Visit to Ashikaga Flower Park -3


The Ashikaga Flower Park’s two main attractions nowadays are the “Grand Wisteria Festival” in spring and the “Illumination of the Garden of Light” in winter. I was also attracted by the wisteria flowers, as I am sure most people are, and went to the park. The result of my efforts as an eternal beginner is the wisteria flower photos that I have taken so far.

However, wisteria trees are not the only trees planted in the spacious park.

For example, this magnificent azalea.

Spring roses with a preemptive blooming look

Poppies bloom with bright expressions under the feet of wisteria.

The glossy white flowers are said to be “Odemari”.

What do you think, isn’t this the face of Currents Flower Park? Even if wisteria is not the subject of my blog, it will provide me with enough material for one or two posts.

Let’s go to another one. As usual, I don’t know the name of the flower, but I wonder what this blue flower with a strong presence is.

It’s beautiful.

Now that I’ve introduced you “not wisteria”s, which are also amazing, let me conclude with a recap of this first visit to Ashikaga Flower Park.

Let me talk about the choice of equipment.

At first, I was thinking of going with a full-size Lumix S5 and some bright single focal length lenses with night photography in mind. However, after careful consideration, I realized that I might not be able to get as close or as far as I wanted if there were a lot of people around, and there would be times when I would really need a telephoto lens. A bright zoom lens is necessary, and it may be tough if it cannot cover some telephoto range. I don’t have a bright zoom lens for full size yet.

So, I ended up with the PENTAX K-3III and two star lenses, HD DA*16-50mm F2.8 and smc DA*50-135mm F2.8. I think I made the right choice.

The rest is a recap of how I traveled and how long I stayed and how I spent my time.

I hate long traffic jams by car, so I chose to travel by train. On the way there, I took the Tobu Nikko Line limited express to Tochigi Station and transferred to the JR Ryomo Line. It was the first time for me to ride the Liberty Limited Express, but it was fast, comfortable, and perfect.

I could start a long story about how “liberty” is not spelled “liberty”, but that would be a long story, so please refer to the link.

It was almost 3PM when I arrived at Ashikaga Flower Park Station, the closest station to the park, as I had planned to stay there until nighttime.

I stayed in the park for more than 5 hours. It is a large park and there are lots of things to take pictures of, so we didn’t have too much time to kill. However, it was very crowded, so my freedom to do anything other than “take pictures” was very limited.

I could pause anywhere since I was alone, but if I had two or three people with me, it would have been difficult to move around.

It was a good thing that I had a Calorie Mate in my bag, because I didn’t know if I would be able to eat if it got too crowded. I stood in line for 20 minutes to buy a bottle of water.

I think the park is spacious, clean, and comfortable for the right number of guests, but I had the impression that it was a little beyond the acceptable level. If you are prepared for that, you need to be physically and psychologically prepared.

On our way back to Tokyo, we took the JR Ryomo Line to Oyama Station and returned to Tokyo on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line.

The number of people in the park did not decrease even after 8PM, so I left a little early, fearing that I might miss the train I wanted to catch on the Ryomo Line, which runs only a few times a day.

At this point, the narrow platform was already almost standing still on top of the platform. There seemed to be some skirmishes going on a short distance away between irate passengers, so train travel is not all good and easy.

When the train arrived, it was not as crowded as I had feared, and compared to the rush hour commuter trains in Tokyo, the congestion was about 70%. Moreover, many people got off the train at Sano Station on the way to the station, and the train became empty, so from then on, the train was comfortable. My worry that I might not be able to get through the train may have been excessive.

Thanks to the early departure time, we were able to enjoy a warm meal at the Oyama Station station building.

All in all, the train ride was not a bad choice.

This is a three-part series on “First visit to Ashikaga Flower Park”.