Tuesday, July 22, 2008


On Sunday, we went to Kusatsu. From Osaka to Kusatsu it takes about 1 hour by train. We then hopped on a bus that took us to Mizunomori
--a botanical garden in an area called the Karasuma hanto(Karasuma Peninsula), on the banks of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture.

After arriving at the park and paying our admission (300 yen a person--about US$3), we headed to the hasugunseichi (the area where the hasu (lotus) grows).

This area is HUGE! about 13 hectares...about 32 acres...of lotus. Looking to the left.

And to the right. Lotus flowers and plants stretched as far as my eyes could see.

The weather was hot (about 36C = 96F), perfect for water skiing, which is what these people were doing on Lake Biwa right outside of the lotus patch.

There were many people, some sketching, but many photographing. One lady was trying to balance on a tiny rock while holding her umbrella trying to photograph a lotus blossom with her cell phone. I kind of chuckled when I saw her do this.

This botanical garden also had the largest lily pads I've ever seen. Wanna play hopscotch?

There were also tombo doing their "thing".

Inside the air conditioned Lotus Hall, I sat slept through several documentary films about the hasu (lotus). Actually, before I fell asleep, I learned that a lotus flower only lives for 4 days. One thing you should know is that the lotus flower is best viewed in the morning. The first day it opens a little then closes. By the fourth day, it opens so wide that it cannot close, the petals begin to fall off and then the yellow cone in the middle dries up to become the seeds, which replant themselves in the fall. The root becomes lotus root, which is edible, and then the process starts all over.

The botanical garden also had an atrium with many tropical plants. I saw many things that reminded me of home. One was this mango tree.

We shared kakigori (shave ice), no rainbow here. Satoshi chose melon.

Back at the JR Kusatsu station, I noticed these ubagamochi, which are a famous item in Kusatsu. They are soft white mochi wrapped with sweet bean paste. They are supposed look like a mother's breast, which is what I think "ubaga" means.

Lunch was at a Chinese restaurant--Asakusa. I ordered their reimen (cold noodles). This really hit the spot.

All in all it was a great day.

Satoshi was impressed by the size of the lotus patch, though we both wished we hadn't picked the hottest day of the year to go.

Hope you have a great week.

1091 Oroshimo-machi
Kusatsu, Shiga
Phone: 077.568.2332
Open 7:00-17:00 during the Summer & 9:00-17:00 during the rest of the year


Mama Mia said...

I've been to Osaka a few times but never to Kusatsu. Next time Im in Japan I would love to visit. It looks like a beautiful place!

K and S said...

Hi Lina,

Kusatsu is in Shiga Prefecture, nearby to Osaka, but not in Osaka. I hope you get a chance to visit Kusatsu the next time you are here.

Take care.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I love lotus--they are so beautiful and peaceful looking. How did the shave ice compare? The ubagamochi are interesting--how was the taste? I really admire the two of you for having so many adventures in the heat & humidity!

PS. Don't hate me too much--I tagged you for a meme on my site. (Like how I snuck that in at the end?!)

K and S said...

The shave ice was really icy, not fine and powdery like most of the places we have in Hawaii. The ubagamochi was so soft (kind of like chichidango), not chewy like most mochi. You so funny, Deb, will check out the meme.

Take care.

Rowena said...

I'm glad that I can't actually "feel" the heat because 36C...just hearing that figure makes me perspire mentally.

This was a very cool (not literally speaking) outing. I always like it when you mention using public transport. They must have a really excellent system there.

K and S said...

I am glad that you don't have to "feel" that temperature either, Rowena. No one should. Public transportation is so good here that you can pretty much set your watches to it...unlike our bus system on Oahu...ahem.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Those lily pads are huge, that's so cool! I'm glad you got a little taste of home this weekend. :)

K and S said...

They were indeed huge, Lori! I was so ecstatic to see mango, pikake, pakalana!

Take care.

Sarita Leone said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful day. I love the photos! :)

K and S said...

Thanks Sarita! and thanks for stopping by.

Take care.

KirkK said...

Hi Kat - You have access to so many beautiful places.

K and S said...

Thank you Kirkk! And you have access to so many delicious places :)

Take care.