Last week, I took part in Hakuba’s premier green season event: “Hana San-Mi”. There are 11 areas in the village, from flower-lined streams in town to alpine flowers at 2000-meters, reachable by a special shuttle bus and/or ski lifts that operate in the summer. Our group got to see 2 of the areas. The “Seseragi-no-Sato” is in town. It’s a little rock-lined stream with quaint bridges over it and flower pots all over and bushes and bushes of brilliantly blooming hydrangeas. The scene just begs to be photographed.
After that, we moved to the Iwateke area and rode the lift to the Iwatake Lily Garden. 500,000 lilies are planted around the 1289-meter peak. The colorful flowers with the Hakuba Valley below and the massive Hakuba peaks above makes for a dynamic scene. The day we were there it was cloudy — on a clear day the view must be even more impressive. This summer, there have been an unusually few amount of clear days. That also means fewer tourists, so you can have the nature to yourself.
For lunch, we stopped at Shouya Maruhachi, a feudal merchant’s house that has recently been renovated to bring back its original Edo-era glory. It is located along the Seseragi-no-Sato. I was really pleased to get to see the residence, because when Shouya Maruhachi’s brochure was made last winter, I was the one tapped to write the English. It was great to see it in person. I realized, though, that my words didn’t do justice to the workmanship that went into the residence. If you get a chance, check it out.