A Sea of Blue in Hitachi

Last autumn I went to Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki to check out the bright red kochia shrubs. I’d never seen anything like it! The shrubs were a stunning colour and made for a brilliant contrast to the blue sky. It looked just like a painting.

Hitachi Seaside Park in Autumn

Same view, different season. Which do you find more impressive?

Hitachi in spring

But ever since then, all I’ve been hearing about is the blanket of baby blue flowers that covers the same hills during spring. I guess the nemophila are much more well-known than the kochia. I knew I had to go see it for myself!

So, on Greenery Day (a public holiday in Japan), a friend and I headed north to Ibaraki prefecture. I was up early and out the door at 8am. 3 trains and 1 bus later, we finally got to our destination at about 11am. The trains and bus were all packed and we had to stand almost the entire way. It’s not uncommon to be forced to stand or sit at the ends of the cars in express trains or the shinkansen if you can’t get a seat. The JR Limited Express Hitachi from Ueno Station runs non-stop for 1 1/4 hours, flying past 9 stations, so at least we didn’t have to worry about moving over for people getting on or off!

Standing at the entrance to the park, my jaw instantly dropped and my eyes bulged. It wasn’t the beautiful flowers that shocked me, but the throngs of people! I know it was a national holiday, but I couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Literally thousands of people crowded the footpaths, open grass areas and food trucks! It was like seeing an army of ants crawling over the hills! On the same day (May 4th) in 2014, the park apparently had a record 71,000 visitors. At least people in Japan are courteous – you’ll never see anyone pushing their way through a crowd or jumping the queue.

We made our way around the huge park, getting a little lost along the way but enjoying ourselves regardless! It was a very warm day but thankfully the intense sun kept ducking behind the clouds to give us some relief. Kids were playing in the massive outdoor adventure course, teenagers were doing jumps around the BMX track, families were cooking lunch in the BBQ area, pet dogs were enjoying the open space. The park was buzzing with activity.

We eventually came to the famous sea of blue!

The pale blue flowers reached up to the blue sky. Behind us, the sky was met by the deep blue ocean. Mother Nature was really turning on her best. We joined the masses and followed the zig zag path up and around Miharashi Hill. The petals are tiny and their stems are so short, but when combined with 4.5 million others, nemophila are an attention-grabbing force! Every time the sea breeze swept over the hill, the flowers would suddenly come to life, whirling round and round.

Hitachi Seaside Park is a bit of a mission to get to – let’s face it, it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere – but it’s well worth the effort! Spring is definitely most popular season here among the Japanese, but I think the Kochia (in October) and Nemophila are both something you have to see at least once in your life!

 

 

Advertisements

29 thoughts on “A Sea of Blue in Hitachi

  1. Amazing view. Those pale blue flowers look stunning – they almost resemble a sea. In fact, I also think that they look a little bit like snow. Good to hear the people weren’t being pushy. It would be hard to think that anyone would want to be rushing around getting a view of the flowers…because eventually you’ll get there and you know you’ll see a beautiful sight. Worth the wait :)

    Like

    • Hi Mabel, thanks! Yeah definitely worth the wait. Not just at this park, but anywhere you go in Japan, people are patient. It makes travelling around very stress-free :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ネモフィラという植物は 日本語で 何という名前ですか。
    水色(みずいろ)の ネモフィラの野原(のはら)が ラグーンのようです。
    そのラグーンの水に 青空と白い雲が映っているように みえます。
    5月5日の子供の日を祝って こいのぼりが 空たかく およいでいる光景(こうけい)が 
    平和な日本のシンボルだと 思います。
    野原を飛ぶ はとも 平和のシンボルですね。
    それから、菜(な)の花の畑(はたけ)で ひとりの子供が たのしそうに 遊んでいる様子(ようす)は 
    とても貴重(きちょう)な 写真ですね。
    野原に 一本だけ すっと立っている ポピーのように わたしたちの目を 奪(うば)い、
    ほほえみを もたらしてくれます。
    その子の親は わが子が ポピーのように のびのびと そだってほしいと、思っていることでしょう。

    Like

    • ネモフィラは日本語の名前があるかどうかわかりません。絶対あるでしょうね。
      ラグーンは涼しい感じで良いイメージですね!
      ひたち海浜公園の鯉のぼりは素敵で、でかいと思いましたけど、もっと、もっと見たかったんです。一昨年、川越市で道の上にたくさんの鯉のぼりが泳いでいる光景を見に行きましたが、他の有名な鯉のぼりのお祭りはどこにあるのでしょうか。

      Like

    • Oh, you prefer the kochia! I think they are definitely unusual/interesting. Maybe it’s something about their shape – each shrub seems to have their own character.
      Haha, thanks, yes it wasn’t nearly as crowded on the way home, so we could sit the majority of the way.
      Cheers :)

      Like

    • That would be beautiful! Actually, these hills do look a little fairytale-esque. I could just imagine fairies popping up and dancing among the flowers! hehe :)

      Like

    • Seriously, and to think they have all come from far and wide just to see flowers. The human ant trails were almost as fascinating to watch as the flowers themselves!

      Like

  3. Such beautiful photos! My husband and I were about to visit this last Autumn but the train transportation was too expensive for both us (coming from Kanagawa). This year though, I vowed to visit this place, perhaps rent a car and drive. I totally agree with people here that Kochia season is a beautiful scene to see in this place.

    Like

    • Thanks so much, Ada! Yeah, looking back on the two trips, I do feel like the autumn kochia were more impressive. :)

      When I went in autumn, we hired a car and drove from Ikebukuro, but to be honest the traffic was so insane that I decided to take the train this time. I would say if you want to sightsee around Ibaraki, then having a car is absolutely necessary, but if you’re just going to this park, then take the train!

      Like

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s