It’s Golden Week so people have time to travel, which means every pocket of Japan is flooded with visitors right now. Even better, this period of consecutive public holidays coincides with extremely pleasant, picnic-perfect weather.

I can’t stress enough what a great time it is to see peonies at Yuushien Garden while thousands and thousands and thousands more are on display than usual, but as we know, peonies tend to be show-offs, and there are plenty of other seasonal flowers to enjoy at this time.

One of my favorites I hadn’t seen much before moving here was fuji (wisteria, witten as 藤, not 富士 like Mt. Fuji!), and from the highway you can see large purple trees towering out among the forests, and one of my favorite seasonal sweets from Kiharu, a charming cafe inside the Matsue History Museum, is an original wagashi with a delicate fuji motif.

That photo is from the wisteria at Yuushien among all the peonies, but one of the most pleasant and easily accessed (and free!) places to view them is Matsue English Garden, which is what it sounds like: A garden in Matsue designed and maintained in English style, with varying heights and shapes and botanic selections around the meandersome garden paths. Located right outside one of the closest railway stations to Matsue Shinjiko Onsen station (the easternmost on the Ichibata Railway that leads to Izumo Taisha), you can walk right in and go straight to wandering the garden, or there are like displays and exhibitions or fairs going on within the glass-walled hallways surrounding the garden.

englishgarden

On a sunny day, light floods all of the enclosures, including the hot house or the stage area which is home to a couple of giant ficus trees I’m very fond of and some other unusual plants I still am not sure of the identity of. While I haven’t eaten at the restaurant there (but enjoyed ice cream or home cooked treats from food fairs), I imagine it is also well lit as it provides a view of Lake Shinji, which the garden is on the northern banks of.

But the upclose view of Lake Shinji is free, too. There is a grassy green lawn to stretch out or run around on at the southernment most point of the garden, overlooking the lake, or you could take a stroll down to the boardwalk. We held the closing ceremony and reception of the 23rd Japan-America Grassroots Summit 2013 in Shimane in this back area last July, and it proved to be the perfect space to accomodate so many mingling visitors and performances. It’s no wonder people plan weddings there.


But, you know, I live right by Lake Shinji too and have no shortage of good views of it. There is something in bloom all year around (most notably a wide variety of seasonal roses!), so I was there to see plants and English garden design!





And of course, early May means wisteria, which are best viewed from within the tunnels they hang from when arranged in gardens, observing the speckled sunlight and the purple hues in varying rays and shadows.


Miss Artemis from Otaku Lounge is a good model as always!

Those of you with access to them, go out and enjoy some wisteria. After all, in Hanakotoba (Flower Language), they mean “Welcome!” However, be careful! They also mean intoxication, including being intoxicated with love.

Speaking of those of you with access, the furry nanjyamonjya trees at Matsue Castle will be blooming soon!

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