Fukuyama prides itself on being the rose capital of Japan and at this time of year I can see why. There are roses planted everywhere in every shape and colour. According to the city's website, the citizens began planting hundreds of roses shortly after 80% of the city was destroyed in air raids on August 8, 1945 (two days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima). It gave the survivors something to focus on, beautified the newly destroyed city, and created an identity for the new urban landscape that was built in the following years. Now the city has planted an estimated 400,000 roses on public land and hopes to reach one million roses in the years to come.
William the rose inspector
Having a little nibble
|Lora the little rose girl|
Basically everything is rose themed here in Fukuyama. The city's mascot is a little rose girl who turns out to be named ローラ, which is my name in katakana. In addition to the roses growing just about everywhere, souvenir shops sell little rose shaped cakes, roses are painted on manhole covers
and bridges, there is a large rose garden park, and there is the annual Rose Festival and parade.
This year the Rose Festival was on the 19th and 20th of May. The boys were feeling a bit sniffly, but we still managed to head downtown on both days and take in some street performances, eat a few tidbits from the street stalls, and enjoy some of the parade.
The boys were not too interested in checking out the roses growing in the Rose Park so I was forced to walk though and admire them at high speed. There are over 280 varieties of roses planted in the park and there were four varieties that were developed in Fukuyama for some event or another.
Goldfish for sale at the Rose Festival
On my shoulders, William had the best view of the parade while tearing out my hair
I found my rose, too bad I don't really like the colour
Theo insisted on getting a mask (Kamen Rider Fourze?) and posing with it in all of his pictures. At least in this one he wasn't wearing it
We also discovered that the city holds rose grafting and pruning classes and distributes free rose seedlings in the spring and fall to any interested residents. I think I might just take advantage of that!
Dear Dustin and Laura,
I recently wrote a post about cute mascots in Japan and one of my friends had a picture taken with Rola-chan. While researching Rola-chan, I came upon your site and quoted your description of the City of Fukuyama.
I provided a back link. You can check out the post here.
I never heard about Fukuyama until today. I used to live in Los Angeles and the city of Pasadena is world famous for its Roses and Rose Parade.
I now want to visit your city. You can visit my city of Matsuyama with your family!
Thanks Ray! I really enjoyed reading your article about mascots and thanks for linking to our blog. I hope that little Rola-chan wins the kawaii competition! Let us know if you're ever in Fukuyama. We'll roll out the red carpet ;)
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