One of the Japanese teachers in my Wednesday class enjoys hiking, and he told me yesterday that now it is the peak season for autumn leaves in Fukushima City. Today I went to a park that is really close to my house.
This park is called Shinhama Park. Shin means “New” and Hama means “Beach” so New Beach Park if literally translated….but that doesn’t make sense to me at all!
It’s a wonderful park and I spent a lot of time here when my son was young. It is well-maintained…the building with the green roof is the administration building and during the day there is always somebody there working.
In my Haruka trilogy (the books I have written, but not yet published), this is the park they visit. Those are the restrooms. Of course, the restrooms are always open to the public….but immediately after the earthquake there was no running water, so they would have been closed and locked up. If you look hard, you can see a caretaker raking leaves.
I left Shinhama Park on my bicycle and headed down the street to Momiji Park. It’s about seven minutes away by bike.
Momiji Park is right next to the Kencho Building for Fukushima Prefecture. (The Fukushima Prefectural Building which administrates the prefecture.) This used to be the site of a castle, but the castle no longer exists.
Here we are at Momiji Park. Momiji means “maple leaves” or “autumn leaves” so you can see why I wanted to visit this park in November.
It is a very different style than Shinhama Park. It’s a traditional Japanese park, whereas Shinhama Park is a modern park for children to play.
A map of the area. Shinhama at the bottom. Momiji at the top. On the right is Fukushima City’s main train station.