At the end of May, there were four national holidays that fell on the same week-- called 'Golden Week'. I had two lovely visitors in the form of Franny and my Sister come to Goto and also travel with me on a trip to Tokyo. I will write more about the trip but for now I want to start at the end and share some photos of the Kawachi Fuji-en Gardens in KitaKyushu-- about an hour north of Fukuoka. 'Fuji' (藤) means wisteria in Japanese and the gardens are just that: wisteria on wisteria on wisteria. We were initially worried about timing our visit and whether or not we were too late for peak blossoms. Spoilers: we weren't. I would say we were there at the absolute perfect time and both the weather and blossoms couldn't have been better. Mostly we just walked around the gardens with our mouths open speaking in the equivalent of all caps. 'ARE YOU SEEING THIS??' 'OH MY GOD JUST LOOK AT THIS' and so forth.
So hopefully these photos make you feel a little bit of that all caps excitement too.
The peak season of wisteria blossoms coincides nicely (or not depending how you look at it) with this big holiday week in Japan. This week is, understandably, the busiest time to travel around Japan and tourist sites, accommodations, and transportation are jam packed. Because of this, we needed to buy tickets in advance at a convenience store (コンビニ）for a specified date and time entry slot. You can do many things at the convenience store in Japan such as pay bills, buy concert tickets, and attraction tickets but the machine is entirely in Japanese. So with the help of a the kind store clerk, a friend, and google translate I was able to get us a slot! The other thing is that you can do all these wonderful convenient things at the store.... just not on Goto. So a trip to the 'convenience' store is anything but convenient when it involved a three hour ferry ride.
The garden is situated in the mountains outside of Kitakyushu and the free shuttle bus zigged and zagged its way through bamboo groves and lakes to reach it. Even if we arrived at the garden and the wisteria had not been in bloom, it might have just been worth it for the beautiful drive there.