Since breakfast started at 6:30 (and knowing I would need a shower), I had to start on time and make haste.
The sun was slowly coming up over the mountains while I was running the far side of the lake (later on, when I went closer to the mountains again, the sun vanished behind them)
So, I got several times that wonderful ‘sun just peaking over the mountain tops’ visual. It was bitter cold, which was a welcome change from Sri Lanka heat running, and good thing I had packed my winter hat!
This time we boarded much fancier tour busses and our party of 4 got the back seat with 5 spots, very comfy!
They took us about 1h across the mountains to Takato Joshi Koen, a park specifically for Hanami (the watching and adoring of blossoms). And there we walked around for about 1h.
Marveling at the sakura beauty (we got still lucky, this year sakura came early and we nearly missed it!), eating some takoyaki from one of the many food stalls and visited a small museum.
And Julius was very happy to find some dogs to pet!
Back on the bus and another hour or so back over the mountain to get to the highway, and along that one we stopped at Shakado rest area and walked a bit to a tiny peach orchard right next to the Shakadoiseki Museum. So, this time we marveled at peach blossoms! And everyone took tons of pictures!
But the tour was not over yet! We had one more stop, the beautiful Erenji temple! (I heard later that this was also supposed to be a sakura stop, but that was over there already).
We hopped on our train and were shortly after back in Shinjuku, some more trains brought us to our final bowl of ramen at Bakatare (final on this trip) and then we got home to start packing.
Overall very awesome trip! Lots to see, great food and that lake was just perfect for running!
If we ever come back, I shall try to do 2 loops around that lake!