KoLe Shikoku, Japan

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2000 cherry trees planted by local interested people| Mitoyo, Kagawa, JAPAN

If you are in Japan in the right season, I assure you that you will be able to get great cherry blossoms photos all over Japan. But have you ever given thought about “why these trees are there”? Cherry trees are planted all over Japan probably way more than you think. So, I believe there are greater cherry blossoms spots out there. But I just love this spot because of its story. I would love to share the story of Japanese obsession towards cherry blossoms and it given the community a greatness.

  • Japanese people have “a thing” about Cherry Blossoms
  • The park exemplifies Japanese people’s cherry blossom obsession
  • OHANAMI /o-hana-mi/ ~the parking lot with cherry spot was A BIG DEAL!~
  • Information on the park

Japanese people have “a thing” about Cherry Blossoms.

One of the culture shocks when you start living in Japan could be “The amount of cherry trees” all over Japan. My husband from U.S.A. also made a point about it for the first few years in Japan. According to him, he knew cherry blossoms represent Japan in a way but he never thought he could see cherry blossoms everywhere he goes.

You might think that Japanese people plant so many cherry trees because we want to pick those fruits in the summer. But believe it or not, a lots of cherry trees planted for viewing do not get eatable fruits. Even though for some people Japanese nation are known as practical efficient nation but when it comes down to cherry trees, I guess we are not. We plant cherry trees JUST FOR THE BLOSSOMS. The blossoms we can only enjoy a couple of weeks!

I think it could be fair for me to say that we are obsessed about the blossoms. One of our coins even have cherry blossoms design on it. I do not know where our obsession comes from, but one thing I can say is it is in our heart.

There are so many beautiful flowers in Japan, but why are cherry blossoms treated differently? I have no right answer for the question. However, I have a feeling that the cherry’s way of blossoming synchronize our aesthetic sense. After long cold winter, it blossoms all at once. The trees transfer from no leaves left just brunches to light pink fluffy blossomed tree. Then within less than a week after fully blossomed, the petals are blown out by warm strong wind or washed out by rain. We are probably attracted to the contrast of “none to full” and “short moment of glory”.

The park exemplifies Japanese people’s cherry blossom obsession.

For “30 min walk | simply waking view of SHIKOKU, Japan” on our YouTube, we took a walk in the park which exemplifies our obsession. The park on top of ASAHIYAMA [Mt. Asahi] (238m) is called “ASAHIYAMA-SHINRIN-KOUEN (Ahashiyama forest park)”.

This park was hand created by interested people of Asa community, the community where the mountain is, in 1988. When park was opened, these volunteers planted different kinds of cherry trees. According to Mitoyo city official tourism website, the park has about 2,000 cherry trees. What surprised me the most is this park has been maintained by local volunteers ever since it was opened.

Did you get the level of our cherry blossoms obsession? The people of Asa community could plant any trees they want when they were creating the park. But they chose to plant 2,000 cherry trees so that they can provide “OHANAMI” spot to in and out of their community. Usually parks opened to public are maintained by the local government or contractors who were chosen by the local government. But people of Asa decided to maintain it by themselves as volunteers for the past 33 years! And NO ENTRANCE FEE for the park! How great and cool way to put smiles on people’s face is that!? Some of visitors know the story but some don’t.

I spent 30 minutes plus taking video of this park as imagining what motivated these people of Asa to create this view. It was the greatest cherry blossoms experience ever!

OHANAMI /o-hana-mi/ ~the parking lot with cherry spot was A BIG DEAL!~

OHANAMI is Japanese custom to go on a picnic under the cherry trees during the blossoms season. Even though you see a lot of places with cherry trees, finding the places where matches the condition to do OHANAMI is limited. Hence Kagawa is motorized society, finding the cherry spots with enough parking lot is first obstacle. The spots with large parking lot are well known by locals. Being the blossoms season too short, the spots with large parking lot are filled by cars at the parking lot and people under the trees. Even if you found a beautiful cherry spot, it could be someone’s property or banned to do OHANAMI.

So the interested people who created cherry blossom spot with free parking lot, free entrance park was a big deal for local people.

When we visited there was on weekday afternoon and we are still under the effect of COVID-19 pandemic. So, there were not much people compare to other years’ weekend.

Information on the park : Asahiyama-shinrin-park

Check our video “30 min SANPO” to view what cherry blossoms of 2,000 trees look like.

Name : 朝日山森林公園 /asahi-yama-shinrin-kouen/ (Mt. Asahi forest park)

Address: 3829-144 Shimoasa, Takase-cho, Mitoyo city, KAGAWA, Japan
MAP: Click/Tap here (Google map)

Access:
高瀬駅 /taka-se-eki/ (Takase Station) [JR予讃線 /JR yosan-sen/ (JR Yosan Line)] —1min walk—>
高瀬駅バス停 /taka-se-eki basu-tei/(Takase St. Bus stop) — Bus 23min
[三豊市コミュニティーバス /mitoyo-shi-comunity-basu/ 高瀬線 北コース/taka-se-sen-kita-kou-su/ 原下行 /shimo-hara-yuki/ (Mitoyo City Community Bus, Takase Line North course, To Harashimo)] —>
五歩田バス停 /gobu-ta-basu-tei/ (Gobuta Bus Station) —28 min walk —>
朝日山森林公園 /Asahiyama Shinrin kouen/
*The community bus to Gobuta only runs, only Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.
*Access information at the point of April 7th, 2021.
*We display the names of places in Japanese, so that you would know what the signs would look like when you visit there.
*/ / = how to sound it out
*( ) = English translation

If you would prefer us to attend to visit there, feel free to contact us from the contact form at the bottom!

-Satoko
Head Curator of KoLe SHIKOKU, Japan

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