Valentines Day was over 5 weeks ago now, so this post is a little late!
Plum Blossom Festival
This year we didn’t want to do the usual flowers and chocolates thing, so we decided to just go for a nice looong walk to see an Ume Matsuri (plum blossom festival) at Hanegi Park in Setagaya. The walk took us south of Nakano; along parts of the Zenpukuji River, down a very busy motorway and into the calm neighbourhoods of Daita (near Shimokitazawa).
It was a beautiful sunny day, and really hot too! It was 20 degrees C in the middle of winter, and we were walking around in t-shirts. We made it to Umegaoka (plum hill) after around 2 hours, and walked around taking close-ups of the delicate plum blossoms. The area was pretty busy and people had their big SLR’s out. The plum blossoms definitely aren’t as popular as Sakura, but they bloom earlier and longer so it’s great to have them around.
After the matsuri we decided to have a casual walk to Shimokitazawa to get some pancakes. On the way we bumped into the cutest little cafe in a brick cottage, and we just had to eat there instead. The cafe (Tolo Bakery) sold these gorgeous Totoro-shaped cream custard puffs. It was decorated in dark wood inside, and had Studio Ghibli toys dotted around. The food and drinks were really good (especially the custard puff) and the atmosphere was quite unique. The decor was very ‘oshare‘ (fashionable).
I can’t wait to head back to Tolo for some of the delicious-looking pasta, and more custard puffs.
We also had lots of fun exploring the area south of our house, because we haven’t been around the Nakano Fujimicho area much. We found some cozy little bakeries and cafes we can’t wait to check out as the weather gets warmer.