Sunday, March 10, 2019

Travel Story--Northern Honshu Japan in Spring part 2

cherry blossoms, northern Japan


We traveled the northern part of the main island of Japan, Honshu, in April 2017. These photos are from the second half of the trip. (first part: link)

In Tokyo, the cherries were done flowering but in places in the north they were in full bloom (above). Elsewhere it was early spring.

early spring, northern Honshu


North of Sendai we visited the famous temple at Hiraizumi. This is a scene from its path.

vista at Hiraizumi, Japan

In the valleys, the land was intensely cultivated.



The surrounding mountains were pretty rugged.


Surely this sign, at the base of the trail above, says "Caution, bears."

bear sign, Japan

The weather was very changeable, which gave us beautiful rainbows.

rainbow, northern Japan

We reached places where snow lingered, here seen along the highway

snow, northern Japan, April

I prefer photos of nature, but there were big cities, good highways, and fast trains below the scenic mountains.
Yamagata, Japan


In Yamadera, we visited one of the oldest temples in Japan, climbing hundreds of stone steps up the hillside.

Yamadera Temple steps


Look at the view from near the top!

View from Yamadera Temple

The pretty brass chain is functional: it reduces the force of the water coming out of the gutter.

at Yamadera Temple

Below the temple, these bridges

Yamadera, Japan

The tour featured gardens. One important type of Japanese garden is a viewing garden, arranged to be beautiful from the house. In a famous garden in Niigata, this is the view from the upstairs bedroom:

garden, Niigata

There is no place that you can see all in one visit. I had been to Japan five times, to the Tokyo and Osaka area, to a couple of the smaller islands south of Osaka, to Hagi on the east coast and then this loop around the northern half of the main island. All fascinating, all different. I would like to see southern Japan, the island of Hokkaido, more of the smaller islands. Such a fascinating world, so little time!

Comments and corrections welcome.

The tour was led by Greg Graves for Pacific Horticulture. It is scheduled to repeat in April 2019 and is, quite properly, sold out. link

Kathy Keeler, A Wandering Botanist




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