Flower and leaf viewing are activities so common as part of daily life in Japan. From the yearly Sakura Festival on which every television station seizes for news to the golden Ginkgo leaves and the scarlet-tinged maple leaves, Japan’s myriad natural scenery not only wins travelers’ hearts over, but also is a precious gift to the locals.
In the spring, besides cherry blossom that symbolizes Japan, there is the grand, carpet-like “Shibazakura’ to see. “Shibazakura” is actually commonly seen in Japan. When she appears on the roadside or among bushes in the park, people can hardly notice her. However, when you see her grand carpetlike blossoming like those in the pictures, it will surely impress you!
2010. 04. 26 Sunny
For those who do not have tickets bought before hand, it would be a wise decision to go on weekdays. To avoid crowds and take pictures with Shibazakura leisurely, Japan Two reporting group decided to rather exchange money for more time. We then took the first train of Ltd. Express of Seibu Ikebukuro line at 6:30am to Yokote. After viewing Shibazakura, we walked to Seibu Chichibu station and took the train back.
Because there is an extra fee for Ltd. Express, buying tickets at the ticket machine is kind of confusing. Also, since the ticket machine only shows information for booking, it is more convenient to buy tickets at the ticket office.
After arrival at Yokoze station, exit and immediately there are signs for directions. Following the directions, walk for about 15 minutes and you will be at the Hitsujiyama Park, Lawn of Shibazakura. The entry fee is ¥ 300; ticket comes along with several free maps and a postcard. Along the way, we were greeted by the locals, an experience that one can hardly have in Tokyo. So when you visit here, do not hesitate to greet them back with simple greetings and smiles!
After several minute walk, you can see this lawn!
(We heard that day the blossoming rate was only 80%. I wonder how it looks like when they are in full blossom!)
Walking out the exit, the cherry trees along the sidewalk were blooming!
Having enough of the viewing, you can visit the local specialties market on Chichibu road. In spring when it suddenly becomes cold, have some hot noodle soup here to warm yourself up.
Also I could see many interesting place,when I was walking down to Seibu Chichibu station.
If you have to after getting Seibu Chichibu station, take a walk at Nakamise Dori!
Shibazakura in bloom: Every year from early April to early May.
Seibu Chichibu station
1.Depart from Kumagaya: Take the Chichibu testudou to Ohanabatake and destination is about 20 minutes walk away. (Single journey ticket for the local train is ¥ 840, and the ride about 67 minutes; for the Express train, ¥ 1040, and the ride about 53 minutes.)
2.Depart from Ikebukuro Eki station: Take the Seibu testudou (Ltd. Exp. NRA) to Yokose and walk 15 minutes to destination. (Single journey ticket ¥ 1370, the ride around 84 minutes.) JT group got off at Yokoze station and took the Seibu Chichibu line back. Take different lines to enjoy different scene.
a.For those who would rather spend more time and save the money, you can take the local train and transfer several more times. It takes ¥ 720 and around 99 minutes to get to Yokoze from Ikebukuro; from Yokoze to Seibu Chichibu costs ¥ 750, and the ride around 104 minutes.)
(For transfer information, please visit Yahoo Japan. See in the middle the yellow part “from Yokoze from Ikebukuro” and “from Yokoze to Seibu Chichibu”)
Introduction of Shibazakura Hill
Official Website: https://navi.city.chichibu.lg.jp/flower/shibazakura/hitsujiyama_park/index.html
Besides Shibazakura Hill, there are pastures, small golf court, lake, museum…etc. Check them out as well if time allows!