Sunday, March 06, 2016

Taura Plum Blossom Grove

Just one stop away from us, tucked in a couple of valleys, is the small town of Taura.  We had friends who lived here in an apartment several years ago, so I knew a little bit about the town, but nothing significant.  When I started looking for things to do during our trip, a blog post about a ninja obstacle course park in the Taura Plum (Ume) Grove caught my attention.

After yet another early morning at work and then a grocery run at the commissary, I was home around 9:30.  Something to note...I'm so out of running shape right now.  The extent of my running continues to be to and from work on weekends.  I'm doing ok with other workouts....thank goodness for PiYo and 21 day fix videos.  They continue to smoke me and it's great.  I'm looking at my planned races for the rest of the year...and half marathons seem like they're going to take some work at this point.  Sigh.

Anyway, back to Taura.  This was about the easiest trip we could have made.  We had a very clear map, the route was marked with plum blossom flags and there were permanent signs installed on some of the light posts pointing the way.  Some of our friends went to the park last week and they recommended going sometime this week or early next to catch the blossoms at their peak.

The kiddo is starting to get a cold, so Joe carried him a little more than usual.  He did a fantastic job climbing the hill, though, to get up to the start of the trees.  He smoked Joe and I, plus another three kids (one from Logan's school) and two adults we happened to run into along the way.  We got up there and he was barely winded. Amazing.  The plum blossoms are very pretty...not as vibrant as cherry, so they aren't as celebrated.  Which means that there are just a dozen festivals in the Tokyo area vice two or three times that for cherries.

Logan's big motivation for doing so well with the climbing was the motivation of the ninja park.  We got to the main clearing and there were so many families out enjoying the day with a picnic.  It's awesome to see..

We found the observation tower...sadly, it was a little hazy and we didn't have the best view from up there.  On a clear day, you'd be able to see up to Tokyo.  We spied our workolace and then Logan saw the ninja park....

I've said it before, but it's worth repeating. Japan has some amazing playgrounds for kids and this was no exception.  A couple of the obstacles scared me, since they were recommended for 6-12 year olds, but Logan took his time and was awesome at all of them. 

Finally, I found the one obstacle that made this the ninja park.  My like a ninja going through here...balance, weave through ropes and walk on the logs lightly and carefully.  Who knows what it really says.  Google translate could help me, but I'm good.  And I have and no idea about the throwing star. 

Logan loved the ninja obstacle and now wants to be a ninja.  Obsessed.  I'm trying to convince Joe to go to the ninja restaurant in Tokyo.  He did a great job balancing in all the ropes, jumping from object to object.  So much fun to watch.  We tend to drag him a lot of places where there isn't a park or somewhere for I'm to just play, so I think this was a great short outing for us.

We had our picnic, played a little more (one more time of being a ninja) and then made our way back down, going a different path. Logan loved leaping down two stairs at a time like a ninja.  We came across a little tiny train and track that looks like it was used to ferry people up the mountain...a long time ago.

We came down on the other side of the valley and it was nice to see all the trees in bloom....

We found a cute little bulldog with an Ume collar...he looked thrilled. 

Cute sidewalk guards....I've also seen hello, Kitty...

Logan was spent, so it was perfect timing for us to go back to the apartment and crash for a nap....


  1. Wow! Loved this entry and all the photos. The ninja park looked awesome.

  2. Wow! Loved this entry and all the photos. The ninja park looked awesome.