Higaeri from Tokyo: Ashikaga Flower Park

Although it was a tiring day trip to Ashikaga, I will not regret my grandmas sudden decision to go with me today instead of tomorrow.  It was my first time to see a Wisteria tree. and this tree is now 145 years old.  Its known to be one of the biggest in the world and its become quite an attraction to many tourists. You won’t need much time going around the park but I advice that you go here with your friends. As you will enjoy the many different flower attractions.

The flower park entrance

The flower park entrance

The ticket will cost you ¥1600 to enter the park itself.

The ticket will cost you ¥1600 to enter the park itself.

How to get there: I read about many routes to get to Ashikaga but I decided that we take the most convenient way. From Asakusa, there is a Limited express train that you can take from Tobu Asakusa station to Ashikaga train station, which will only take you 70 mins for 2000 yen. I opted to take this route because you would not have to change trains and my grandma is too old for any inconvenience. From Ashikaga station there is a shuttle bus that will cost you ¥400

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The biggest one!

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Yellow wisterias

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White wisterias

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Some wisteria ice cream

I believe that the week after Golden week is the best time to come here to the flower park when the Wisteria tree is blooming nicely. At night you could enjoy the tree being lit up. There are a number of flowers you can enjoy and you could also try their wisteria ice cream, which I don`t really recommend but its worth a try if you`d like. You`ll be walking into tunnels of many different colors of wisteria. I would advice you to take your time and enjoy every site, most especially the largest scene where 2 wisteria trees are put into one place. It will cost you ¥1600 to enter the park, there are also a number of tour buses that you can join into which might cost you about the same amount that we spent. If however what you are looking for is to enjoy your time without any time constraint, this would be a great higaeri adventure with your friends.

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The purple ones don’t smell as good as the white ones, but they are prettier.

Higaeri Trips from Tokyo: Nikko 日光市

Higaeri in Japanese means day trip, I feel like I need to come back to Nikko to really experience it. Based on our trip I would recommend that you stay here for at least 2-3 days. Our day trip was not enough to go around Nikko and in the end we were rushing to get back to the station and go home.

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Nikko train and bus station

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Yuba/Onsen Manju. I brought home some for my grandmother as requested

Nikko literally means sunlight or sunshine, it is famous for its Toshogu shrine, and the mausoleum of Tokugawa leyasu. A city in the mountains, There is so much to see here in Nikko and I was so disappointed that we only had time to go to  Lake Yumoto and back down to Lake Chuzenji and since the weather was so bad when we were here we could not even go and walk to the shrines and the gardens. We just passed and looked at them from afar.

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Walking around and near the lake

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So much snow that we were not expecting to see!

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First time of my best friend to go to an Onsen/ Public Hot Spring.

How to get there: We took a train from Ikebukuro which took us two hours to Nikko. There is also a train from Asakusa to Nikko, the Spacia. When you get there you could buy a bus ticket which could be purchased at the ticket office. You could buy the ride all you can bus ticket so that you could get on and off different bus stops and go around. Nikko is a big place, its kind of like Hakone except more complicated because there are only buses and there is traffic on the way down.

Where to go: The Kegon Falls is one of which I wanted to visit but could not go to. The Tobu world heritage square, Lake Chuzenji, Nikko Toshogu shrine. There are still a lot of places to see here and I am sure that after coming here you will realize that there isn`t a lot of time to do everything.

There is a Japanese saying, that you “Never say Kekko until you`ve seen Nikko” (kekko in Japanese means “i am satisfied”, splendid, wonderful or sufficient ) Hope I could go back again here for an overnight trip. It reminded me of the time I went to see the Kurobe Dam, which is one of Japans largest Dams. It was beautiful, just like Nikko. Japan has so much beauty to offer. As my mother always says, “日本は自然が奇麗だからね”, (Nihon wa shizen ga kirei dakara ne)