Recently, I had the opportunity to visit two flower festivals located near the base of Mount Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture. My first destination was the Shibazakura Festival located at the Fuji Lake Motosu Resort. Next, I made my way to the Tulip Festival inside of Grinpa Amusement Park in Susono, Japan. Each festival had a variety of beautiful flowers to enjoy and great views of Mount Fuji. Both festivals run through the end of the month, so be sure to plan your trip soon!
Fuji Shibazakura Festival
Shibazakura, or moss phlox, are flowers that cover the ground as if they are moss and look similar in appearance to cherry blossoms. At the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, you can see over 800,000 shibazakura in a various shades of pinks, reds, and white. There are six different varieties of shibazakura located on site, and this is by far the best location to view shibazakura.
The festival grounds provide an amazing view of Mount Fuji along with the contrasting bright colors of the beautiful shibazakura. Unfortunately, during my visit to the festival, Mount Fuji was difficult to see because a typhoon was approaching later that evening. I was able to get a few glimpses of Mount Fuji when clouds passed, and I included some of the photos here. On clear days, visitors can view the breathtaking scenery with Mount Fuji visible in the short distance. When I arrived at the festival, I picked up an English guide that displayed a map of the festival grounds. The map shows visitors locations at the festival where the best places are to take photos of the shibazakura along with great views of Mount Fuji in the background. My favorite location was a mini Mount Fuji made out of shibazakura.
Another other great spot was the panorama plaza where visitors can go up an elevated deck to view and take photos of the entire festival grounds. There is also a panorama footbath where visitors can relax by soaking their feet in a footbath while having a great view of the shibazakura and Mount Fuji (cost ¥100).
While traveling to the Shibazakura Festival, you’ll probably work up an appetite. Another great attraction is the Mt. Fuji Gourmet food area that has a variety of shops selling delicious foods from the Mount Fuji area. While I was at the festival, I made sure to fill up on some of the delicious meal options here. You can check out the Shibazakura website for more information on what types of food you can purchase. There is also a panorama café that has various pastries and desserts you can enjoy while looking over the gorgeous landscape.
The festival also has photo services so that visitors can take a photo home with them to remember their experience (fee). Visitors can also try the all-you-can-fill tea picking service (fee). Free Wifi is available at various locations in the park. There are a few souvenir shops where you can purchase gifts for family, friends, and even yourself. I picked up sakura leaf rice cakes, which were the perfect gift. Souvenirs available included key chains, sweets, post cards, wine, and more.
April 18th to May 31, 2015
8:00am to 5:00pm, 7 days a week
Website (English): http://www.shibazakura.jp/eng
The cost to enter the park is ¥520 for adults and ¥210 for children. If driving, there are additional fees for parking. To get to the Shibazakura Festival site, there are many options from central Tokyo. During the time period of the festival, there is a special direct bus. The Chuo Highway bus will take visitors to and from Shinjuku station to the festival site. For more information on this bus service and other travel options, please go to the official Shibazakura Festival website here: http://www.shibazakura.jp/eng/access/
Tulip Festival – Grinpa Amusement Park
Copyright Fuji Shibazakura Festival OfficeThe second destination that I visited was Grinpa Amusement park where visitors can see many different types of beautiful tulips. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at the Grinpa Tulip Festival, my chances of seeing Mount Fuji were gone as the typhoon made it’s way into the area. Normally, those who come will have great views of Mount Fuji if the weather permits.
The Grinpa Tulip Festival was interesting because it is held on the grounds of Grinpa Amusement Park. This is a great option for families with children, since there are plenty of attractions for everyone to enjoy. I was surprised to see vast amount of different varieties of tulips at the festival. If you can understand some Japanese, the park has information signs that display the name of the variety of tulips you can see. I spent about an hour taking photos and admiring the different tulips on display.
The main area where the majority of tulips are located, are displayed on a small hill with a view of a windmill and Mount Fuji in the background. The tulips are displayed by variety and have a vast range of striking colors, like purple, orange, pink, red, and yellow. If you go up the hill to the left, there are additional tulips to view as well. This is where some of the mot interesting flowers can be seen.
In addition to the Tulip Festival, the park also has a variety of attractions and a restaurant. During the winter season, visitors can also ski and snowboard at Yeti Park. Entrance to the park is ¥1,000 for adults and ¥700 for seniors and children. If you’re interested in spending some time visiting the attractions at the park, you can purchase a 1 day passport for ¥3,200 for adults and ¥2,400 for children. For foreign visitors, a discount to the park is available if you have your passport.
May 6th to May 31st, 2015
9:30am-5:00pm, Normally 7 Days a Week with some Holidays
Website (English): http://www.grinpa.com/en
Getting to the Tulip Festival is probably most easy via car and parking is available for a fee. Additionally, visitors can take a bus or train from central Tokyo to Gotenba Station. From Gotenba Station, a taxi is required to get to the park (about 30 minutes). For more information on travel, you can visit the Grina Amusement Park website here: http://www.grinpa.com/en/access/
All photos (except where specified) by George Sampson on Flickr
Unable to go? Check out this video to experience these events just like you were there!