Memoirs of May: Festivals, Flowers & Food
(First posted in 2022, updated May 2023)
Flowers, festivals and food: May might just be our favorite time of year!
It was so memorable that we decided to dedicate a post to sharing our adventures this past month ^^
First, the Flowers
Sakura may be the hot topic of spring, but there are so many other things blooming this season that deserve more love!
Wisteria + Azalea @ Rojo Park (Early-Mid May)
Rojo Park is not just a local favorite for sakura, but the sweet-smelling wisteria that bloom soon after.
You will find them hanging above pink and white bushes of azalea around the park, but the local go-to spot is tucked at the corner near the Honjin Memorial Art Museum.
Since wisteria season aligns nicely with Children’s Day on 5 May, the koi nobori carp streamers right by this wisteria canopy serve as a convenient landmark! 😛
Rojo Park Wisteria Canopy
Shaga Irises @ Yusenji Copper Mine Memorial Park (Early-Mid May)
This one is a more hidden spot unknown to even many locals. @yusenjidozanato
But it is a sight worth the mini expedition!
Watching the lilac carpet of irises swaying in the gentle breeze, under the canopy of towering cedar, is really a most healing and magical experience.
Yusenji Copper Mine Memorial Park
Next, the Food
We celebrated Children’s Day on 5 May just like a kid: with lots of treats!
The traditional sweet most symbolic of Children’s Day is the oak leaf-wrapped Kashiwa Mochi.
The filling differs by store, but Koda Futaba (河田ふたば @kouda_futaba) offers a colorful selection as always! We tried their green one with yomogi (mugwort) mochi encasing red bean paste, and pink one encasing miso paste, and of course both were delicious. Koda Futaba’s mochi is always so fresh and springy!
Appetized by our first Kashiwa Mochi sampling, we couldn’t help getting another from Yukimatsu (行松旭松堂 @yukimatsu_7daime). As part of a sampler box containing other seasonal items such as the bamboo leaf-wrapped chimaki rice dumpling, and an assortment of matcha-infused treats!
Yes, May is when we get to savor the year’s first harvest of tea leaves, known as shincha (新茶).
Matcha is of course not the only green things harvested in spring. Sansai mountain vegetables are the spring delicacy eagerly awaited every year, and here in the countryside, locals simply go sansai-hunting in the forests (yes they know where all the good spots are!), or even in their own backyards 😛
We recommend joining in to pick your own greens if you get the chance, but otherwise, plenty of eateries such as our favorite old books cafe, Machiya Bunko (こまつ町家文庫 @machiyabunko), serve up sansai dishes in this period, typically fried crisp as tempura.
And of course, the Festivals
Komatsu’s biggest festival, the Otabi Festival, was finally revived after a long COVID hiatus!
While the float assembly and illumination could not take place this year due to the rain, the three festival days were still alive with parades and celebrations through every street in the city center, including the much-anticipated yatai (street food) extravaganza, with over 200 stalls covering the entire 500m stretch of the central road along Saiku-cho!
A festival that brings the whole city together, it is a precious stage for our city’s deep-rooted kabuki culture. The kabuki plays performed at this festival upon the grand hikiyama floats are not your typical all-men kabuki plays, but children’s kabuki performed by elementary school girls!
(those who weren’t able to join can still enjoy the plays on Youtube!)
Thank you to all our international friends as well, who joined us in pulling the hikiyama floats, and touring the city with our local guides! <3 (cancelled for 2023 due to the rain)
We are so grateful for the abundant nature and community spirit that abounds in Komatsu City.
Excited for many more lovely experiences this year ^^