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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

SAKURA 2018: Day 8--My Best Cherry Blossom Day Ever

I caught five trains today over a 12-hour period to stop at three Sakura sites in the Tohoku area.  The first two, actually, had not reached peak yet, and if you'll be in Japan in a week, go there.  The third had petals falling like snow.

This region has special memories for me, as I stayed at the Sendai Westin (I was one of the very few paying $45/night) right after the Great Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and nuclear cataclysm.  That link is my Huffington Post article of that crucial period in March of 2011.

This is a 25-minute clip of 11 March 2011 when the tsunami struck Ishinomaki City.  The video is being taken from Hiroyiyama Mountain and Park.  Let me just show a few photos I took on 11 April 2018 (that insert is what the place looked like before the tsunami):


While there were plenty of fully blossomed Sakura trees, some had a week to go before flowering.  If you plan on coming here, take a taxi, which costs around $8.  It is mostly uphill.  

I did have lunch here, two musubis and tempura chicken, plus, teriyaki chicken skin on a stick:



I walked back to Ishinomaki Station.

The JR Senseki Line that takes you to Ishinomaki was here and there wiped out, and it took four years before service resumed.  Along the line much is eerily new.  Here a new tsunami barrier:


The next stop was the Matsushima Kaigan Station.  Some tourist brochures welcome you to walk up to Saigyo Modoshi No Matsu Park.  Try it if you run marathons.  It is all uphill.  There were a few cherry blossoms, but the peak awaits:


The last time I was here I took a boat tour around those islands.  There are Sakura and Dogwood:



I walked back to the train station.

Two trains later, I dropped off at the Funaoka Station of the Tohoku Line.  Call it the Shiroishi River Sen-ou Park or Hitome Senbon Zakura, I came at the right time, for petals were falling with every waft of wind.  Cherry blossoms (and forsythia) grow along the banks of the Shiroishi for five miles:


A few photos:


That last one shows petals caught by a spider web.  After a walk of an hour, I got to the food stalls near the Odawara Station:


Those were a bit too long for me, so I got a normal size and grilled corn:


It got dark:


Yes, my best Sakura experience ever.

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