May 7, 2013

Ashikaga Flower Park

On Sunday I finally made it out to 足利フラワーパーク(Ashikaga Flower Park) out in Tochigi Prefecture. The reason I say finally, is that I've been planning to go there for over 4 years now. Every year in May I say I'm going to go, and every year I wait too long and miss the window. The window being; the wisteria.

If you want to visit the flower park, but are worried about missing out on the wisteria, don't. A few of the purple ones are still in full bloom, the double flowering version is at its peak now, and the yellow variation of wisteria will continue blooming until the end of this month. Also, the park has a lot of other flowers like roses, irises, exotic waterlilies, etc.

Getting to the park from Tokyo turned out to be somewhat of an ordeal, so I hope you can benefit from my hard-earned experience. First of all, prepare to get up early. I left my house at 7 a.m. and didn't get to the park until 10:45. I got to Kita-Senju station around 7:50 and planned on taking the next train, only to discover I had just missed one. The next train wasn't until 8:49. When I finally got out to Ashikaga-shi around 10 a.m., I found out the shuttle bus wasn't a quick 5 or 10 minute run like I thought. It was 45 minutes.

I planned to be the early bird and get amazing photos by being first in the park. Instead, by the time I got there, about 8 huge bus loads of people had already arrived. Basically, my only thoughts at that point were, "Bugger. Why did I come here again?"

Is it worth it after all that bother? Let me show you a few photos and you can decide for yourself. I would go again in a heartbeat. The smell alone was worth it.

About 90m of white wisteria. It was beautiful, even if it was chockabock full of people!

End of my day with a wisteria and vanilla soft serve ice cream. It was a wonderful way to finish my trip!

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