Approximately 120 km northeast of Tokyo, in Ibaraki Prefecture's Hitachinaka City, is the national Hitachi Seaside Park. Its approximately 2,000,000㎡ of parkland is full of vast flower fields, that cover the park in carpets of seasonal flowers throughout the year. With nemophila reaching their season in May and kochias in autumn, Hitachi Seaside Park gives its visitors a beautiful floral scenery regardless of the season. Not only that, but its location is relatively accessible from Tokyo, making it a great location for travelers who want to find their accommodation in Tokyo, but also want a breathe of refreshing, natural air!
With an overview of its history, areas and events, this article will take you through all you need to know about Hitachi Seaside Park to enjoy it to its fullest.
About the autumn kochia fields of Hitachi Seaside Park↓↓
Hitachi Seaside Park's Autumn Kochia Fields make a Vast Red Carpet
History of Hitachi Seaside Park
The Showa Period: As an Aviation Base
The land that is currently Hitachi Seaside Park was formerly called the Mito-Higashi Airbase, and was a military facility owned by the Imperial Japanese Army. After Japan's surrender in 1945, the land was confiscated by the United States to become a bomb-training ground for the US Air Force. Inhabitants of the area were not pleased; bombing drills and stray dud shells falling on the surrounding region brought an uproar of dissatisfaction from residents.
Rallying the entire prefecture, the regional government of Ibaraki began to continuously request the United States Air Force to return the airbase to its locale. After over 10 years of demanding reversion of the land, it was in 1973 that it was finally returned to the Japanese government. The strong desire of the local population to turn the land into a park, as a symbol of peace, compelled the construction of Hitachi Seaside Park.
The Heisei Period: The Creation of Hitachi Seaside Park
Planning and construction took place between 1979 and 1990, and removing unexploded bombs from underground was also a large part of the procedure. The park, though not fully complete, opened in 1991, with parts of the parks opening throughout the upcoming years. Sports facilities such as cycling areas and BMX courses opened as well, making the park available for a ubiquitous outdoors experience. Currently, 57% of the entire area is open to the public, with the remaining area being a forest zone.
7 Must-See Areas to Fully Enjoy the Park
1. Miharashi Area
The bright-red autumn kochia fields in Hitachi Seaside Park
The Miharashi Area is in the northeastern area of the park. The area's Miharashi Hill has the highest elevation in Hitachinaka City, and is most famous for the seasonal sceneries created by the field's nemophila and kochias. The sky-blue nemophila field blooms from late April to mid-May, and the flowers unify with the sky and ocean to create a stunning panorama of blue. In the fall, kochia and cosmos paint Miharashi hill a fiery red and delicate pink. The hill not only gives a great view of Hitachi Seaside Park, but also of the Pacific Ocean, making it a goldmine of picturesque sceneries and a hugely popular photo spot,
Also in the area is one of the oldest "minka", or a traditional Japanese house, in eastern Japan. Visitors are allowed to explore its interior too, and right beside it is "Miharashi-no-Sato", or Miharashi Village. Miharashi Village was created to present park guests with the nostalgia of old-fashioned agricultural village life. To match the scenery, plants such as rapeseed flowers, zinnia and buckwheat are planted.
2. Forest Area
In the green, northern end of the park is the Forested Area characterized by a dense covering of Japanese pine trees. Although a portion of the area is designated as a plant life preservation area, the rest allows visitors to see the forest's diverse natural ecosystem up close.
The nearby Sawada spring water area is a great place for a stroll while exploring Hitachi Seaside Park's nature. The spring water is a unique result of the area's geological properties. Under the surface soil is a thick layer of sand, which is underlaid by another layer of much less permeable soil. Under this setting, rainfall that seeps into the ground is stopped by the deep non-permeable layer of soil, and brought back up to create a natural freshwater spring.
Next to the area, you will find the "Sawada Spring Water Nature House" that has many informative exhibits to teach visitors about water retention basins and their ecosystems.
3. Grassland Area
The vast stretch of land in the heart of the park is the Grassland Area. Approximately 8ha of lawn sprawls across the area, with athletic fields, cycling courses and barbeque venues ready for use. Whether you are the active kind who loves running around in the fields, or one that prefers a relaxing sunbathe on the grass, this area will meet your needs.
The neighboring "Grassland Flower Graden" has a different scenery of flowers with every season. Poppies and linaria cover the space from spring to early summer, while a cosmos field takes over in autumn. There is a cycling course right next to it too, so a bike excursion surrounded by these beautiful flowers is a great idea too.
4. Dune Area
The Dune Area locates along the coast of Hitachi Seaside Park, and displays a great number of coastal vegetation. The "Dune Garden" houses and nurtures around 60 types of coastal plants, alongside 130 types of herbs and succulent plants. Nearby, the "Green Studio" hosts gardening events, and the Ceramic Arts Studio holds ceramic-making classes every month on the third Sunday.
5. West Entrance Area
Playground equipment in Tamago-no-Mori, at Hitachi Seaside park
The "West Entrance Area" right next to Hitachi Seaside Park's west entrance, is a place popping with color and energy. The "Tamago-no-Mori Flower Garden" nurtures 250,000 tulips of 143 types, creating a scenery of blinding vividness. Even when compared to the Netherlands' Keukenhof Park, the world pinnacle of tulip fields, this garden is nothing to scoff at.
"Tamago-no-Mori" means "forest of eggs". Its construction attempted to convey a theme, which was "a forest in which eggs can grow safely in their nests, hatch, and grow healthily until they flutter off". The pine forest here was laid out with lower elementary school-age children in mind, and the 9 colorful eggs in the area comprise the children's playground.
The History Gallery here educates visitors on the history of Hitachi Seaside Park. Informative exhibits teach the park's bumpy road to construction through words, while other displays such as real undetonated shells from the airbase days, show it through their striking visuals.
6. South Entrance Area
Pass through the welcoming Aka no Gate (red gate) and enter through the South Entrance. The South Entrance area is home to the remarkable sunflower field in the Izumi-no-Hiroba Flower Garden, right by the Fountain Plaza, and is a perfect place to feel the coming of summer. Visiting after the sunflower season will nonetheless put you in awe as well, as you are greeted by the fall foliage of metasequoia, and it creating a whole new landscape for your eyes.
7. Pleasure Garden Area
The ferris wheel in the Pleasure Garden Area
The southwest segment of the park is none other than the Pleasure Garden Area. As the name infers, the Pleasure Garden Area is decked with amusement facilities. With a 400 meter-long slide, and a BMX course, the area is calling for adventure seekers and fun lovers. In the summer time, a water park opens its gates to many excited families and children! Alongside the amusement venues is the triple-themed "Hitachi Rose Garden" that was completed in 2014.
Events at Hitachi Seaside Park
Suisen Fantasy (March to April)
The narcissus flowers blooming during Hitachi Seaside Park's "Suisen Fantasy" event
Suisen is Japanese for narcissus, and they are also a popular spring flower. The yellow narcissus field will have you feeling like spring itself. The Suisen Garden can be found in the West Entrance Area.
Tulip World (April)
The "Tulip World" event at Hitachi Seaside Park
The tulip garden is located in the Tamago no Mori Flower Garden in the West Entrance Area. The tulips only blossom for a short period in April, but the multi-hued garden is a must see!
Nemophila Harmony (April to May)
The "Nemophila Harmony" event at Hitachi Seaside Park
Spring is embodied and brought to life in the nemophila fields at Hitachi Seaside Park. Witness the baby blue blossoms, ocean and sky during the spring months! The nemophila field is located on Miharashi Hill in the Miharashi Area.
Rock in Japan Festival (Summer)
One of the biggest music festivals in Japan is held here at Hitachi Seaside Park. Rock in Japan Festival began in 2000, and has been an annual summer event at the park. Past performers include top Japanese artists such as B’z and Mr.Children. With performances on several stages throughout the park spanning across four days, Rock in Japan will be a forever-lasting summer memory.
Summer Fair (July to August)
Green kochia plants on Miharashi Hill, in Hitachi Seaside Park
Between mid July and late August, summer flowers add an extra dash of liveliness to the park. Sunflowers, zinnias, and green kochia bloom throughout the different areas of the park.
Kochia Carnival (September to October)
Autumn in Hitachi Seaside Park sees the blooming of kochia and cosmos
The fiery fluffy reds on Miharashi Hill can be seen in autumn. The kochia transform from green to red during September to October, and the newly colored kochia contrast vividly with the blue skies. Beneath the kochia field is a field of cosmos, with a softer overall pink shade.
15+ years old: ¥450
65+ years old: ¥210
Junior-high school and younger: Free
*Seasonal fares may apply. Please check the Hitachi Seaside Park official website for information.
■Days of closure
・Every Tuesday (If Tuesday falls on a national holiday, the park will be closed the following day)
・New Year's Eve & New Year's Day
Access to Hitachi Seaside Park
・(Bus stop) Kaihin-koen-nishiguchi
・(Bus stop) Kaihin-koen-minamiguchi
【Tokyo Sta.】JR Ueno Tokyo Line / for Mito
→【Katsuta Sta.】City Bus / for Chuo-kenshujo
→【Kaihin-koen-nishiguchi】→ about a 5-minute walk
From Mito Station
【Mito Sta.】JR Joban Line / for Iwaki
→ 【Katsuta Sta.】City Bus / for Chuo-kenshujo
→ 【Kaihin-koen-nishiguchi】about a 5-minute walk
From Ibaraki Airport
【Ibaraki Airport Sta.】Airport Bus / for Hitachi-ota
→ 【Katsuta Sta.】City Bus / for Chuo-kenshujo
→ 【Kaihin-koen-nishiguchi】→ about a 5-minute walk
The Gardens of Hitachi Seaside Park Create a Dense Carpet of Flowers
Through the four seasons, Hitachi Seaside Park dresses itself in many different colors of flowers. With nemophila and tulips in the spring, roses and sunflowers in the summer, kochias and cosmos in autumn, and ice tulips in the winter, the park never ceases to impress its visitors with its dense floral carpet. Visit Hitachi Seaside Park to take in an unparalleled vista of beautiful flower fields!