The "Botan" (Peony Flower) Garden in Kukizaki is normally not a place you would think of going to in January. It's big even is early May, when the "botan" (peony) flowers it specializes in are in glorious bloom. It's 430 varieties on 50,000 m2 is the largest in Japan.
While the winter flowers aren't nearly as numerous as their spring cousins, they have about 30 varieties on display during the festival time from Jan. 12 to Feb. 11. The entrance fee is a bit steep at 500 yen (200 yen for grade school kids and under), but it does include some hot sake to warm you up on a cold winter day.
To get there, proceed down Science Odori towards the Yatabe Interchange, and turn left at the light just before Science Odori crosses over the expressway. There is a gas station on the left-hand corner. Proceed down this road over the expressway and straight on for about 2.2 km. (If you come to a fork in the road, you have gone a little too far). Turn right (signs on both sides of the road). The peony gardens are located a couple hundred meters ahead next to a cemetery.
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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