Yesterday Satoshi had the day off. What started off as just a small trip to an area in Minoo, turned out to be a L-O-N-G but beautiful day filled with lots of sakura (cherry blossoms).
We caught the bus and went to Gein, this area has a temple called Taishakuji.
The calendar we received from our city office had a beautiful photo of the temple and their sakura. Since we had never been to this temple, I thought it would be good for us to explore it.
Upon arriving at the temple thought, we realized that the temple itself didn't have many cherry trees. In fact, they were busy preparing for the Buddha's birthday (Hanamatsuri), which was April 8th. They had decorated a little pavilion for the Buddha which they would fill with sweet tea to ladle over the statue.
So from Taishakuji, we walked to Ichirin Coffee. After seeing Amy's post, I wanted to check this cafe out. Since we don't have a car, I had to plan for us to have a reason to travel to this area to check it out. Luckily Taishakuji happened to be in the same area.
It was too early for lunch, so I had dessert, the chocolate berry tart. The tart was like a crunchy brownie, whipped cream and lots of berries (currants, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries), some strawberry whipped cream to hold the strawberry macaron in place. Satoshi felt it was too early for dessert and had their breakfast plate instead.
The buses in Gein don't run too often, so we walked back to the Hankyu Minoo station (about 40 minutes). From atop the road back to the station we could see a pink river and remembered there was an area in Minoo called sakuranamiki (road lined with cherry trees).
Satoshi and I were both moved by this street, it was so beautiful. It was our first time to see this street in full bloom. Many cars and passersby stopped to take photos with their cell phones as well as big cameras, there was actually a little traffic jam too because everyone was driving so slow in this area to view the blooms.
At the Minoo station, we looked at the sakura chart which showed the status of the blooming trees in different areas. Since all were mankai (full bloom) we jumped on the train and went to Shukugawa.
I've gone to Shukugawa by myself during cherry blossom season, but this was the first time for Satoshi to experience this area on a weekday when it was in full bloom. I think he was moved by this place also.
There were many people picnicking along the river. We bought some prepared foods and had a little picnic ourselves. (This was my bento.)
It was quite warm but we were glad to be out and taking in all the beautiful cherry blossoms.
From Shukugawa, we talked about what we should do next, since it was still early we decided to head to Sumaura Park. Sumaura Park is about 30 minutes from Sannomiya towards the Akashi Bridge.
It was the first time for both of us to go to this park. This park overlooks the ocean.
They have a ropeway which you can ride for 1000 yen (about US$10) to the top where you can see the Akashi Bridge, this bridge connects Honshu with Awaji Island.
Through the polluted haze we saw the bridge.
After seeing the view, we came back down the mountain and decided to check out the Nishinomiya Gardens.
This is a huge shopping complex that recently opened in Nishinomiya (about 10 minutes from Umeda) on the land where the Nishinomiya Stadium once stood.
The Nishinomiya Stadium used to be the home of the Hankyu Braves (this team evovled into the Orix Buffaloes and have their own stadium in Kobe now). There is a little gallery on the 5th floor of the shopping complex to show what the area looked like before and pay tribute to the players of the original team.
On the 4th floor there is a garden area, this area was open and there were some tables and chairs to hang out and chat. I wished they had had more greenery, rather than all that cement. They also had a little water thingy where kids were having a blast getting wet.
We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant, but it isn't worth telling you about it.
It was a L-O-N-G day, we did a L-O-T of walking, but we got to see a lot of cherry blossoms. I think Satoshi enjoyed himself too (even though we woke up really early on his day off). I'll post more photos of our day on Flickr.
Closed the 3rd Monday