Following the Sakura Front 2022
Wake in the Hirafuku Michi no eki after a long drive on the Chugoku Expressway. What a wonderful road this is, broad curves winding up and down with almost no traffic. It is possible to see a long distance both ahead and behind on both carriageways and not another vehicle in sight. The only drawback is the absurd 60kph speed limit.
Hirafuku Michi no eki 道の駅平福
Hirafuku Michi no eki is a reasonable place to stay. It has a restaurant and provides an interesting walk around the old post town. There are castle remains on the hilltop across the valley, two huge paper lanterns and a pleasant river. We saw a deer on the hillside behind the Michi no eki.
On this trip we are making for Kyoto for some serious cherry blossom viewing. As Kyoto is a nightmare to drive in, we are, unusually, booked into a hotel in Hama-Otsu.
Mii-dera and Biwako Sosui 三井寺、琵琶湖疏水
After a drive over Mt.Hiei and checking into our hotel we walk to Mii-dera to view the blossoms. As these are illuminated, we set off after dark. Our route takes us along the Biwako Sosui(Canal), the Meiji era canal that flows from Lake Biwa to Kyoto.
Here too, there are illuminated cherry trees on both banks of the canal. With a crescent moon high above, a fine sight.
On reaching the temple, we join the throng of people climbing the steps to Mii-dera. The trees in full bloom with a temple backdrop and the lights of the city below are magnificent.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.