The first stop for our hanami trip is Wakayama. To be exact, we visited only Northern Wakayama. We do not have time to cover the southern part as we decided to visit Tama-chan, the cat stationmaster at Kishi Station.
We began our day-trip to Wakayama Castle in the city. It is at the entrance where we saw the first Sakura tree in full bloom. We were in awe of the sight and spent some time taking photos. However, we soon realised that the tree is the only one in full bloom, the rest are still budding.
The castle is a small castle as compared to Osaka castle. However, there are still some interesting display of old warrior amour and weapons, and scripts.
Next, we took a cute looking cat themed train from the Wakayama Electric Railway along Kishikawa line to Kishi station to look for the cat stationmaster, Tama-chan. When we reached the station, Tama-chan was sleeping. We were so disappointed but decided to hang around the station as there were some time before the next train arrived. Luckily for us, Tama-chan woke up before the train came and all the tourists, including ourselves took pictures excitedly.
One word of advice though, unless you are a big fan of cats, else I think your precious travelling time can be spent somewhere else. :p
We then took the train back to the city and transferred to a bus to go to Kimii-dera Temple. The temple is famous for early-flowering cherry blossoms, so we hoped to catch full blossom. However, it was too early, we only managed to catch a few trees blossoming. Nevertheless, we were happily capturing the sights with our camera.
A tip for those who are interested in visiting the temple: Please wear comfortable shoes as you will be climbing 231 steps to reach the temple! Although it seems daunting, but believe me, you’ll find that you reach the top without realising it if you focus on taking photos and looking at the sceneries along the steps. 🙂
After a tiring day, we visited the Spa Kishu Kuroshio Onsen (黒潮温泉) and dip in the hotspring water to wash off the tiredness. The large public bath allows you to enjoy the scenic views of Wakanoura. This, together with the open-air bath (Rotemburo) with its fresh sea breeze, are popular. After the dip, we took a bus back to the JR Wakayama station and had our dinner there. We had ramen and sanma-zushi – rice ball topped with Pacific saury that has been preserved in salt, one of the famous local cuisines in Wakayama Prefecture.