Outside of Japan, nobody has heard of shibazakura, but they should! Check out the rolling hills covered with pink flowers that bloom in the middle of May! (They’re actually a variety of phlox, so I’m guessing the “sakura” part of the name is a feeble-ish attempt to ride the coattails of Japan’s more famous flower season, but they DO deliver that pink cloud thing, even if you have to look down to see it.)
And the best part for Tokyo dwellers is that this year I discovered a place to see them that is a LOT closer than the more famous places (which involve daunting & expensive train schleps). Hitsujiyama in Chichibu is only a ¥1600 train ride from Ikebukuro Station!
Shibazakura bloom during the entire month of May. I took the train (98 minutes from Ikebukuro to Chichibu Station) then walked to the park from there (it takes about 15 minutes). Admission to the shibazakura fields during the blooming season is ¥300.
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for
Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon
“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist
Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had