Plum and cherry blossom festival in Atami

Atami is one of the traditional holiday resorts for Japanese in 1 hour distance from Tokyo by train. It’s warm all year round. It has a beautiful beach. And you can enjoy nice views of Suruga bay and Mt. Fuji.

Atami’s highlight is hot spring(onsen in Japanese). Each hotel has its own hot spring. The water of hot springs in Atami is rather clear, so hot springs there are easy to try for onsen beginners. And for families with small kids like us, some hotels provide private hot springs inside rooms.

Recent years Atami is popular for foreign tourists as well. However, due to Novel corona virus, nowadays foreign visitors, especially visitors from China, are much less than usual.

Now on this blog I want to introduce an event of Atami which can be enjoyed only in this season in order to attract more foreign tourists again to Atami.

That’s cherry and plum blossom festivals in Atami.

In eastern Japan, cherry blossom (sakura in Japanese) becomes in bloom in late March or early April. However cherry blossom in Atami becomes in January and it remains in bloom for more than 1 month, much longer than regular cherry blossom.

The flower in February in Atami is not only cherry blossom. You can also enjoy plum blossom. In Atami plum park close to Kinomiya station there are 472 plum trees. Since the trees include 59 kinds and each kind becomes in bloom in different timing in November to March, you can enjoy different beauty every time.

I feel sorry that foreign tourists tend to avoid trips to Japan due to concern on Novel corona virus. I hope they will come back before the flowers fall.

Colored leaves in Nagatoro

In Eastern Japan there are many places familiar with beautiful colored leaves in autumn. One of those is Nikko in Tochigi prefecture.

However, in a peak season, Nikko is so crowded that it’s very difficult to book tickets for the express train to go there. Or in case you go by car, you could be stuck with very heavy traffic jam.

Now here is a tip. Nagatoro in Chichibu in Saitama prefecture is a little-known good place close to Tokyo area with beautiful colored leaves.

You need to take a train of Chichibu railway to go to Nagatoro. The train of Chicibu railway is painted with colorful pictures. You will be excited to imagine what color you can meet in Nagatoro.

Before viewing colors, you can enjoy country dishes. Nagatoro is located along the headwaters of Arakawa river. Many sweetfish swim in the river. You can enjoy the sweetfish as pot rice (Kamameshi in Japanese).

There are many places where you can enjoy colored leaves in autumn. However, the features of Nagatoro is that you can enjoy the colored leaves with big rocks. The contrast between colored leaves and grey rocks is very impressive.

And the highlight of Nagatoro trip is that you can enjoy the nice view from the boat in the river. The boat is made with a Japanese tradditional style and the boat master entertain you with their talk.

At last one caution! As of November 10th 2019 some parts of a road along Arakawa river with colored leaves are damaged by the big typhoons which hit Japan in summer. You should check the latest condition in the tourist information center.