We strolled around Ikebukuro area in the morning, and to my delight, I found these cuties when visiting one of the Animate shops. Distant World's 20th anniversay Moggle and Chocobo (which were sold out last night at Final Fantasy concert's shop), a mage Chocobo, Cactuar, and Tonberry.
(now proudly on display on the shelves in my house. (▰˘◡˘▰))
After dropping my new kids in the hotel, we went to Ikebukuro station to head to our next destination - Ashikaga Flower Park - for their winter night illumination. The closest station to walk to Ashikaga Flower Park (around 10-15 minutes brisk walk) is Tomita.
Walked past the streets, then when you see this sign, you are on the right track. I just have to say - without our portable wi-fi and the google map for direction, we would had been lost >_<
Ashikaga Flower Park has a small nursery, and the general vicinity was decorated with plants & flowers.
Ashikaga Flower Park is well known for the beautifully blooming cascading Wisteria Flowers (Fuji no Hana / 藤花) during spring. However in winter, the most well known attraction here is probably the night illumination, named "Flower Fantasy", where the whole park is illuminated with various lights.
We went in around 4 p.m. when the sun was still shining. It was actually pretty interesting to see the contrast of the whole place, comparing them to night time.
A LOT of various lights, in flower shapes as well, could be seen throughout the park. Without the normal flowers blooming, daytime loooked pretty bleak...
But came nightime.....
A few more beautiful contrast of day and night...:
The famous wisteria lane & forest was probably by far the most transformed. During day time, it's just a big space of winding branches...
But during the night... . Seriously, the pictures do not do them justice. They were so pretty and magical. The night we were there was a bit windy as well, and the wind swayed these 'wisterias', creating wonderful dreamlike atmosphere.
There's a makeshift castle as well, which was pretty popular during the night. Some lights timed as fireworks as its background illuminated was as pretty awesome feature.
There's not much to do during the day. Ashikaga Flower Park is quite expansive, and we just walked leisurely waiting for dark to come and for the whole place to light up.
|pretty cool feature made from asahi beer cans - they rattle when the wind blows|
|they certainly didn't hold back on these lights!|
There's a pretty decent selection of food & refreshment in the park, and though they were not gourmet, they were cheap and highly satisfying especially during the cold windy night.
Oden is a must have during winter (JPY400) :). Miso Ramen was JPY 700, Yaki Manju was JPY250 (it's basically a skewer of grilled soft buns coated with soy sauce), and some gyoza (which I couldn't recall the price, Ithink it was about JPY 400-500)