Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival 2012

On May 3rd, Ryan and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary.

Check out how we celebrated:

We started Friday night with dinner at Marche.

Ryan started off with some soup, and then enjoyed a steak (sorry, not pictured).
I finally had the chance to try out the mushroom soup pot pie.  This was SO good.  It was cream of mushroom soup with a flaky crust on top.  I will definitely get this again.
We also ordered some garlic bread.  They make really yummy garlic bread.
Since it was a special occasion, I left some room to have dessert.  Well, I ate some, but I got full quickly.  It was really tasty, so it was hard to stop!
Then we went home and called it a night early on because on Saturday morning we woke up early to drive nearly 3 hours to see Hirosaki castle for the Cherry Blossom Festival.  This is the parks biggest festival and a claim to fame for the city (other than their amazing apples).
The drive wasn't bad at all, and as always, we enjoyed just spending time together in the car, singing songs and talking.  It makes the time fly by when you enjoy your company, which of course, I absolutely do!

Here are some shots from around the park and of the castle.  Unfortunately, recent major storms made things wet and blew many of the blossoms away.  I won't complain though because it was still beautiful and there was lots of yummy festival food to try.

I love that this many people rode to the park on bikes.

You can see that lots of petals were on the ground.
This festival was a lot bigger than the Chrysanthemum Festival.  There were tons, and I do mean tons, of food vendors, games and other amusements.

It's just so peaceful here, although there were a lot of people around, but I did still find something tranquil about strolling the castle grounds.

There is the castle tower in the background.

It's so beautiful!
This was taken out the window from inside the castle tower.

Here is a close up of the blossoms.

After walking around for a while, we decided to get some food.  Believe it or not, I managed to get 5 servings of fruits/veggies while at the fair.  Now, I won't lie, one was inside fried dough and the other was fried, but in the end, I ate 5-6 servings at a fair.  I am not sure how often that happens in the US.  In Japan, many vendors have foods with produce, either plain or cooked into dishes.  At this fair, I started off with a nice apple.  Hirosaki is the apple capital within Aomori, which is a leader in apple production in all of Japan.
We had no idea what these were, but it was definitely one of the most popular treats at the festival.  It was like jellied with black on the outside.  I think it may be like shiritaki (devil's tongue yam), but I really have no idea.  I am almost certain though that it is all vegetarian.
They had corn, but I didn't have any, even though it looked really good.
Here was my second serving.  Check out the fruit!  The pineapple looked great, but I went with something else.
These are little dough balls (like a funnel cake) with banana in the middle.  So good!

They even had a haunted house.
More things on sticks.  They love things on sticks here.
These are churros.  We tried a strawberry one.  I must be getting ready for my upcoming trip to Spain!
Check out this chef, hard at work (until he posed for me) making food for a long line of festival goers.
This was my third veggie.  This is a nearly picked cucumber on a stick.  Yes, on a stick!
They had tons of veggies around, but I went with the cucumber.
I came close to getting one, but I passed.  These were candied strawberries.  I love that you can see that these are made fresh.  They may be candy, but you can actually watch them make the candy syrup and pour it on the fresh strawberries.
We almost watched the motorcycle guy ride in tiny circles in this little enclosed room, but the set up was a little too wobbly for us.

It's called the Wall of Death!
Next up for veggies...yes, I am totally counting this because in Japan, this counts!  They are handmade, fresh, so I give it a little more credit than some other fried potato treats.  This is a spiraled potato chip.
Then it started to rain, so we made our way back to the car.
On the way we stopped, and this is where I got more fruit.  This time it was in the form of juice, mostly because I can't resist anything with ginger, and in apple country, I knew this juice had to be good.  Oh yes, this was SO good!
Last up, and I can't even believe I could eat any more, we spotted these bean pancakes.  the reason we tried them was because they were filled with sweetened white bean paste, where as we have only seen/tried those filled with red bean paste.  Yum!
Then it was time to head home.  On the way we found this antique store and decided to make a stop and look around.  It was mostly American antiques, and not anything really Japanese.
Overall, I would say we had a really nice anniversary celebration.  I was glad we made it to the festival because we really didn't think we would make it this year.

Just a reminder: Don't forget to enter my cookbook GIVEAWAY!

QUESTIONS:  Do you have cherry blossoms near you?  Have you ever been to a cherry blossom festival?  What is your favorite fair/festival food?


Mari said...

Hey love! Happy 3 year anniversary! it looks like you guys had a wonderful time and the food looks divine!

Ameena said...

When I visited Japan I caught the festival towards the very end. It was still quite pretty though!

I was excited for the churros in Spain but found them to be too greasy! I hope you find better ones. :)

What a Dish! said...

Happy Anniversary! And I've always wanted to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan- how beautiful! Maybe one day. Lovely pictures. I also LOVED looking at all the cool foods there! Very interesting!

Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian said...

This place looks amazing! How neat!
Happy Anniversary! 3 years..that is great!
I am loving the look of the soup..what a crust!

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