Ajisai Festival at Kibitsu Shrine, Okayama City

Ajisai Festival at Kibitsu Shrine: Blue ajisai road 1

It’s Mrs. Wada again, on duty. How’s everybody doing? It’s currently rainy season in Japan. If you like flowers and you are in Japan in this season, it is a good time to check out Ajisai flower festivals.

Are you familiar with Ajisai? In English, it is called Hydrangea. It looks like this.

Kibitsu Shrine Ajisai Festival: Blue

When I hear the word “Ajisai”, the first place to come up to my mind is Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture. I’ve seen it many times being featured on TV. (Kamakura is the place where you can find the giant Buddha statue.)

Well, Kamakura is way too far from where I live now. So I searched for places within Okayama where there are a lot of ajisai flowers. I found two places, one is in Kurashiki City and another one is in Kibitsu Shrine within Okayama City. Although the one in Kurashiki City boasts for its 30,000 ajisai trees (shrubs?), compared to the one in Kibitsu Shrine which has around 1,300~1,500 trees, I decided to go to Kibitsu Shrine this time because it’s the closest one and the same direction towards our next destination which I introduced below.

Breathtaking View of Japanese Fireflies – The Wadas On Duty

Kibitsu Shrine in Okayama City

I went there by car, but you can also get there by train. It’s 14-minute train travel from Okayama Station and around 10 minutes of walk from Kibitsu Station towards the shrine.

As you enter the road towards the shrine, you’ll see a huge parking area. There is a shortcut to go directly to where the ajisai flowers are located. But since we are already here, let’s enter from the main entrance and check out Kibitsu Shrine.

Kibitsu Shrine, Okayama City: Main Entrance (Full shot)
Main Entrance

There are two stairways and a huge red gate in between to pass before reaching the main building of the shrine. As we arrived on top, we went on left side to explore more of the shrine where you can see a good view of the main building. (The right side of the praying area leads to the corridor where Ajisai Festival is being held.)

More Photos inside Kibitsu Shrine:

Let’s go and check the Ajisai Festival!

Now, let’s walk down through the 360-meter long corridor.

Kibitsu Shrine, Okayama City: 360-m corridor

Kibitsu Shrine, Okayama: 360-meter corrigidor
I particularly like this spot.

Right in the middle of the corridor, you’ll see a torii  (a traditional Japanese gate) and behind the torii is another long stairway. You can check the flowers as you go up. This area is all covered with ajisai flowers. Now let’s go!

Ajisai Festival at Kibitsu Shrine: Starting point

We took time taking photos, checking each flower in different colors. It always amazes me to see this kind of place, were people can just come over and enjoy the scenery, for free!

Different colors of Ajisai:

At the end of the stairway is a small shrine called Iwayama-no-miya. There are benches also where you can take a break.

Kibitsu Shrine, Okayama City: Iwayama-no-miya (Hokora)
Iwayama-no-miya (a small shrine)

From there you can explore more of the surrounding, tracing the narrow pathways like a maze. There are more blue ajisai flowers.

Kibitsu Shrine Ajisai Festival: Blue Road

The number of ajisai trees in Kibitsu Shrine might not be that many compared to other locations but this place is quite compact, so you don’t have to walk that much to check the entire area.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. When you get the chance, check the Ajisai Festival in Kibitsu Shrine or maybe there is one nearby your place for a relaxing weekend.

Kibitsu Shrine Information

Hours:
08:30 – 16:30 (Weekdays)
08:00 – 17:00 (Weekends and Holidays)

Website: http://kibitujinja.com/
Area Map: http://kibitujinja.com/map/

Directions

Address: 931 Kibitsu Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama-ken 701-1341
Nearest station: JR Kibitsu Station (Kibi Line)
By car: about 25 minutes
By train and walking: about 30 minutes

 

 

You may want to check these out as well!
Bike Trail at Kibi Plain
Strawberry Picking in Okayama
Hokubo, Maniwa City: Breathtaking View of Japanese Fireflies
Hinase Oyster Festival
Okayama Kyobashi Morning Market

Children’s Books in Japan

nezumi

Hi there. It’s Mr. Wada on duty. After my last entry about Super Heroes, I’ve been thinking how I spent my childhood and thought of children’s books in Japan? I remember I used to go to the library to get some children’s books in summer. Let’s dig my memories up a little deeper.
Japanese Super Heroes – The Wadas On Duty

 

Children’s books I read in my childhood

As I’ve searched popular children’s books, I figured I didn’t read much compared to other kids. And it wasn’t all Japanese authors, though some are. Here are some books I remember.

Barbapapa

First published in the 1970s, written by an American and a French writer. It was also animated for TV (that I’ve watched). I had some books of this series at home.

children's books in japan Barbapapa

 

I still see them at the bank.
children's books in japan barbapapa_02

Where’s Wally?

Published in 1987 written by a British writer, known as ‘Where’s Waldo?’ in North America.
children's books in japan wally

(Photo credit:Si1very)

I would count this as a children’s book (isn’t it?) even though it doesn’t seem to have a story itself. I used to read it with friends. Open a page and compete who would find Wally first (a page is filled with characters and stuff so it’s hard to find him!)

children's books in japan wally_02

(Photo credit:obbe Haegeman)

It’s also available for smart devices now. hehe. Fun.

The Giant Turnip

It is originally one of the stories in a Russian folktale book published in 1863. Its story is that a grandpa plants a Turnip and it grows gigantic! So he tries to pull it off, but he can’t. He asks his wife to hold his back and pull. They fail, so she calls her grandchild in to hold her and pull, but they still can’t. The grandchild has a dog hold him, and the dog calls a cat to do the same, the cat calls a mouse in also…. Each character joins in each page and grand finale in the last page! Quite entertaining.

children's books in japan Turnip

from Wikipedia

Alright, lemme introduce some Japanese books now.

Nontan

First published in 1976. I read the books and used to watch its cartoon on TV. It was pretty much of about his fun life, I think. It was like Hello Kitty for me. He was an idol character in my childhood.

children's books in japan nontan

(Photo credit: Tatsuo Yamashita)

Little Mouse’s Red Vest

Published in 1974.

children's books in japan nezumi

Drawn by Mr.Wada

One of episodes that I know of is this mouse gets a nice vest. He hangs out for showing it off to his friends. In each page his friend asks him if it’s OK to try it out. Though some guys are obviously way bigger than he is (but he can’t say no!). In the last part, an elephant friend tries the vest and…..please check the book for the ending (hehe).

Extra (3D flip books)

It’s actually a flip book published a few years ago and has been popular for gifts. To be exact it’s not a children’s book but I thought it would be worth sharing. You should take a look at this video. Amazing.

 

Lastly

What do you think of children’s books in japan ? Children’s books don’t change much, I suppose. Kids today still read the same books we read. And even grown-ups read them again. They say that there are still lots to learn from these books. hmm. I don’t mind checking them out sometime.

Like I said first, I didn’t read many books in childhood. I’d be nice if you could tell me what children’s books you grew up with. See you around!