Umenosato Park is located in Kojiro, Tsuyama, in Okayama Prefecture. Within the 5-hectare site are over 3800 plum trees representing 14 types of plum. The park was created by locals and was opened in 1994.
From mid-February to late-March, the plum trees blossom, covering the whole park in bloom and marking the advent of spring with their scent. There are many different colored blossoms, ranging from red to pale-pink and white.
A 'Ume Festival' also takes place near the park entrance and lots of people come to visit then. In the ume-processing factory, goods such as pickled plum, jam, dried plum and jelly are manufactured, and prove to be popular goods for sale.
The Tenryohita Doll's Festival takes place each year on 3 March, Girls' Day, in Hita-shi, Oita Prefecture. At this time, dolls and doll-making tools are displayed in about 20 old family houses and reference libraries throughout the town.
During the Edo period, an early spring Ohinasama (doll) festival spread among the general public along with a rise in urban prosperity. This festival became a traditional Japanese event to wish for the health, wholesomeness and happiness of girls. At this time, because Hita was directly governed by the Edo Bakufu, a governor's residence (daikansho) was built. As merchants became wealthier, the Tenryohita became greater and thrived to such an extent that it was called the greatest festival of Kyushu.
The dolls and doll-making tools handed down from generation to generation from the old families of the Edo and Meiji periods, astound us with their extravagance and splendor. The elegant, lustrous and graceful features of the dolls, along with their majestic kimonos and gracious figures, reflect the financial power the wealthy merchants possessed, and the prosperous, cultivated lives they led.
Yuki Shrine, located in Tsu, Mie Prefecture, enshrines the deity Yuki Munehiro, a heroic figure who partipated in the overthrow of the Kamakura government by the Emperor Godaigo during the South and North Dynasty period. Yuki Munehiro followed Kitabatake Chikafusa and his son, Akiie, in South Dynasty. Chikafusa and his followers sailed from Ise Country to Higashi Country to offer their support to Gogaigo's son, Norinaga Shinno (later the Emperor Murakami). On the way, Munehiro died from illness.
The shrine holds documents written by the emperor Godaigo. The district has been called Yuki's Forest since old times, and is deified as Yuki Mound or Yuki God.
From mid-February to early March, 300 weeping apricot trees come into blossom, elegantly wafting their refreshing scent and appearing like a living picture scroll of flowers in early spring. Many visitors from the city and from outside come to visit the shrine at this time.
In 1882, Yuki Shrine was designated a Special Official Shrine. It is one of Chuko's 15 shrines.
Kakou Moriguchi was born in 1909 in Moriyama district, Shiga prefecture. In 1921, he studied pharmacy at night school. In 1924, he became the student of the 3rd yuzen dyeing master, Kason Nakagawa, and studied the Japanese art of hikita houshou.
Until he established a studio in 1939, he remained in the atelier of Kason, where he made further studies of yuzen. Later, he blended typical makinori techniques inherited from the Edo period and urusshi-no-makie. The blend Moriguchi created is called 'makinori' and has become representative of his work. It has both a traditional Kyoto flavor and a contemporary one. As a result, he has given something new and original to yuzen.
In 1956, he entered three makinori yuzen kimonos: 'Oshidori', 'Soushun' and 'Matsu' to the 2nd Exhibition of Japanese Traditional Art Crafts and all of them won a prize. For the 3rd Exhibition of Japanese Traditional Art Crafts, his yuzen kimono 'Kaoru' again won a prize. Consequently, he was elected to be the judge of the competition.
In 1968, when only 57, he became the holder of an important intangible cultural asset. He is one of Japan's Living National Treasures.
A high-speed ship called the 'Rio Grande' cruises between Otsu on the south side of Lake Biwa, to Nagahama in the north. It is also known as the 'snow-appreciation ship' because in winter, beautiful views of Lake Biwa can be enjoyed.
Winter cruises are held at the same time as the Nagahama Bonsai Apricot Exhibition, a feature of early spring on Lake Biwa, and are available until the beginning of March (the day before the opening of Lake Biwa).
On 5th May, 1980, Shiga Prefecture and Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil established a sister relationship because both cities feature lakes: Biwa Lake in Japan and Lake Pattos in Brazil. At that time, the cruise ship was named Rio Grande, which means 'big river'.
The ship is warm inside and there are comfortable seats for 2-8 persons on the first and second decks. The beautiful winter scenery includes views of the snowy lake. A commentary is also given on the fish, birds, history and specialties of Lake Biwa.
It took about two hours to cruise one-way, including various stops along the way. You can have a leisurely time and stay in hotels near the lake or take the opportunity to go to other events.
The Karikome Pond can be found in Hakusan National Park, which is located in the Hakusan Mountain Range spanning the four prefectures of Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui and Gifu. At the foot of Mt. Gankyouji, the highest mountain in Hakusan National Park with an elevation of more than 1000 meters, spread the virgin forests of Habagahara with Japanese beeches and oaks. Deep inside this forest lies Karikome Pond. There, the bustle that can be seen in the highlands does not exist, but instead, lies a quiet, simple kind of grace that makes you want to visit every season. Early spring and late autumn are especially magnificent. During the Golden Week period of May, the beeches begin to sprout, producing small buds that bear a red color and resemble blossoms. Mid-October is perfect for seeing a landscape of autumnal leaves. The picturesque scene of Mt. Sannomine and the trees just changing color mirrored in the water is definitely worth seeing. The Karikome Pond is currently designated as a Hakusan National Park Class 1 Special Region.
Located in Matsunoyama-machi, Niigata Prefecture, this virgin forest has an area of 3 hectares, where 70-year-old Japanese beech trees bristle all around. The forest is nicknamed “Bijin-bayashi Forest” (beautiful woman forest) because the slender and carefree figure of a beech tree looks like a standing beautiful woman. The natural beauty of each season wins hearts and minds of the visitors who come to view very green leaves in contrast to the still remaining snow during the early spring as well as the radiant red and yellow leaves during the fall. A small stream is running through the forest and the reverse images of trees on the surface of the water enclosed by a bund finely plays opposite to the real the forest.