Hitachi Seaside Park (国営ひたち海浜公園 Kokuei Hitachi Kaihinkōen), located in Ibaraki Prefecture, only about 2.5 hours northeast of Tokyo, this amazing and surprisingly large flower and amusement park is something not to be missed. Depending on the time of year you decide to visit, you will get lost amidst a field of different colored tulips, try to count a million daffodils, or gaze upon the rolling hills of baby blue-eyes, with the blue sea and sky as a backdrop, or perhaps the red kochia plants are your favorite. Either way, this place will take your breath away.
Nemophila Harmony (in bloom late April – mid May)
This hidden gem is a public park, where a tea party in the middle of the trees or a couple playing Frisbee is not an unusual sight. The park offers a world of different colours in flowers. Not only that, this park plays host to several different events throughout the year, including Rock in Japan Festival in August. If you are feeling cramped in a country that has become a world leader in their efficient use of space in urban areas, then this park will be a relieving breath of fresh air, in more ways than one.
A marching band performing on the water stage during Golden Week
Entrance to the park is a steal at only 410 JPY (approx. 4 USD) per adult. The park is spread over 153 hectares, and is right by the sea, and if you feel that is just too much to cover on foot, then you can hire a bicycle for 3 hours at just 310 JPY (approx. 3 USD). There are many pleasant bicycle trails, and although the park is quite large, there are signposts at every junction, and even if you do get lost, it’s probably not a bad thing at all.
If you decide to take the kids with you, or just fancy something a little different, you can see the entire park by train for just 500 (approx. 4 USD), which will get you a day pass and a unique experience on one (or more) of their playful looking road trains.
The Seaside train
Aside from seeing flowers in bloom, there are a few quiet hidden away spots in the park. They aren’t on the front page of the website but they are quite fun to get lost in. I’m talking about the glass house, the rock garden, the sand garden, just to name a few, which are located in between the larger floral display areas, and these are just the areas that I discovered on my first visit.
The map that you will find at the entrance to the park may seem overwhelming, so I recommend just walking (or cycling) your way around the park and just losing yourself in nature. And if you are really into cycling, there is even a BMX course!
The glass house
There is also an amusement park area, known as the Pleasure Garden, with a small rollercoaster, a sideshow alley and a huge Ferris wheel, perhaps the park’s most dominant feature, which offers an amazing view of the entire park. The ride is 12 minutes and it reaches up to 100m above the ground. Tickets for these rides vary from 100 JPY - 600 JPY.
This park is quite something to behold, and you won’t want to leave when it’s closing time, but keep in mind that before you plan your trip, it is a good idea to check the weather forecast, as this is an attraction best suited to viewing amid blue skies.
The giant “Flower Ring” ferris wheel
To access the park, from Tokyo it will take about 2-2.5 hours whether you travel by train or by car. Renting a car might be a good money saving option if you have a larger group. If you prefer to take the train, rather than monotonous highway, you will be treated to scenic views of the countryside and the ocean along the Hitachinaka Seaside Railway for the last part of the journey. Once you arrive at Ajiguara station, it’s just a short 15-20 minute walk to the park.
The park is open from 9:30 until 17:00 for most of the year, closing a little later in summer, and a little earlier in winter, and with the exception of Mondays and some national holidays the park is open all year round. Check the official website for details.
All you have to do is decide on which flowers you think are the prettiest, tell everyone about it and go!
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