Good afternoon from the Itoigawa Global Geopark! Apart from the sudden downpour during the Itoigawa Kenka Matsuri, the weather has continued to be clear and beautiful.
Last weekend was perhaps the best time for viewing the many cherry trees blossoming throughout the Itoigawa Geopark. I had a bit of free time myself on Saturday, so I took the opportunity to visit the Himekawa River Cherry Tree Park.
The Himekawa River Cherry Tree Park is built atop the levee which protects Itoigawa from the flood-prone Himekawa River.
The cherry blossoms, called sakura in Japanese, were in near full bloom. At the park, a number of people were out walking their dogs, photographing the trees, or just relaxing as the evening sun lit the delicate flowers.
Far in the south, the Kubiki/Umidani Mountains provide a perfect backdrop. These mountains, ranging from about 1000 to 2500 meters (3300 – 8200ft) in height, form the Gongendake, Yakeyama, Umidani Gorge, and Amakazariyama Geosites.
To the west across the river, Mt. Kurohimeyama (1221m) and Mt. Myojo (1188m) were nearly as beautiful as the flowers were. Mt. Kurohimeyama, the imposing mountain to the right, is located between the Maikomidaira and Omigawa Jade Gorge Geosites. Mt. Myojo, the distant, nearly all-white triangular peak to the left, is located in the center of the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge.
There is still time during this week to enjoy the cherry blossoms, but don’t delay: They may not last through the weekend.