Japan is famed for its beautiful parks and gardens. Many cultural events are held in these parks. They are probably the most frequented places across the country the whole year round. Japanese culture expresses a characteristic aesthetics and sense of harmony that are deeply rooted in nature. Care for the earth and respect for the natural forces are evident in their festivals and events celebrated in each season.
Flower viewing in spring, scarlet maple leaves viewing in autumn, mountain-burning in summer and the snow festivals in winter just to name a few. People flock to the parks for these celebrations as well as simply to hang out with family or friends on an ordinary weekend.
Hitachi Seaside Park is my personal favorite because it has everything for everyone in every season. Located in Hitachinaka City and easily accessible by Japan Railways, the park is especially famous for its seasonal flower gardens. It probably isnʼt so popular in other parts of Japan, but it is an all-time favorite among locals and residents of neighboring cities. It welcomes visitors on most days of the year offering its breathtaking landscape for a relaxing respite, or its cultural events and outdoor activities for an enjoyable day with loved ones.
So what can you see and do in Hitachi Seaside Park? First of all, be aware that it is a 190- hectare area of sprawling fields and hills with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Second, that one full day spent in the park is probably not enough on peak seasons especially if you tag along the kids. And third, that even if a day isnʼt enough, you will still go away feeling satisfied and rejuvenated. There is nothing more invigorating than a good dose of fresh air and a picture-perfect scenery.
Here are the reasons why I can never get enough of this park:
First, there are flowers a-plenty!
Daffodils are the heralds of spring. So when they blossom, springtime flower viewing festival in the park officially begins. There are hundreds of daffodil species that grow in the Suisen Garden and about 200 varieties of tulips are planted in Tamago no Mori Flower Garden.
Miharashi Hills is an awesome sight to see in spring.
It becomes a blue paradise when the hills are carpeted with Nemophila (baby blue eyes) blossoms. In summer, the hills are green with summer cypress that turn incredibly red in autumn.
Cosmos in hues of white, pink and red give the hillsides a colorfully accented pathways. The view from the top of the hills is even more spectacular. While there, donʼt miss to ring the bell for good luck!
That isnʼt all. There are a few more gardens with various floral plantation.
Poppies and linarias are found in Daisogen Flower Garden. Several herbs like lavender and rosemary can be viewed in all seasons at Kaori no Tani. Some other herbs and coastal flowers can also be seen in Sakyu Garden. The Rose Garden isnʼt to be missed as well.
Second is the Seaside Train Circuit
A one-day ride pass worth 500¥ allows visitors to hop on and off the Seaside Train anywhere on its 10 stops to get around easily. A fun idea is to take a complete circuit that only lasts 40 minutes for a birdʼs eye-view of the entirety of the park. It certainly is worth your coins even if you arenʼt staying a full day, considering the wide area that will be covered to get to all the gardens. Walking isnʼt a bad idea either, especially on peak seasons when the cues for a train ride can be pretty long.
Third is the availability of a cycling path
This path is separate from the train route. Both adults and kids can go around the park in their own bikes, or rent one at the information center. There is also a BMX course and an athletics field for the more sporty ones.
Fourth is the Pleasure Garden
This amusement park is great for the family. There is a whole lot of fun rides to choose from. And you will never miss the Giant “Flower Ring” Ferris Wheel because it is visible from any place in the park. It is thus a good landmark to find the way when youʼre somewhat lost.
Fifth, I will never go hungry!
Visitors are free to bring food and have a picnic anywhere in the area. If not, the park is dotted with cafes, restaurants and food stalls. There is even a BBQ area!
And last but definitely not the least, I can always find a quiet nook to take a nap, read a book, watch people, or simply while away time. This is what I look for in any park. And this park in particular is so huge that there is always a nice and cozy corner for some down time.
Whether youʼre alone or with company, Hitachi Seaside Park is always a good idea to spend a free day and reconnect with nature. So check out their website for the schedule of events and make sure to visit the park on your next holiday.
This Autumn do not forget to witness the changing colours of the summer cypress from green to red.
Photo: TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) on Flickr
More details available at the website