Cherry Blossoms in the Middle of Three Rivers

As part of the process of renewing my visa to stay in Japan, I had to make an unplanned trip to Hirakata City Hall (about an hour's drive south) to pick up a copy of Fumie's koseki (family registry). On the way back, I came across the Yodogawa Kasen Koen, the Yodogawa River “Rivers Park” in Yawata City (Kyoto Prefecture), a mile-long raised berm in the middle of where three rivers join to create the Yodogawa River (which empties into Osaka Bay twenty miles later, a good mile in width by that point).

The park — the mile-long raised berm — is lined with hundreds of cherry trees along its entire length, making it a most pleasant place for a stroll.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Yodogawa River “Rivers Park”

Photographically speaking, it wasn't a great day (it was exceptionally hazy, and the blossoms were just getting started), but it was short-sleeves warm, people were polite and relatively few, the air was not filled with alcohol, smoke, and drunken obnoxious laughter, there was no garbage, and overall, it was generally just really pleasant.

(Viewing the map link under any picture, you'll see the satellite photo of where it was taken, but you won't see the path on the raised berm because it's completely obscured by the trees.)

North Bank of the Berm -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl,
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/100 sec, f/9, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
North Bank of the Berm

The north bank was pretty much as you see it above. It went like that for most of the mile.

On the south bank, people enjoyed hanami (cherry-blossom-viewing picnics)

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 17mm — 1/160 sec, f/11, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Hanami on the South Bank

In some of the shots above it might seem as if the blossoms are filling out, but they're just getting going, as the branch in the next picture is typical of the current status of these trees.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 38mm — 1/640 sec, f/8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
One out of 18 (so far)

These trees were transplanted here from Tokyo, sometime during the Edo period (from 1603 to about 1867), so they're at least 150 years old, and perhaps much older.

Hanami -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl,
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/160 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos

When I first ventured down the path, I had no idea what it was nor how long it was. One of the first things I found was a semi-permanent toilet and some unsightly signs nestled under the blossoms.

Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 23mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos

When this was the first thing I saw, I rolled my eyes, thinking that it was going to be a typically ugly cherry-blossom-viewing scene, filled with smoke, garbage, gaudy stands selling crap, and lots and lots of loud, drunk people. To my great surprise and greater appreciation, it turned out to be wonderful and, well, really pleasant.

All 5 comments so far, oldest first...

“The park — the mile-long raised berm ”

Nice useage of one of the “Word Power” words!

Hah, thanks. I’d never use some of those words, but “berm” was common when I was growing up in Ohio, particularly as a synonym for a road’s shoulder. “Proboscis,” on the other hand, I can’t imagine ever remembering, much less using, unless I wanted to forge a new genre of music: medical rap 🙂 —Jeffrey

— comment by Marius Moore on April 3rd, 2007 at 3:18am JST (17 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Hi again Jeffrey,

Fantastic pictures from the Yodogawa berm

One thing though, the name of the park is probably something like “Yodogawa Kasen Koen” and not “Yodogawa Kasei Koen” because the reading for ”河川” is “kasen” and not “kasei.”

Yodogawa River and Park official website: (Japanese only)

By the way, we’ve got some beautiful blossom scenes along the numerous canals here in Koto-ku, Tokyo, Most notably the traditional Monzen Naka-cho area of Fukagawa.


Thanks for your continued copyedit work, Andy :-). This one was just a typo (I had it correct in the img ALT tags), but must admit that I had to look it up. It boggles my mind that I could have gone this long without knowing the on-yomi for 川 is SEN. Thanks, also, for the park’s website!

It’s nice to hear that you have beautiful blossom scenes…. but I’d much rather see them. Do you put up your own photo? If so, please send a link! —Jeffrey

— comment by Andy on April 3rd, 2007 at 8:05am JST (17 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Yesterday’s haziness was actually the invasion of the windborne Chinese yellow sand, Kosa.

Hmm, perhaps that could explain why it was so much worse down there, than in Kyoto… maybe the mountains “protected” Kyoto? I’ve seen the sand blowing over from China before, and it put a rainbow around the sun, but I didn’t notice that yesterday. Maybe it was just too thick down there… —Jeffrey

— comment by Nils on April 3rd, 2007 at 11:34am JST (17 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Sorry, I only have a private ssl/password protected directory of photos on an apache server that my folks and sibs have access to.

Anyway, after enjoying your fabulous stuff, I’d be ashamed to web-publish something even resembling a digital photograph.

About the om-yomi for “kawa” (川 -> せん), besides “river” (河川 -> かせん) I can think of only two other Japanese kanji compounds that are worth remembering.

1) 川柳(せんりゅう): humorous haiku
2) 四川(しせん): Sichuan as in the province in China and popular type of Chinese cooking in Japan (四川料理 -> しせんりょうり)

— comment by Andy on April 3rd, 2007 at 4:32pm JST (17 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Awesome,,i really wanted to be in Japan but when i saw you photos it feels like you brought me in japan^^ so beautiful and im very thankful to this blog of yours..i really appreciate it.thank you for sharing your experiences,now im fully aim to go there for real because from what i saw to this blog 🙂 🙂

— comment by Jayanne on October 31st, 2012 at 11:18am JST (11 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink
Leave a comment...

All comments are invisible to others until Jeffrey approves them.

Please mention what part of the world you're writing from, if you don't mind. It's always interesting to see where people are visiting from.

IMPORTANT:I'm mostly retired, so I don't check comments often anymore, sorry.

You can use basic HTML; be sure to close tags properly.

Subscribe without commenting