So today, I traveled to Fujieda City (藤枝市) in Shizuoka for the Fuji Matsuri (藤松い), or Wisteria Festival. I have a lot of photos to share, so forgive me for this post being photo-heavy! Fujieda City, which literally means “city of wisteria branches” has been holding this festival for 29 years at Rengeji Park Pond (蓮花寺池公園). Today was the first day of the festival, and it will run through Golden Week until May 5th. It’s very easy to access from Fujieda Station. Just hop onto bus #2, which runs very 20 minutes, and get off at Rengeji-ike-koen-iriguchi (蓮花寺池公園入口).
The pond is not that big, so it only takes about 30 minutes to walk around. It’s a very clean park, with some family-friendly activities such as swan boats and playgrounds for children. During the festival, there are a number of booths set up selling snacks and souvenirs. There is also a rest house on-site which serves cheap ramen, udon, and soba dishes. All the dishes were under 500-yen.
We spent about two hours at the festival, taking our time to eat lunch and walk leisurely around the lake twice to enjoy the food and flowers. As you can see, the wisteria flowers are coming into full bloom, and some other flowers are in full bloom as well. So, we were able to enjoy flowers in a range of color from purple to pink.
What I was most excited about was a special flavor of wisteria soft cream. I heard about it last year, and was also advised to come to the festival early because there is only a limited amount of ice cream available and it sells out quickly! There were two ways to enjoy the ice cream: in a cone, or in monaka. Monaka is basically an ice-cream wafer sandwich, which is very popular in Japan. Both sell for 150-yen. On our first walk around the pond, we each bought a cone to enjoy. Then on our second time around, we bought the monaka. ^-^ The ice cream tastes so good!! It was impossible to resist getting seconds. It’s hard to describe the flavor of wisteria. The flavor is strong, yet creamy. I think I may even like wisteria better than sakura flavor. It’s a shame that it’s only available for a limited time at these kind of festivals! Otherwise, I’d keep a stock in my freezer and eat it everyday… ^^;;;
In addition to the soft cream, we also found some other unique festival foods. For example, an Austrian Bakery vendor which specializes in cakes and cookies. We picked up a small bag of these cookies for 280-yen. And also, cheese dogs for 300-yen! Basically, fried cheese on a stick, similar to a corn dog. I know it’s not really that healthy, but I couldn’t resist!