In the warm air of the Sagami Bay area makes the rare, colander-shaped (zaru) Zaru Chrysanthemums their most beautiful in November. From December, Japan’s earliest blooming rapeseed flowers also begin opening, heading for a peak viewing time of January and February. Getting these flowers with Mount Fuji in the background will make for an excellent photo.
Adzumayama Park viewing platform, where you can enjoy rapeseed flowers even in the winter
Ninomiya is located in Kanagawa’s Shonan area. Close to places like Oiso and Odawara, if you take the Shonan-Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku you’ll arrive at Ninomiya Station in about an hour and 10 minutes.
Rapeseed flowers are usually thought of as spring flowers. Generally, it’s popular to view their blossoms in March and April, but at Adzumayama Park’s viewing platform, which is close enough to be accessible on foot, you can see them in full bloom in January and February. Surprisingly early, isn’t it? The viewing platform is located at an altitude of 136.2 meters, about 20 minutes up a mountain path and steps. You might end up breathing a little harder, but the view after that is spectacular.
The View of Mount Fuji and rapeseed flowers
After somewhat steep path up the mountain and steps, the view is waiting for your like a reward.
First, the beauty of the rapeseed flowers captures your attention, but then before your eyes, though a bit hidden by clouds, the solemn figure of majestic Mount Fuji comes into view. For Japanese, Mount Fuji is quite special, and being able to see it is always a pleasure for them.
The energizing rapeseed flowers
Even in January the sun shrines brightly, making it unexpectedly warm. Ninomiya has a warm climate, so if the weather is pleasant you might even enjoy a bento lunch box. The yellow rapeseed flowers against the blue sky is invigorating; it really feels good here.
These flowers symbolize cheerfulness and vigor. And indeed, that’s the feeling they will give you.
The seasonal flowers of Adzumayama are also beautiful
Extending before your eyes is the shimmering Sagami Harbor. It’s calm and looks like a mirror. During rapeseed flower season, daffodils also bloom beautifully. Ninomiya is warm even in the winter, so it’s a good place to enjoy rapeseed flowers a bit earlier.
Adzumayama Park is not only just rapeseed flowers, it’s also known for cherry blossoms and azaleas in the spring, hydrangeas in early summer, and cosmos flowers during the summertime.
In November, the rare Zaru Chrysanthemums bloom at Zenba House
Most of the Zaru Chrysanthemums are grown at Ashigara in Odawara, and at Ninomiya’s Zenba House there are 400 Zaru Chrysanthemums blooming on 200 square meters of land. Are you curious as to why they have shape of a colander? For me, I thought that maybe they are grown over a colander, or trimmed to be in this final shape, or all kinds of other things.
Fortunately, I just happened to run into Zenba, the owner, and proceeded to ask all kinds of things. It seems Zaru Chrysanthemums are bred to look like a colander, and so they’ll have this shape no matter who grows them. Once the flowers are finished blooming, they fall off and return to the dirt. The area then looks like a vacant lot until in the rainy days of around May or June they start sprouting and begin to grow. The best time to see them is in November, perhaps a little later or earlier depending on the year’s daylight hours. Their colors change as well, from yellow buds at first to white, then from white to a purplish red.
Although the area is Zenba’s personal residence, they told me that they want lots of people to see these beautiful Zaru Chrysanthemums. For information on the flowers’ blooming, it’s a good idea to check the Ninomiya Sightseeing Navi website.
Zenba House is marked with a signpost. From Ninomiya Station’s south exit, you can take a bus for either Kodzu or Koo, and then get off at Ogiri Sakaue. It’s a 5-minute walk. By car, take Highway 1 from Ninomiya to Odawara, make a right at the Kawawa Shrine Entrance intersection, and from there it’s about 100 meters down the road on your left. Please note that there are a limited number of parking spaces.
The warm air and beautiful flowers of Ninomiya are close to Odawara, Hakone, Atami, the Izu area, and more, so why not try fitting it into your travel schedule? Enjoy the solemn Mount Fuji and the flower gardens starting in January, and you can feel like it’s spring earlier than anywhere else.
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