A few weeks ago one of my friends who works at Japan Guide asked me if I was interested in becoming a freelance travel reporter, and I might have accidentally screamed “yes” at him rather than saying it at a normal volume. Luckily that was taken for enthusiasm instead of crazy, and I have officially become a travel reporter for Japan-Guide.com. Go me!
Wednesday was my first trip report down to Kawazu, a small town on Shizuoka’s Izu Peninsula. You can read the trip report on the JG website here: Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival Trip Report.
During the We Love Japan Tour, I stayed in Imaihama right next to Kawazu, and spend some time sightseeing a few waterfalls in the area as well as learning how wasabi is grown. This time around I was exploring the early-blooming Kawazu sakura, a variety of cherry that flowers a good month or more before the more common Somei Yoshino cherries start blooming. Kawazu sakura are really vibrantly pink, and right now yellow nanohana flowers are also blooming, so the contrast is really really nice!
Izu’s only about two hours from Tokyo, so it is really popular and crowded right now. Luckily I was heading down on a Wednesday, but I still got caught by the crowds. Actually, my story starts a bit earlier, of the 5AM variety. I drove to a slightly larger station than my local one in order to take one of the first trains to Tokyo. Right as we approached Tokyo station, all the trains on the Chuo line stopped so I missed my connection to the train that would take me to Izu. That’s especially unpleasant because it is a special rapid train called the Odoriko, and it needs an extra ticket and a seat reservation unless you want to wait in line to vie for the unreserved seats.
By missing the train, that’s exactly what I had to do. An hour later, I was finally on my way to Kawazu. Geez.
After arriving in Kawazu, I stepped out of the station right into a TV crew interviewing people for a show called “Why did you come to Japan” who wanted to follow me around Kawazu after finding out I was there for the cherry blossom festival. Luckily I didn’t just accept and instead called Japan Guide, who said basically “No way no how,” so I was glad I hadn’t said yes without asking! However that ate up a bit of time, and by arriving an hour late I was feeling the pressure of time since my return train was already reserved.
Trying to get out of the station… don’t any of you people work?!
Kawazu station right before the YOU TV crew spotted me
Pretty quickly I went up and down the river, then into and around town taking pictures and seeing the sights. I was starving but didn’t feel like I had time to eat, so I just grabbed a pink taiyaki for a snack, figuring I could eat on the train.
I wish I had been able to spend more time looking around, as there was a lot of interesting foods to try and things for sale, but pretty quickly I had seen what I needed, taken enough pictures, and had to get back to catch my train back to Gunma. So I’m just dumping a ton of pictures here. Enjoy!
Sakura! In February! WEIRD.
A few of the trees were already dropping blossoms quickly, but most were still pretty full
Lots of selfie sticks making an appearance…
Even the dogs seemed to be enjoying the day!
Take your own tree home! … for about 50 bucks, ouch.
These are NOT sakura but are plums, which is the usual flower to see around this time
These I expect in February…
I liked this sign but didn’t stop to take a good enough photo of it. *sigh*
This was good!