In Japan, it seems almost as if every season and occasion has a special festival dedicated to celebrating it. It is, to me, an amazing way to cultivate community spirit, and to mark the seasons as they pass each year. Naturally, spring is the time for flower festivals of all kinds. You probably have already heard of the Sakura flower festivals, which are famous worldwide, but let me introduce you to yet another beautiful pink flower festival, the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, where you can witness spring transform the landscape into an incredible pink lawn!
If the beauty of Sakura (Cherry Blossom) is in its delicate pale pink petals gently falling from the tree, the Shibazakura (Phlox Moss) is most often a striking, vibrant shade of pink, although other colours and varieties exist. It is a creeper plant, and grows densely to cover the entire ground, blanketing it in a sea of pink. If you have ever only seen green grassy lawns, this is a very special sight indeed. The festival grounds are carefully tended all year-round to ensure that the flowers bloom at the right time each spring. They want to be ready to roll out the pink carpet to the many visitors who come from all over Japan and the rest of the world!
The Fuji Shibazakura Festival is held from mid-April- May each year, but exact festival dates depend on flower blooming conditions. The official website has a live camera viewing of the festival site, so visitors can check on flower conditions before making a trip there. There is an entrance fee to enter the festival grounds, which covers access to the flower fields, as well as the Mt Fuji Delicious Food Festival located within. The most popular activity is without a doubt, photo taking of course. On a clear day with blue skies above, you can make your photographs even more incredible with the fields of pink against a backdrop of Mt. Fuji. Postcard-perfect!
Alas, there is one thing you cannot do- picnicking on the pretty pink lawn is not allowed, for obvious reasons! What you can do though is to head to the food festival, which is a nice way to enjoy the view and the special dishes available. Besides pretty cakes and sweets, they also sell regional specialties like Fujinomiya's Yakisoba and Yoshida Udon. The line-up changes each year, so do look out for it on the official website. You can also purchase special souvenirs and snacks to take home to your loved ones, with a good selection from the well-loved Fujiyama cookies to Shingen mochi, Sakura Mochi, pudding, cake, and tea.
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