This spring in Japan I travelled a lot! In the beginning of April I had a short 5-days vacation, so I went to Kanto and Chubu. I haven’t been there in a while. I wanted to visit a friend and also do some traveling while there. After all traveling during spring in Japan is so much fun!
Spring Vacation April 2012:
On April 1st I went to Kawasaki City to see the “Kanamara Matsuri“, among foreigners also known as “Penis Festival”.
(I hope nobody is offended by these photos! I mean there were babies and kids around, too!)
I thought it was just a weird dream, but I really followed Pikachu who was following a big, pink penis!! Welcome to Japan!!
More about the festival and the tradition behind it in a future blog post.
From Kanagawa Prefecture I went to Chiba to see Chiba Castle.
And from there I was off to “Nokogiriyama“. Truly beautiful!
Need a reason to go there on top of the nice view? Nokogiriyama has the tallest / highest Buddha statue in Japan! Much taller than the famous one in Kamakura!
My hotel was in Yokohama, so I spent a bit of time there, too. It wasn’t my first time there.
Sankeien Garden, a Japanese style garden not too far from the city center. Unfortunately the cherry blossoms weren’t really blooming at the beginning of April yet.
Yokohama at night is always interesting.
A strong typhoon hit the region, trains stopped moving, but I went out to see Odawara Castle anyways.
I’m actually surprised that the photo looks so peaceful. It was almost IMPOSSIBLE to stand outside at that time.
From Odawara (after waiting for HOURS because the local train lines all stopped and I had to take the Shinkansen in the end) I went to Shizuoka Prefecture.
The next day was still cloudy and extremely windy. I started in Hamamatsu City.
In the photo you can see Hamamatsu Castle. At that time Shizuoka Prefecture’s cherry blossoms were already in full bloom! Not so in Tokyo, Chiba or Yokohama!
Hamamatsu’s Sand Dunes. Quite ridiculous compared to the ones in Tottori Prefecture – which I visited in spring 2011.
For castle lovers like me the area between Hamamatsu and Shizuoka is absolutely awesome!
I also went to Kakegawa Castle which is pretty much between those two cities.
And while I was at it I also visited Tanaka Castle in Fujieda City.
Last but not least I also visited Shunpu Castle in Shizuoka.
Now, you’re probably wondering: What about Mt. Fuji? Shizuoka is all about Mt. Fuji, isn’t it?
Uhm … not really, but of course I tried. And as always with Mt. Fuji I wasn’t lucky.
I mean … I went to Yamanashi in winter (when it’s supposed to be clear and you can view Mt. Fuji easily, but I couldn’t), climbed Mt. Fuji in summer a few years ago during a typhoon …. so why should it work out this time, right?
Although it was sunny, Mt. Fuji was hiding!!
I went to Nihondaira which is super famous for one of the most beautiful views of Mt. Fuji (cherry blossoms, ocean and the mountain), but …. Mt. Fuji was shy as always.
If you look closely enough you can make out its snow-covered peak in the photo, though. Good luck!
At least I got to see a nice festival at Shizuoka Sengen Shrine in Shizuoka City.
And this was my shorter spring vacation trip in the beginning of April. Lots of cherry blossoms in the past few months, huh? Trust me if I say you’ll get never tired of them!!
Day trips from February – April 2012:
Let’s now continue with a few day trips I did in the past few months (from February to April 2012):
Mt. Yoshino in Nara Prefecture. A very popular cherry blossom sightseeing spot in Kansai! Spring in Japan is truly beautiful.
Takarazuka Theater in Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture.
Osamu Tezuka (the father of all manga and anime) Museum in Takarazuka.
Sasayama Castle in Hyogo Prefecture.
Giant Robot Statue close to Shin-Nagata Station, near Kobe.
The Tetsujin 28 statue was built to help rebuild the Nagata ward of Kobe after the Great Hanshin Earthquake 1995. The Nagata ward was one of the worst hit areas.
Kobe Port. I’ve been to Kobe several times by now.
Hagi Castle Ruins in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Akiyoshi Cave (one of the biggest limestone caves and very famous) in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Tsuwano’s Taikodani Inari Shrine in Shimane Prefecture.
On the last page you’ll find some cute souvenirs I bought during my recent trips, so hit the PAGE 3 button if you’re interested! :D