Japan’s Wisteria Tunnels Are Some of the Most Magical Places on Earth

The Kawachi Wisteria Garden in Fukuoka, Japan
The Kawachi Wisteria Garden in Fukuoka, Japan
iStock.com/Biscut

Japan’s cherry blossoms tend to steal the spotlight, but its wisteria vines are no less enchanting. As Travel + Leisure points out, there are a number of magical places around the country to see these flowering plants in all their glory.

Contrary to popular belief, not all wisteria plants are purple. Different varieties display different colors, which may include pale blue, pink, white, and yellow petals. Some of these hues are on display at Japan’s Ashikaga Flower Park, which has a wisteria ceiling that visitors can walk beneath. It’s home to more than 350 wisteria trees, as well as the oldest known wisteria plant in Japan (it's more than 140 years old).

Located north of Tokyo in Tochigi Prefecture, the park is open year-round, but the wisteria begin to bloom from mid-April to mid-May, depending on the variety. In some cases, the fuji season (as it’s known in Japanese) may coincide with the blooming of the sakura (cherry blossoms). A wisteria festival runs from April 13 to May 19, but if you can’t make it to Japan, you can check out the website to see what the garden looks like.

Traveling south, the Kawachi Wisteria Garden in Kitakyushu—the northermost city of Kyushu Island—is another must-see wisteria destination. The garden’s two 330-foot wisteria tunnels boast 22 different varieties of the plant.

Other popular wisteria destinations throughout Japan include Tennogawa Park in Tsushima, Shirai Omachi Fuji Park in Asago, Tokyo’s Kameido Tenjin Shrine, Byodoin Temple in Kyoto Prefecture, and Koenji Temple in Ichikawa. The Kamitoba Sewage Treatment Plant in Kyoto is also an unexpectedly pleasant place to view the flowering trees.

Check out some of the stunning wisteria photos below for some travel inspiration.

A wisteria garden
The Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture
Raymond Ling, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A wisteria garden
Koenji temple in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture
t.kunikuni, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

A wisteria tunnel
The Kawachi Wisteria Garden in Fukuoka, Japan
inazakira, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

A park with wisteria in bloom
Senkoji Park in Hiroshima
iStock.com/Navapon_Plodprong

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Here's How You Can Help Rebuild Paris's Notre-Dame Cathedral

 Kitwood, Getty Images
Kitwood, Getty Images

A fire at Paris’s famed Notre-Dame Cathedral raged for nine hours on Monday, drawing the world’s attention to the partial destruction of one of the best-known cultural monuments on the planet. The efforts of more than 400 firefighters managed to preserve much of the 859-year-old structure, but the roof and spire were destroyed.

Financial support for the building has already come pouring in, with billionaire François-Henri Pinault pledging $113 million toward reconstruction and another billionaire, Bernard Arnault, promising $226 million. A total of roughly $1 billion has come in from donations, but a revitalized Notre-Dame is a considerable expense that could cost even more.

For people who would like to assist, donations are being accepted by the nonprofit French Heritage Society for virtually any amount.

Why will expenses run so high? Prior to the fire, Notre-Dame was in dire need of extensive restoration. Buttresses caused instability to major walls, gargoyles were damaged, and cracks had formed in the now-destroyed spire. The cathedral is owned by the French government, which allots roughly 2 million euros (or about $2.26 million) annually to upkeep. Between the existing wear and the fire, it could take years or possibly decades for the work to be completed.

The publicity surrounding Notre-Dame has also motivated people to assist in rebuilding efforts on a smaller scale, and closer to home. Three churches in Louisiana that were recently targeted in allegedly racist arson attacks saw donations climb from $150,000 to over $1 million following the Notre-Dame fire. You can donate to that GoFundMe campaign here.

[h/t CNN]

The Isle of Sark Needs a New Dairy Farmer, But You'll Have to Bring Your Own Cows

Philipp Guelland/Getty Images
Philipp Guelland/Getty Images

If you've ever dreamed of moving to a secluded island to become a farmer, the Isle of Sark is giving you the opportunity. Sark, located in England's Channel Islands, is seeking a dairy farmer to supply milk to the island's population of 500. The only catch is that job candidates must be ready to move there with their own herd of 25 to 35 cows, Atlas Obscura reports.

Sark is a 3-mile long, mile-and-a-half wide island with green pastures, rocky cliffs, and no cars or street lamps. The only way to get there is by boat or one of the ferries that leaves from the nearby Jersey and Guernsey islands.

The last time the island had a dairy farmer was 2017. That year, farmer Christopher Nightingale shut down his business due to issues with costs and land instability. The Isle of Sark held onto feudalism long after the rest of Europe abandoned it, and though the practice technically ended in 2008, it hasn't died completely. Sometimes this works to the community's advantage, like when Nazis invaded in 1940, but it also means that farmers must lease their land for short periods rather than own it.

If you're willing to trade your right to own property for idyllic island living, Sark's dairy farmer gig maybe the perfect fit for you. The island is looking for someone, or a couple, with lots of dairy farming experience, and a herd of Jersey or Guernsey cows, which are native to the Channel Islands. You can reach out to Caragh Couldridge at info@caraghchocolates.com for information on how to apply.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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