Less than two hours outside of Tokyo, Hitachi Seaside Park is one of the best places to view flowers in Japan. With seasonal gardens that sprawl across 1.9 sq km (0.3 sq mi) of land in Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki, the park is an ever-changing palette of colours all year round.
Hitachi is easily accessible by train from Tokyo or Fukushima, but since I was staying with John in Ibaraki, we went on the Joban Expressway by car.
The park has become famous for its 4.5 million baby blue eyes flowers, or nemophilia, that bloom from April to late May on Miharashi no Oka (Hill of Vantage). This period is known as the “Nemophilia Harmony”. From the top of the hill, you can see a panoramic view of the park and Pacific Ocean.
Hitachi is huge; our loop from the Chuo Gate to Miharashi no Oka and then back through the Tamogo no Mori (Forest of Eggs) flower garden took a good few hours.
The Forest of Eggs is named for its many life-sized egg sculptures. If you climb into one and look up, you can see a galaxy of stars created by tiny holes that let the light in.
Tulips and narcissus were in full bloom in the Tamago garden, complete with a replica of a Dutch windmill.
Other attractions include an exhibition of traditional Japanese countryside homes, a small amusement park with a giant flower ring ferris wheel, a BMX course, and the West Lake.