Hitachi Seaside Park - Home to One of the Best Flower Fields in Japan
There’s a picture that you may already have come across at some point: a sea of blue flowers and rolling hills under an open blue sky. While you might think a scene this breathtaking could only be the product of some high-level CGI, this place really does exist only a stone’s throw from Tokyo! Take a trip to the Hitachi Seaside Park to take in the gorgeous nature of Ibaraki Prefecture.
Oct 06 2020 (Mar 02 2021)
An Introduction to Hitachi Seaside Park
Located just outside Hitachinaka City in Ibaraki Prefecture, about 120 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, Hitachi Seaside Park offers an escape from the bustle of urban life. The park served as an American military base until 1973, after which the land was returned to the Japanese government. Following some deliberation as to what to do with the land, the decision was made to convert it into a public park.
Hitachi Seaside Park first opened its doors to visitors in 1991, and since then has become a much-loved attraction for families, couples, and travelers seeking a stress-free escape to nature. The park is divided into six areas, each providing something a little different. We cover these areas in more detail below.
Hitachi Seaside Park Areas
Hitachi Seaside Park's West Area: Entrance and Lakeside
This is one of two main entrances into Hitachi Seaside Park, located by the western parking zone. Walking through the West Entrance will see you greeted with an expansive view of the park's lakeside area. Here you'll be able to enjoy a beverage at the Lake Side Cafe while looking out across the pond, or you can walk a short distance to see two smaller flower gardens: the Suisen (Narcissus) Garden and the Tamago no Mori (Egg Forest) Flower Garden.
On the western side of the lake, you can also rent a bike that you can use to get around the park from the Nishiguchi Cycling Center.
For those wanting to know more about the development of the park, make sure to stop by the Rekishi (History) Gallery at the north tip of the lake near the entrance to the Miharashi Area.
Hitachi Seaside Park's West Area: Miharashi Area
The iconic hills of the Miharashi Area are perhaps the most iconic feature of the park. This area is known for its rolling blue landscape of nemophila flowers in the spring and the dancing kochia bushes in the autumn.
Follow the winding path from the northern side of the Lakeside Area to reach the Miharashi Area. From there, all that's left to do is find the perfect spot to capture your own take of its iconic view.
It's not just the rolling fields of flowers that make this part of Hitachi Seaside Park a pleasure to stroll around. There's also a sunflower maze to explore before arriving at the park's kominka, one of the oldest traditional houses in eastern Japan, and an accurate recreation of an old Japanese farming village. The view of this village changes greatly with the seasons. During the autumn, you'll find it surrounded by cosmos; in the summer, sunflowers and neon-green kochia; and by a maze of canola plants during the spring.
Much like the village's surroundings, the view of Miharashi Hill also changes with the seasons. From a bright blue that matches the sky of the summer months to a deep red that embodies the feel of autumn, every visit to the Miharashi Area of Hitachi Seaside Park is sure to be different.
Hitachi Seaside Park's South Area: Entrance and Pleasure Garden
Hitachi Seaside Park's Southern Area can be accessed via the park's Soyokaze or Matsukaze bridges, or directly from the southern parking area. This area offers something for the whole family, with a small golf course, a BMX zone, and the impressive Hitachi Rose Garden, which is located here. This rose garden is considered particularly important, as the rose is the symbol of Ibaraki Prefecture.
Towering over the Pleasure Garden is a large Ferris Wheel that provides a great view of much of Hitachi Seaside Park. A ride is a must-do if you happen to be in the area around sunset! You'll find further activities for young children around the back of the Ferris Wheel, including a small waterpark and a 400m long slide.
Hitachi Seaside Park's South Area: Grassland
In the central area of Hitachi Seaside Park lies the expansive Grassland Area, a free space that can be used for play or picnics. Barbeque facilities are available here, as well as a disc-golf course and athletics track. The Grassland Area is ideal for a summer outing to enjoy a picnic and catch some rays with friends and family.
Hitachi Seaside Park's South Area: Dune Gardens
The last of the park's main areas, the Dune Area overlooks the Pacific Ocean and features several fun activities within a short walking distance from each other.
The Ceramic Arts Studio here lets visitors attempt to create their own piece of pottery, while the Herb Garden boasts an array of plants with unique fragrances to enjoy. This area is bordered by the fittingly named "Aroma Lookout" building. Walk further inwards to enjoy a traditional rock garden before making your way to the Great Sand Dune.
Hitachi Seaside Park Through the Seasons
As you'd expect, spring is naturally a peak time to visit Hitachi Seaside Park thanks to the abundance of flowers in bloom. The main draw has to be the blue nemophila covering Miharashi Hill between the months of April and May, but there are also plenty of other varieties of flowers to check out around the park. The Suisen (narcissus) Garden in the Western Area is in full bloom between March and April and covers the forest floor in a blanket of yellow. Tulip World (pictured above), on the other hand, has a whole host of vibrant colors on show!
Summer is another busy period for Hitachi Seaside Park. During the height of summer, the fields in the area near Miharashi Hill are packed with sunflowers. Thanks to some careful planting, these also form a natural maze to explore.
In summer, the park also hosts the popular Rock in Japan Festival. Over the course of 4 days, visitors can see famous Japanese acts the likes of Aimer, KANA-BOON, and SEKAI NO OWARI, to name just a few.
Towards the end of the season, the park's summer fair draws in many visitors from around Japan. Between the amazing festival food on offer, fireworks, and the Kochia bush illumination show in the warm evenings, the summer season provides plenty of reasons to visit the park!
Fall at the Hitachi Seaside Park brings with it the Kochia Carnival, held in celebration of the park's fields of charming round bushes turning their deep shade of red.
This period also sees the many varieties of cosmos flowers in the park reach full bloom. You'll be able to find several collections of these flowers around the park such as in the Miharashi area, where an array of purple cosmos are backdropped by the red kochia bushes; or the central areas, where you'll be able to take in the sight of almost 160,000 Kibana cosmos dotting the landscape. The roses in the Hitachi Rose Garden almost remain in bloom until early November, so be sure not to miss this area if you're visiting around this time.
Even in the months of winter, the park abounds with nature. Fittingly named "ice tulips" and wintersweets continue to remain in bloom until January. You'll be able to find the majority of the winter flowers in the area of the park closest to the sea, particularly around the Dune Area.
Even when these winter flowers begin to disappear for the year, there's only a short wait until the next wave of blossoms arrive as the ume (plum) trees begin to bloom towards the end of winter. This period of the year sees many young adults visit the park to drink Japanese plum wine called umeshu while sitting under canopies of blossoms.
How to Get to Hitachi Seaside Park From Tokyo
The quickest way to get to Hitachi Seaside Park from Tokyo is via a limited express train on the JR Joban line (timetable). You can catch one of these trains from Shinagawa Station, Tokyo Station, or Ueno Station and ride it about one hour and 15 minutes to Katsuta Station. From there, a local bus goes directly from the station to Hitachi Seaside Park and takes about 15 minutes. In total, the fare will cost about 4,200 yen, one-way (the route is covered by the Japan Rail Pass).
A cheaper option for those who don't have the Japan Rail Pass is to take a highway bus, which runs directly from Tokyo Station and costs 2,300 yen. These busses take about two and a half hours to get to the park and don't run as frequently as the train but are still a fairly quick way to get there.
A Great Day Outdoors
Regardless of the season, there's always something to do and see at the Hitachi Seaside Park. Thanks to good transport connections, this park makes for the perfect day trip for anyone in the Kanto region.
Should you find yourself wanting to get away from the bustle of the city, consider a trip to the Hitachi Seaside Park for a much welcome break!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.