Spring was definitely in the air!
Nearby, grassy mounds which had been planted in Japanese cherry trees, were now smothered in blossom. With my camera in hand, I made a beeline to them.
There are about 50 cities and towns in New Zealand that have a sister city somewhere around the world. The idea came from the former US President, Dwight Eisenhower. He hoped by developing positive international relationships between people it would lessen the chance of future world conflicts.
Nelson's sister city is Miyazu, which is a city in the north of Kyoto Prefecture on the main island of Honshu (Japan). Miyazu and Nelson share some similar features, such as fishing, tourism, beautiful beaches and a natural beauty. Miyazu has a long sandbar across its bay called the Amanohashidate, which is comparable to Nelson's boulder bank.
43 years ago, Nelson begun its connection with Miyazu. One of many initiatives to celebrate the relationship with Nelson's sister city was creating a serene Japanese style garden. Throughout the garden are New Zealand and Japanese plants growing beside each other, symbolising the harmonising of both cultures.
Pictured below is a magnificent 30 year old, weathered bonsai named 'Jim's Pine'.
You can't help but get a sense of peace and tranquillity as you follow the little paths branching off in different directions.
Every year in September, Miyazu Garden hosts the 'Cherry Blossom Festival' where people come to enjoy the blossoming cherry trees and celebrate the relationship that Nelson has with its sister city.
Stepping stones and wooden bridges cross reflective ponds.
Dotted about the garden are places to sit, to soak up the tranquil surroundings.
There's also grassy areas to stretch out and relax, either in the shade or sun. Some folk were enjoying a family picnic, others were lying in the sun and another person I spotted swung from a hammock hanging beneath a tree.
And the best bit of all (for us) ... it's dog friendly.