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Tatebayashi Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line (connects to Hanzomon subway line in Tokyo), east side. Takes almost 90 min. from central Tokyo by regular train. Costs only about 1100 yen.
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Tanuki raccoon dog in front of Tatebayashi Station, east side.
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Tanuki raccoon dog in front of Tatebayashi Station, east side.
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Tanuki raccoon dogs in front of Tatebayashi Station.
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About Bunbuku Chagma folktale, explaining why all the tanuki in Tatebayashi. Click here for the story.
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Flower fountain in front of Tatebayashi Station.
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Flower fountain in front of Tatebayashi Station.
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Tourist information office in front of Tatebayashi Station.
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City mascot "Pon-chan" goods sold at tourist information office in front of Tatebayashi Station. "Pon" refers to the character's pot belly.
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"Pon-chan" goods sold at tourist information office in front of Tatebayashi Station.
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Sights in Jonuma area, dominated by Lake Jonuma.
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Manhole with tanuki design in Tatebayashi, Gunma.
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I visited Tatabayashi again in early May 2014 to see the azaleas at Tsutsujigaoka Park.
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Tsutsujigaoka Park is a 15-20-min. walk from Tatebayashi Station.
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It's a pleasant walk with azalea decorating the sidewalk.
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There were these flower racks too.
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Azaleas continue to lead the way to the park.
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Street corner with another tanuki. These tanuki are made in Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture.
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Tanuki in Tatebayashi, Gunma.
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Entrance to Tatebayashi City Hall is also decorated with azaleas.
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Wisteria
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Along Tsuruudagawa River were koinobori carp streamers flanked by cherry trees and azaleas.
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Koinobori and azaleas in Tatebayashi, Gunma.
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The length of most of the koinobori is shorter than usual. Unlike the giant ones at Kannamachi also in Gunma.
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The koinobori are strung from late March to mid-May. Especially spectacular when the cherries are in bloom during late March to mid-April.
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In April and May, thousands of flying carp streamers grace the Tsuruudogawa River connected to Lake Jonuma.
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View from Fureai Bridge. These carp were once registered in the Guiness Book of World Records as having the most koinobori (over 6,000).
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View from Fureai Bridge in Tatebayashi.
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Way to Obiki ferry boat
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Lake Jonuma
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Obiki ferry dock is on the left above the bridge on this map.
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Obiki ferry takes only several minutes to reach Tsutsujigaoka Park. Fare was cheap, includes admission to the park. It's also possible to walk to the park.
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Boat ride was pleasant enough.
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Relaxing ride, only me and a mother and child.
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Koinobori at a lakeside house.
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Approaching Tsutsujigaoka Park
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Boat dock for Tsutsujigaoka Park. Other boats offered cruises.
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Map of Tsutsujigaoka, a National Scenic Site. It's a low, flat hill full of azalea bushes. There is a maze of foot paths going through the azalea. 名勝
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Tsutsujigaoka Park is a lakeside park featuring this low hill almost 200 meters long and 80 meters wide.
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Even the edges are incredibly colorful. This edge had group photo stands.
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Mind-blowing just to see so many azalea along the edges. But much, much more was waiting on this hill.
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Tanuki and azalea, a good match? I prefer women and flowers. Tsutsujigaoka
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Tourist information office
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Shopping street for tourists next to Tsutsujigaoka.
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Tsutsujigaoka Park, Tatebayashi
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Rest house on Tsutsujigaoka.
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Tanuki sighting near Lake Jonuma
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A few azalea bushes had passed their peak.
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The hill also has a few azalea tunnels.
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My friend in Tatebayashi tells me, "The legend of the azalea park is that the lord of Tatebayashi, Sakakibara Yasumasa, had a mistress named Otsuji.The wife was jealous of her and gave her such a hard time that Otsuji threw herself into Lake Jonuma and died. Since her name sounded like tsutsuji, the lord planted the garden to console her soul."
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Poplar tree and azalea
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The occasional white azalea give your eyes a break from all the bright colors.
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Now this is an entrance to Tsutsuji-en, a long, slim azalea garden. I walked through this on the way back.
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I was going to overdose on azalea. Had never seen so much azalea in my life. Tsutsujigaoka Park, Tatebayashi, Gunma.
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Love red and white flowers at Tsutsujigaoka Park, Tatebayashi, Gunma.
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Edge of Tsutsuji-en Garden.
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Tatebayashi Station platform
 
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