Garyubai ume blossoms at Yanagawa-Kibonomori Park, Date, March 15, 2023. 梁川希望森公园的卧龙梅花盛开。三月十五号二〇二三年。やながわ希望の森公園の臥龍梅が満開 2023年 3月15日。

(#Garyubai ume blossoms, Date, Mar. 15, 2023. #臥龍梅 伊達3/15/2023)
I got the information that Garyubai ume tree is starting to bloom, so I visited Yanagawa-Kibonomori Park in Yanagawa, Date City today. Garyubai is a special variety of ume or plum tree, which features its bending trunk and branches that looks like lying dragon. Photo above shows a single Garyubai tree in full bloom that extends its entire blossoms widely.

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A description board on site shown above says that Japan waged a war against Korea in 1592 and Date Masamune was one of the lords that went there. At the time this special proportion of Garyubai ume tree caught his attention and he brought it back to Japan. This Garyubai tree is a descendant of that tree.  

Photo above shows the blossoms from a different angle.

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(#Garyubai ume blossoms, Date, Mar. 15, 2023. #臥龍梅 伊達3/15/2023)
Photo above is a close-up view of Garyubai flower petals.

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Garyubai ume tree is in a special corner for wild plants and herbs in the park. Photo above shows the sign for the corner.

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Garyubai ume tree is located about 30-minute walk from Yanagawa-Kibonomorimae Station shown above of Abukuma-Kyuko or Abukyu Line railway. After entering into the park area, you walk to the park office then turn left right before the office building and climb a slope until you see the sign.



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(#Abukyu, train cars, Fukushima, Mar. 15, 2023. #阿武隈急行 福島3/15/2023)
I took Abukyu Line from Fukushima Station to get to Yanagawa-Kibonomorimae Station and return back today. During that time, I met four different types and colors of the train cars as shown in the pictures above. It’s great fun to see and ride those cars. All of them were of recent designs with comfortable ride.

The exact GPS locations and route are shown in a map below. The map can be scaled up and down with click and scroll.

Janohana rose garden in Motomiya, June 1, 2022. 本宮市的蛇鼻玫瑰园。六月一号二〇二二年。本宮 蛇の鼻のバラ園 2022年6月1日。

(# Janohana, rose garden, Motomiya, June 1, 2022. #本宮 蛇の鼻 バラ園6/1/2022)
Today I visited Janohana rose garden in Motomiya. This is my favorite rose garden. Once I stepped into the garden on the hillside today, I was impressed by the beautiful scenery as shown above.

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Photo above was another view today. The roses in the garden were already in their peak season.

In the large pond water lily flowers are also in their best season as shown above.

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At the entrance (or exit) of Janohana Garden, frog family members are welcoming visitors as shown above. They are also saying goodbye to us wishing safe return home.

I used the city’s circulating bus service to get to Janohana today. The bus takes us from JR Motomiya Station to Janohana in about 20 minutes stopping at other places. The fare is 100-yen. Photo shows the bus terminal in front of the station.



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JR Motomiya Station was recently refurbished as shown in the top above which has become convenient and comfortable. Station piano is also introduced as shown in the middle photo above. A statue of the Showa era popular singer from the city is also placed in the front square as shown in the bottom photo.

The exact route and locations are shown in a map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.

Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum in Futaba, Sept. 30, 2020. (原子力災害伝承館 双葉町 2020年9月30日)

Today, I visited Futaba Town where Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is located, and where a part of the town area was lifted the evacuation order in this March as a special reconstruction hub zone. I took JR Joban Line to Futaba Station aboard a limited super express train “Hitachi”. Transportation was restored as far as train is concerned. Picture above was another super express train bound for Iwaki arrived at the station just 20 minutes later.

Right next to the station building, I found a new rest space opened as shown above. This part was under construction when I visited here this March. Tables, chairs, and free coffee were available.


My final goal today was Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum which just opened to public this September 20th, but I stopped at several places along the way. A free bike sharing system has been introduced in the area. Photos above were of a bike park at Futaba Station, and a bike I used. You first deposit 100-yen coin to unlock the bike and the coin is returned when you park the bike at the next park. Currently, there is no public bus service in the area. So, bike sharing is so popular that there was none when I came to the bike park, but in the meantime a bike came back and I was lucky to have one.

Carefully riding the bike, I first stopped at Shohatsu Shrine located close to Futaba station. The local shrine was heavily damaged by the earthquake 9.5 years ago, but because of the long evacuation period due to the nuclear accident the reconstruction work was largely delayed. Today it seemed to be almost completed as shown above.

Then I headed to the next stop which was a memorial for local victims located on the roadside of national route 6 as shown above. This was built by Futaba Town in 2013, 2 years after the disaster.

The next stop was F-BICC, or Futaba Business Incubation and Community Center as shown above. This is a new business and community facility of the town, which opens tomorrow. I parked the bike at this station and walked to the adjacent Memorial Museum building.


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Photo shown at the top was the Pacific Ocean view from the 3rd story observatory space of the Memorial Museum, which was shown in the bottom. A new memorial park is also under construction in front. The construction is being delayed due to the corona virus pandemic. Inside the exhibition floor, photos and videos are not allowed. All the visitors are at first introduced into a 7-screen theater. After 5-minute prologue we were guided to the upper exhibition floor. All kinds of 3.11 disaster data and information, rather focused on nuclear plant accident, were on display, most of which were familiar to me.

The reconstruction hub zone of Futaba Town, including the Memorial Museum, F-BICC, and the memorial park will keep on changing and evolving in the days ahead and will play a key role until the final lifting of all the evacuation order for the rest of the town area.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
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