Tsuyama Hanami Picnic

Tsuyama is a small city north of Okayama surrounded by mountains and famous for its cherry blossom festival. Off the main tourist-tracks it was a quiet place to join the locals gathering in the ruins of Tsuyama Castle for a hanami picnic to enjoy some sakura viewing. 

Sakura's, lanterns and festival stalls line the approach to Tsuyama Castle

Sakura's, lanterns and festival stalls line the approach to Tsuyama Castle

Overlooking the tops of the sakura from the top of Tsuyama Castle

Overlooking the tops of the sakura from the top of Tsuyama Castle

tsuyama-hanami3.jpg
tsuyama-hanami4.jpg
tsuyama-hanami5.jpg
tsuyama-hanami6.jpg

We spent the morning wandering around the castle grounds, admiring the blossoms and planning our return in the evening after we'd explored more of Tsuyama. 

Sakura & castle walls

Sakura & castle walls

contrasting textures and forms

contrasting textures and forms

Magnolia

Magnolia

tsuyama-hanami10.jpg
tsuyama-hanami11.jpg
Partial reconstruction of Tsuyama Castle - viewed through sakura.

Partial reconstruction of Tsuyama Castle - viewed through sakura.

After exploring we returned in the late afternoon and found a small corner spot amongst the large blue tarp reservations to see the sun set and the lanterns twinkle on. The blue tarp was soon filled with people arriving after work with small charcoal grills for a bbq style picnic. We loved the little details of the rows of shoes that ended up lining the tarp by the time everyone was settled in. 

Hanami Picnic - Tsuyama Style

Hanami Picnic - Tsuyama Style

The view from our picnic rug for hanami

The view from our picnic rug for hanami

and the view looking up at the branches over our heads

and the view looking up at the branches over our heads

Watching the sun set through the blossoms and the lanterns twinkle on

Watching the sun set through the blossoms and the lanterns twinkle on

tsuyama-festivalfood.jpg

For our own picnic we bought some food from the stalls including tako (squid on a stick)  a little seared wagyu steak for me and a pressed mackerel sushi roll that had pink rice and was shaped to resemble a sakura petal and wrapped in seaweed and bamboo. For sweats we had custard filled carp cakes, a tsunami donut (cherry blossom flavoured) little honey puffs, toffees strawberries and a Tsuyama sakura roll cake that we ate the next day on the train. 

The wagyu steak stall

The wagyu steak stall

Toffee strawberries and grapes - they have apples too but that would just be boring. 

Toffee strawberries and grapes - they have apples too but that would just be boring. 

Sakura at sunset

Sakura at sunset

The hanami picnic atmosphere is now in full swing.

The hanami picnic atmosphere is now in full swing.

Another small hanami picnic group nearby

Another small hanami picnic group nearby

The honey puff cake stand

The honey puff cake stand

Sakura petals at night

Sakura petals at night

After we'd finished our picnic and our sake, the cold spring night was starting to bite so we wandered off leaving the other picnic groups to enjoy the illuminated blossoms.

Check me out on pinterest to get a feel for what else inspires me. http://pinterest.com/elkprints/