What’s this? Can’t believe your eyes?
That definitely can’t be a cherry blossom tree in the picture already, can it? It’s only February!
Despite the unseasonably warm weather we have been having in 2009, the answer is “no”, that is not a cherry blossom tree but it is a beautiful plum blossom tree in full bloom!
My latest explorations along the Kintetsu Nara Line, 近鉄奈良線, took me to an area which I wrote about last fall also.
This is Hiraoka Park 枚岡公園 , located between the Kintetsu Hiraoka Station and Kintetsu Nukata Station 近鉄額田駅 on the Kintetsu Nara Line about 30 minutes east of Kintetsu Namba Station, 近鉄難波駅. Hiraoka Park is a smaller, lesser-known treasure which… provides an excellent opportunity for someone to enjoy all the natural beauties offered by Osaka Castle Park ,大阪城公園, but without the crowds.
This park is famous for its approximately 500 plum trees which are in full bloom from early February to early March.
Also, it has about 2500 beautiful cherry blossom trees making it an ideal spot for a hanami party sometime in April of this year, 2009. 枚岡公園 の 桜 お花見 スポット
Take time to climb up to Hiraoka Shrine , 枚岡神社, as well and enjoy the beautiful views of Osaka City from up on the mountain. The night view is even more amazing if you have time to stick around. 枚岡公園 夜景
If you really have a lot of energy you may even want to challenge yourself by hiking one of the several trails from Hiraoka Park which lead up to Mount Ikoma. 生駒山上ハイキング
I should mention that the fastest way to get to the plum tree groves is to climb the stairs up to Hiraoka Shrine 枚岡神社 then follow the path located to the right of the shrine and look for signs saying “Hiraoka Plum Grove”. 枚岡梅林
Find a spot under one of the many trees and enjoy a picnic.
If you forget to pack lunch and feel a little hungry, don’t worry because there is even a little food stall at the entrance selling typical festival delicacies.
The weather was beautiful on my most recent visit and the mood created by the numerous families was very relaxing. Several people were also napping on sheets under the trees.
In addition, as I mentioned last fall, this is also a great place to enjoy the beautiful colors of autumn leaves while walking through the park. 枚岡公園 紅葉
I recommend getting off the train at either station, then walking very slowly through the park and getting back on the train at the next station.
I’ve really come to enjoy this park as it allows me to relax and appreciate all the seasons which Kansai has to offer in a natural setting but without the crowds typical of other more famous spots.
I recommend stopping by next time you find yourself traveling on the Kintetsu Nara Line in East Osaka. 東大阪市
I plan to return sometime during the cherry blossom season as well and write an update with pictures at that time. 枚岡公園の桜お花見
Hurry! The plum blossoms will be in full bloom for only the next couple of weeks.
Alessandro “Alex” Stanciu
Smith’s School of English Fuse
月謝制 の スミス 英会話 布施 校