peony festival

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Last month I attended a local peony festival - just stunning. I wanted to share some photos of the peony gardens with you. Of course starting with the gift shop flowers to bring home.

The first garden level

White wisteria. 

Onto the second level of peonies

Wisteria walk down to the third garden.

Orange azaleas above row after row of peonies.


A perfect peony, the size of my face.

Hope you enjoyed the garden tour!

These photos are by me so please credit if you share, thanks!

cherry blossoms and horses

Monday, July 15, 2013

One more cherry blossom post! This festival was a few months ago but I still wanted to share it since it was so unique. Not only did they have beautiful blossoms but women competing in a tradtional archery contest. Their costumes were just beautiful despite the rain and mud. Starting with the blessing and procession.

The action

A couple of the champions

 And a few days later, the blossoms finally made their appearance!

photos by me, please credit if you share, thanks!

wild wisteria

Friday, July 12, 2013

I had to pull over when I saw this wild wisteria growing everywhere. It was climbing over trees and just so beautiful. At this particular spot along the road, I found it climbing several stories along a cliff.

photos by me, please credit if you borrow, thanks!

castle hirosaki, part two

Monday, July 8, 2013

Before I forget, a quick peek at the exhibits and interior construction of the keep at Hirosaki Castle. Unfortunately all the dummy plaques were in Japanese so if anyone can enlighten me to the period and origins of these pieces, that would be great!

Interior construction


Looks like an apotropaic dragon, could be wrong - couldn't read the plaque!

Another view from the base (note my stroller...)

And finally, some cherry blossoms starting to peek out.

photos by me, please credit if you borrow, thanks!

Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day! We're thinking of picking up a yakiniku grill to celebrate American style!

photo credit unknown

castle hirosaki, part one

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The cherry blossoms were late this year thanks to a cold snap. And being overly eager American expats in our first cherry blossom season, we attended the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival on the first day only to miss the actual blooms! But this gives me an opportunity to share the architecture of Castle Hirosaki with you. Let's start at one of the five surviving gates

Another lookout tower

The grounds

A good view of the yagura.

 You can see the ornamentation of the roofline. (And the cherry blossoms just peeking out)

A traditional part of hanami, a celebratory picnic under the (not quite blooming) cherry blossoms

And of course, a less traditional part. I couldn't get a picture fast enough but I also spotted characters dressed as cartoon onions, sweet potatoes and a mushroom.

I actually remember studying this castle in a Japanese art history class in college. Had I know I would actually grow up to live in Japan, I might have just studied Japanese... At any rate a castle has existed on this site since 1603 when construction began and after many setbacks, completed in 1611. Oddly enough lightning would strike the castle burning it to the ground. Reconstruction did not begin again until 1810 which is what you can see today.

photos by me, please credit if you borrow, thanks!