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Home > About Yamanashi > Topics > Yamanashi Travelog: Moss Pink, Jumbo Burgers, Bat Caves, Oh My!

Yamanashi Travelog: Moss Pink, Jumbo Burgers, Bat Caves, Oh My!

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Yamanashi Travelog: Moss Pink, Jumbo Burgers, Bat Caves, Oh My!

By Aimee Wenyue Chen

 

Have you ever heard of moss pink?

I assume many non-Japanese know of cherry blossoms and their popularity in Japan, but the moss pink is a lesser known type of flower abroad whose viewing is also enjoyed in Japan.  

When I was in the States, I never paid great attention to the season of flowers. Vague recollections of roses blooming sometime during summer and cherry blossoms blooming during the rain and wind in February (at least in the San Francisco Bay Area) were all I really remembered.

In Japan, however, flower viewing is taken very seriously, and not just for cherry blossoms. This time, I did flower viewing for the lesser-known, but no less pretty, moss pink on a cool, breezy day in mid-May.

mosspink2

Moss pink, or shiba-zakura, is a flower that grows close to the ground in brilliant colors of magenta, pink, and white. The season for moss pink, which is from late April to mid-May, comes after the more well-known cherry and peach blossom season in Japan. A popular way to enjoy moss pink is to go to a pink moss festival or park and see the various designs made by arranging the moss pink by color.

mosspink1

I viewed the moss pink festival at Fuji Motosuko Resort in Yamanashi Prefecture. At the festival, there are over 80,000 blossoms. A rich array of light to dark pink, pinkish to dark purple, and white blossoms were grown in patterned fields that created a curvaceous design around a pond. Mt. Fuji was also in the background.

mosspinkfestivalsigns

There were also many food stands, a foot spa, and areas to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Afterwards, we went to a nearby restaurant called Moose Hills Burger famous for its authentic North American, jumbo-sized burgers. The taste of it was both was bitter and sweet, bitter because I haven’t tasted such an authentically awesome burger since I arrived in Japan, and sweet because, well, it was so authentically awesome.

moosehillsburger

moosehillsburgerjumbo

When we finished chowing down on the jumbo burgers (it was too jumbo so I packed half away for later consumption), we went to the Aokigahara Jukai forest where they have ice and wind caves with bats. The Ice Cave was still too cold for us so we went to the Wind Cave. (Officially, the cave is called Lake Saiko Bat Cave, but it’s usually informed referred to as the Wind Cave.)

grouppic

They gave us hard hats to wear before entering the cave, because parts of the cave were so low they didn’t want anyone bumping their heads and getting hurt. Some of the taller guys in our group had a hard time adjusting to the super low ceiling, as evidenced in this picture.

jeffreyfalling

(Note: No people were harmed in the taking of this picture.)

One of the special points of the Wind Cave is that the bottom of the cave is formed by lava from Mt. Fuji when it was still erupting in the past. You can see the pattern of lava ropes from the picture.

lavaropes--windcave

Unlike its name, there was no real wind, but it was quite cold inside the cave (it would be even colder inside the Ice Cave). There were also patches of bright green photo moss clumped around lamps lit around the cave. Serene, and quietly sublime. 

It was on that quiet and relaxed note that we trekked back to our car after our full days’ worth of adventure and went back home.

 

 

To see my earlier article on my experience in Aokigahara, please click here: http://www.yamanashi-kankou.jp/foreign/english/english107.html