Amazing displays of chrysanthemum bushes bent and formed into fantastic displays of flowers can be seen through Nov. 23 at the Kasama Chrysanthemum Festival. This year's display features 15 scenes from the Edo period, done up something like the floats of the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California - except these aren't on wheels or nearly as big, of course. And whereas the Rose Parade floats consist of flower petals, seeds, etc. pasted on, these flower covered scenes are accomplished with the flowers still intact on the bushes! In addition to these scenes, there are plenty of other beautiful displays of chrysanthemums, with judges awarding prizes for the best, biggest and most beautiful ones.
Kasama is located about an hour's drive north of Tsukuba and is well worth the trip anytime of the year. Famous for its pottery, you can enjoy the pottery theme park just to the east of Kasama while you are there. The best way to go by car is to go over the mountain ridge to Yasato, along what is called the "Fruit Line" Road, running along the east side of the ridge of mountains just north of Mount Tsukuba. You'll come to another mountain pass to go over on what has now become route 42, which drops down into Kasama. That road deadends just after crossing the railroad tracks just to the east of Kasama Station. Turn right and go a few hundred meters to the end of that road. Turning to the right and proceeding east for a kilometer or so will bring you to the "Geijutsu no Mori" Pottery Park (on the left), while turning to the left and proceeding north for about 1km will take you to the park (on the right) where the chrysanthemums are.
If going to Kasama is a bit far, you can find interesting displays at several places in the Tsukuba area. The Mt. Tsukuba Shrine has always had some very nice chrysanthemum displays during November, and in past years, local flower enthusiasts have shown their works of floral art at Matsumi Park, near the city hall in Yatabe and other such locations.
The International Women's Network (IWN) is a group of women who enjoy chatting with people from all over the world. We hold a monthly potluck dinner where we exchange information about the local community while eating a variety of foods. No reservation is needed to attend the potluck. Just bring one dish of food and show up at the meeting. Newcomers are always welcome! Take advantage of this unique opportunity to enjoy the international city of Tsukuba with us!
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