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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gifu Plum Blossom Festival

ぎふ梅まつり

This time of year in Japan sees the first mass "flower viewing" of the calendar. The blossomings of the nation's plum trees are an early harbinger of spring and people flock in their thousands to see the colorful plum (ume) flowers in gardens, temples and parks across the nation.

Gifu city's 57th annual (plum) ume festival took place at the weekend in Bairin Park, a short bus ride or 30 minute stroll from either JR Gifu Station or Meitetsu Gifu Station.

Festival eats

There were the usual festival food stalls in evidence in the park: okonomiyaki pancakes, takoyaki octopus balls, fried potatoes, fried corn, yakisoba (fried noodles) and squid on a stick. Besides the permanently parked steam locomotive in Bairin Park other attractions to lure visitors to attend and maybe splash their cash a bit were puppet shows, chindonya, musical performances, bonzai displays and rickshaw rides.

Puppet on a string

The stalls spread throughout the surrounding streets as housewives and tradespeople set out their local delicacies and crafts for sale.

Zuiryoji Temple near Bairin Park was particularly beautiful with its large pink plum blossoms in full bloom.

Zuiryoji Temple, Gifu

Gifu Plum Blossom Festival
Bairin Park
Tel: 058 240 6530

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