake, some people comes in couple which look pretty romantic.
GPS coordinates of Showa Kinen park 35.71249, 139.39439
Take JR train and get off at Nishitachikawa station, and the garden gate is located right at the station.
GPS coordinates Inokashira park 35.69974, 139.57319
Take JR train and get off at Kichijoji station, then walk to the garden approximately 300-400 meters.
5 April 2016 – Good Bye! Japan.
The itinerary today is to take ladies to do some shopping after we feel pretty contented with watching beautiful Sakura for many days. We start shopping from Shibuya then to Ueno, after that we head to the airport during the night time to catch a flight back. And this is the end of another memory that fulls of impressive experience.
Apart from the details of attractions that I have posted earlier, I would like to add other useful details for everyone as well.
This trip we start traveling from Phuket to Japan with Singapore airline. For the route between Phuket-Singapore would be a service of Silk air which is considerably convenient and comfortable not different from connecting a flight at Bangkok. As for the price of return air ticket is considerably worth which costs only 15,5xx baht (from Phuket) with a full service airline like this.
Transportation in Japan:
We use JR pass all area 7 days type for traveling between a large city Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka-Nagoya which also includes some suburb cities and some attractions that JR train rides pass. Apart from that, we also need to buy additional tickets to travel to some places which include:
- One day unlimited ride bus ticket in Kyoto.
- Romantic line train ticket, Torokko Kameoka at Arashiyama.
- One day subway ticket.
- Monorail ticket to Haneda airport.
- Train ticket Meitetsu line to Inuyama and Iwakura.
- Subway ticket (from train station to the accommodation)
- Bus ticket from Hamamatsu to Flower park
Map of the trip which indicated all the Sakura watching spots, some places I have planned in the map but I didn't travel to.
We use the service of Samura WIFI throughout the trip which covers the whole areas that we travel to and its upload and download speed is pretty fast. Apart from that, we also use free internet of the accommodations or restaurants, moreover In the airport area or the main train stations of the big cities would have free WIFI available for service as well.
- This time we use airbnb service for our first night accommodation which is a small aparment nearby the airport due to we need to save cost as we arrive there pretty late at night and would spend only a few hours sleeping. There are 2 bedrooms in the apartment with a futon that could accommodate 4-5 people in each room with a shared bathroom. Overall, the room condition is considerably clean and located not far from the train station and the host is pretty generous, although he doesn't come to welcome us by himself but he is always available for help all the times.
I choose to stay in a small town around the suberb area of Kyoto as the accommodation that located at the heart of the town is rather expensive. Thus I choose to stay in a superb area where I could take JR train to travel between cities with take only 20 minutes riding. The hotel that we have stayed is located 800-900 meters away from the train station, therefore if you guys carry a heavy baggage with you, it might not be convenient but if you can manage to carry it that would be great. The hotel room is considerably spacious and the city where the hotel is located is not pretty crowded, there are some restaurants around the area as well (yet I haven't try). Well, the hotel called "Hotel 21" located in Kusatsu city.
We stay at the heart of the Sakae area in this city, the hotel called "Unizo Inn" which is decorated in a modern style, the room is also clean and it is also located near the train station. Apart from that, the hotel is located right opposite to the popular souvenir shop called "Donquijote" which is 24hrs opened.
- Tokyo (second time)
Our last 2 night of this trip, we back to stay in Tokyo once again at the Super Hotel Lohas in Akasaka area nearby subway Akasaka. The hotel offers free hot springs (but I didn't use this service) and the room is pretty modernized and comfortable.
Now as we have already know the details about traveling, this time we will talk about budget too (the budget is an average price per person which is divided by 4 people)
- Air ticket Phuket-Singapore-Tokyo-Singapore-Phuket of Singapore airline costs 15,500 baht.
- JR pass 7 days all area costs 8,500 baht.
During the journey:
- Acommodation for 8 nights costs 14,000 baht per person.
- Food through the trip costs 8,500 baht per person.
- Transportation (day pass ticket, train ticket, bus ticket) costs 2,200 baht per person.
- Locker costs 600 baht.
- Attraction entrance fee costs 900 baht.
The budget for one person costs approximately 50,200 baht in total which is an average price, not cheap nor expesive for traveling wholly 8 days in Japan like this. And we hope that all the details in this review would be useful for you guys who will make a plan to watch the Sakura flower in the future.
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