Japan's Hidden Treasure
"A Little City With Lots of History!"
In the summer of 2003, I spent four weeks in Tsuyama, living with a host family, who took me to two festivals, as well as many other sites throughout the city. Compared to most of the other cities in Japan, Tsuyama is quite small, which can be a nice change of pace.
Although most tourists (and even many Japanese) have never heard of Tsuyama, it is a beautiful city with a lot of culture and historical sights. It is known as one of Japan's Little Kyotos because it of its vast history and well-preserved historical and cultural sights!
The Gongo Festival was a wonderful experience. Everyone went to the Yoshi River to celebrate. There were vendors all along, and people set out blankets to sit on and watch the fireworks. The fireworks show was interesting. Instead of shooting fireworks the entire time, they would give a fifteen minute show, then stop for about ten minutes, and then give another show. I believe they gave four or five firework displays by the time it was all over. This allowed all of us to enjoy the festivities for a longer period of time. What a great idea! Why aren't all fireworks done like this?
"Five Years Later..."
I finally returned to Japan five years later and came back to Tsuyama to visit my host family! I was invited to spend New Years with them, and part of their New Years tradition was to go with the family to see the last sunset of the year, so I went with them! This is something I'd never done before, and I felt honored to be a part of their family tradition!
In April I was also able to return to see the family and the cherry blossoms! Although Tsuyama is small, the castle ruins contain over 5,000 cherry trees, making it the best spot in the entire region to see the cherry blossoms!