On this Year’s Spring Equinox, March 21st, a Japanese National Holiday, let’s escape the toxic concrete city to walk & explore peaceful Ichikawa, “The Garden City” & enjoy a friendly Hanami picnic!
(Chiba-prefecture is one of Japan’s under-appreciated treasures!)
We’ll stroll beside the wide Edogawa river in fragrant springtime & hike to the heights of Konodai, where the ruins of old Satomi Castle sleep beneath tall trees & mossy stones!
I visited the park recently & saw fat flower buds forming on the cherry trees. Sakura will bloom early, so let’s enjoy the new blossoms before crowds descend on the parks!
Enjoy hiking through fresh woods & nature areas to a shimmering *hyotan-shaped pond full of ducks, turtles & heron while chatting with friends at a picnic while enjoying the sweet, fresh country air. *,
(A hyotan is a magical Japanese sake gourd!)
We’ll see fine gardens, quaint neighborhoods, beautiful old homes, farms, fountains, statues, stones, shrines & temples, possibly including cliff-top Guhoji-temple, (68 stone steps up from the surrounding area) which offers great views of the surrounding area, plus Tekona temple, named after a legendary Heian-period beauty, whose tragic story has been immortalized in many songs and poems!
First, we’ll go to the Ichikawa I-link tower & enjoy a panoramic view of the whole area from the 45th floor view deck. From there one can see as far as Mt. Tsukuba, Fuji-san, Shinjuku, or distant Tateyama on a clear day!
Plus, you’ll get an overview of where we’ll be going on our hike!
We’ll hike where ancient Jomon, and Yayoi era peoples lived, hunted, fished, farmed & later, where Samurai of the rival Satomi and Hojo clans battled in the mid-16th century, “Sengoku Period”.
Remnants & artifacts of the old castle may still be seen!
(There are also several large ancient (2-5th century) Zempokoenfun-type Kofun burial mounds nearby, where Yayoi-period armor, swords, jewels, & treasure were found!)
History is all around us in Ichikawa!
On the way, we may pay our respects at the Konodai Tenmangu shrine, where 4 large rice-straw dragons have been woven, blessed with rice-wine & placed in the trees nearby to guard the area from disease & plagues, a festive local tradition for over 500 years!
White, red or pink Ume (plum) or Sakura (cherry) trees will all be blooming before the full Hanami cherry-blossom season begins!
The breeze might be cool, but hopefully the sun will shine, the hills and banks of the pond & river will be alive with animals & flowers, so let’s enjoy exploring together!
At Satomi-koen, then, beautiful Junsai-ike park, we’ll sit beneath blooming sakura and walk beside the beautiful, 500 meter pond, filled with many different kinds of gorgeous ducks & turtles.
We’ll socialize while eating our lunch, and enjoy Ohanami, so please bring food, drink & wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking forest paths.
(You may also buy your lunch at a convenience store along the way.)
I will bring a few picnic sheets, can some of you bring a small one also?
This walk offers many photo-opportunities, takes about 4 hours (depending on our pace) and is about 6 kilometers long, but don’t worry, we’ll take many breaks!
PLEASE NOTE: There’s no set Meetup fee, but donations of ￥2000 or more are gratefully accepted!
(We will provide complementary Sake for those who might enjoy it!)
This is a non-smoking meetup. If you smoke, please do so away from the group.
Precautions against Covid19, like masks, hand-washing & reasonable distancing will be observed!
Comments or suggestions for future meetups are quite welcome!
Thanks, your organizer, Kerry D. 😎
Chiba, JP, 272-0034