Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hitachi: Kamine Park and Zoo

Our recent visit to Hitachi’s Sakura Matsuri and Furyu mono was combined with a visit to the nearby Kamine park. Kamine Park attracts lot of visitors during the Cherry Blossom season.
Along with Juo Panorama Park and Heiwa Dori, Kamine Park contributes to Hitachi’s place as one of the 100 most famous cherry blossom spots in Japan. Night time illumination of cherry trees in the park attracts lots of visitors during the Cherry blossom season. Our visit last weekend was a bit too early to view blossoms. 
A lone cherry tree had blossoms while the others were full of buds, ready to bloom. 
Kamine park is a large public park in Hitachi city, overlooking the city and the Pacific ocean. Kamine park is home to 2 amusement parks and a zoo within its 150,000 sq meter grounds.The Masashi Yoshida musical memorial hall and Museum is also located within the Kamine Park.
The amusement parks have various rides catering to children and adults of all ages. One park named  "Children's Playground" has rides more suitable for children . 

The other park "Leisure Land" has roller coaster and other rides which are suitable for adults.
Kamine park zoo is a nice place to visit especially when accompanied by kids.
The zoo is home to a variety of animals and birds including Elephants, Penguins, Monkeys, Deer, Bear, Gorillas, Lions, Tigers, Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Flamingos, Zebras, Giraffes . Funny as it may sound Donkeys and Sheep also find a place in this zoo.     

Visitors can play with Rabbits and Marmots in the small petting area.

An observation deck higher up in the park offers a panoramic view of the city and the Pacific Ocean. 

Few "Love-locks" can be seen on the railings of the observation deck. 
Address: 5-5-22 Miyato-cho, Hitachi-shi, 317-0055, Ibaraki Prefecture

Phone: 0294-22-4727

Entrance:  Park: Free
                Zoo: Adults 500 yen, Children: 100 yen
                Amusement Park: Varies as per rides 

Parking: Free car parking available

Hitachi : Sakura Matsuri and Furyu Mono

The cherry blossoms in Hitachi city (Ibaraki Prefecture) are counted amongst the 100 beautiful cherry blossoms in Japan. The city also hosts an annual Cherry Blossom Festival- Sakura matsuri in early-mid April which attracts thousands of people from across Japan. In 2012, the 50th Sakura Matsuri is being conducted in Hitachi. During this festival, cherry trees on the city’s main Cherry blossom street- Heiwa Dori, Juo Panorama Park and Kamine Park are illuminated at night.

The highlight of this festival is “Hitachi Furyu Mono” which is conducted on Heiwa Dori.
The “Furyu Mono” is a float which is pulled by ropes and which measures 15 meters high and 8 meters wide. 
The float weighs about 5 tons.
 Hidden inside the float is a orchestra box from which music is played.
 At fixed times during the day, a play is staged using puppets on the roofs of the 5 layered float. The event is said to date back to the Edo period.

In 2009, UNESCO designated the “Furyu mono” as an intangible cultural heritage.

Various entertainment and cultural programs are also held during the day at Heiwa Dori. 
Colourful stalls selling food stuff and souvenirs line the Heiwa dori.

Much to our disappointment, this year cherry blossoms are blooming slightly later than expected. 
When we went to see the Furyu Mono last weekend, the trees were not covered with blossoms and only the buds were visible. The blossoms are expected to reach their peak between 14th-22nd April 2012.   

Access: 5 mins from the Hitachi Chuo IC on the Joban Expressway. Walking distance from
           JR Hitachi station . 

Telephone: 0294-22-3111

Entrance: Free

Car parking: Ample free car parking is available at various locations around the Hitachi city
                   hall and Heiwa dori. Shuttle buses also operate between the car parking areas 
                   and the main venue on Heiwa Dori. 
Website of Hitachi city :