Nihonmatsu (nihon=Japan / Matsu=Pine), so Japan Pines, or pines of Japan. Tucked away in Fukushima prefecture , the city itself used to be a town, until it was upgraded to a city back in 1958. But even with its current status, it still holds on to its old charms as a boring little city/town replete with castles and historical monuments. Two castles to note are Obama Caste and Nihonmatsu Castle, which happen to be in Japan’s top 100 best castles category.
The guards of the castle once upon a time were boys as young as 12 and 13, in fact there are many tragic tales of children who fought for their lord, even unto death through ritual suicide, or ritual disembowelment.
It is their legacy that lives on in the hearts and minds of the locals here. The picture above are figures of the Boy's Squad on the Odanguchi Battle Field, the bloodiest battlefield of the Boshin War, and that of a mother who is making the battle cloth of her child.
And then, there are the beautiful things that are worth defending.
And even then, there is Hanamiyama Park on the other side of Nihonmatsu with its bounty of flora and fauna.
The tulips. Oohh…you bulbous spring flower you…
Making everybody happy she does, with her vibrant pedals.
Then a natural collage of spring and autumn, which never went away for some reason.
Deeper they went
This was no overnight accomplishment. There was a lot of hard work and hands that went in to creating this mountain park.
What a pleasant afternoon I had here.
This concludes the first segment of Nihonmatsu.