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Sunday, April 15, 2018

SAKURA 2018: Day 12--Return to Yamagata...Cherry Blossoms, Snow and a Rainbow


I left the Nagoya Marriott at 7AM and, after a wonderful day, checked into the Tokyo Westin at 7PM, another 12-hour day.  My bullet train to Tokyo on the left.  I had a choice, return to Yamagata or do nothing much in Tokyo.

So I transferred to the Yamagata Shinkansen, which looks like a bullet train, but spends much of its route on regular JR tracks, so goes very slowly.  The distance is 180, and it almost takes three hours, so that's only 60 MPH.  Regular bullet trains travel from 150-200 MPH.

My biggest worry over the past few days was storage of my luggage when I got to Yamagata.  I know there were lockers, but there aren't that many, this is a Sunday, and the possible thought of pulling them around while I visited Kajo Park seemed like that would be a major pain.  Amazingly enough, when I walked up to the locker area, not only were there only a very few with keys in place (meaning they could be rented)...but my Blue-Bar Pigeon was guarding the only four available.  How considerate!

Now, unburdened, thanks to Blue-Bar (got to find a name for him....or her), the walk to Kajo Park takes you through a shopping area where a female troupe was playing some angelic music:



The first scene:


Tbe Sakura seemed more fully in bloom.  However, it was very windy, and although there were buds not quite fulfilled, petals were blowing all over the place.  I would say today would be the peak, for, the trees will lose more flowers today than will bloom over the next few days.  


To the left of the above scene is where I had my hanami:


You can see a large group having their Sakura picnic in the background above.  I bought a Yonezawa wagyu beef bento, which was twice the cost of the normal price, but well worth the expense:


I would have preferred a higher temperature for the food, but, all in all, a memorable feast.  Not sure what Yonezawa wagyu costs, but, while in Nagoya I took two photos at Takashimaya:


Doing the mathematics, that beef costs $174/pound, while the musk melon with two mangos gift box amounts to $234.

I then went for a walk around the park:


After two hours of cherry blossoms I caught the Yamagata Shinkansen back to Tokyo.  I later learned that they had to stop this route for a while because it was too windy.  But on the ride back is where I saw a lot of snow:


What really surprised me was a rainbow.  I've been to Japan 150 times, and don't recall ever seeing one here before.  At 15 Craigside, it is almost a daily occurrence.  So from my bullet train just outside of Yamagata:


When I arrived at my hotel, it was half an hour left before the Executive Lounge ended the food and cocktail period:


This was my final Japan Rail Pass Day.  Glad I returned to Yamagata.  My Blue-Bar Pigeon guarding my luggage locker?  Amazing.

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