I’m always surprised by the way Japan is able to surprise me. Once I think I find a place that I love and is my “favorite,” I discover someplace new that offers a different perspective on the culture, and gifts me with a new appreciation for this country that has been my home for over a year now.
Hitachi Seaside Park is one of those places.
Simply getting to the park was an adventure in itself. Because it’s located in Ibaraki Prefecture, we had to wake up extra early to make the 4-hour trek to Hitachi.
We had a few mishaps along the way – getting on the wrong train being one of them – but eventually we arrived at a park that would take my breath away.
Hitachi Seaside Park is open year round, with thousands of plant and flower species that bloom throughout different parts of the year.
Our Visit to Hitachi:
During our visit, the two main headliners were tulips and nemophila – a delicate blue flower that also goes by the name “baby blue eyes.”
As we entered the park, it was no surprise to me that there were hundreds of other people coming to see the exact same thing as us. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about living in Japan, it’s that tourists are everywhere. Whether it’s an old torii gate, or a statue of a dog, people crowd together to catch a glimpse of whatever is on display.
Even with the high volume of tourists, they became like background noise against the beauty of the flowers.
The tulips were the first flowers we saw, and I was blown away by the fact that the park is the home to over 220 tulip varieties, and over 280,000 individual plants. There were tulips that I had never seen before, and each one stood out as unique and different.
Tulips have always been one of my favorite flowers, but I never thought I could love them more than I already did. To see such diversity from one kind of flower was incredible.
The tulips last from mid to late April, so I was glad that we caught them before they wilted away.
Even though I was impressed with the tulips, I wasn’t prepared for what was next. As we walked away from the flowers, I noticed a flash of blue out of the corner of my eye. I turned to see what looked like a sea of blue flowers on Miharashi Hill off in the distance, and knew that’s where we needed to go.
As we got closer to the nemophila, the mass of people around us grew larger and larger. The tulips are beautiful, but the baby blue eyes are what people really come to see in the springtime.
With nearly 4.5 million nemophila, this was the climax of what they call the “Spring Flower Sequence.” It was as if the earth beneath us was reflecting the blue sky above us – the flowers were so vibrant that it’s obvious why thousands of people visit the park each year.
Once we reached the top of Miharashi Hill, we were able to look down on the light blue flower sea and admire what we traveled so far for.
Because the start of spring is marked by the blooming of the daffodils, we were a bit too late to enjoy the Suisen Fantasy. Most of the daffodils and other narcissuses had wilted, and were too dead to enjoy.
The ones that were still hanging on were beautiful though, so if you get a chance to visit the park in late March to mid April, you’ll be in luck.
Fall at Hitachi:
If Hitachi was closer to us, we would definitely make another trip to see the Kochias, also known as Summer Cypress. These strange, Dr. Seuss-like flowers turn Miharashi Hill a crimson red, and take the place of the blue nemophila.
Fall also brings Cosmos flowers, which are white, pink, and red flowers that are in the sunflower family.
I don’t have any pictures of either of these flowers, but take some time to google both of them.
Winter at Hitachi:
From mid December to January, Hitachi has what they call the “Winter Fair.” During this time, ice tulips bloom, and the park hosts food tasting events that are only held in the winter. You can also take advantage of a traditional fireplace at an old house on Miharashi Hill that has been reconstructed for public use.
When we talked to our team about going to Hitachi Seaside Park with us, one question that popped up was “Are there really only flowers?”
The answer is… no!
While the main attraction of the park are the millions of flowers on site, you can’t forget to check out Pleasure Garden when you visit Hitachi.
But what exactly is Pleasure Garden? Open from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Pleasure Garden is a miniature theme park hidden amidst the flora.
We felt like it had more of a State Fair vibe rather than a Six Flags feel to it, but we still had fun walking through the park, watching people ride the rickety rides, and even rode one ourselves!
According to the Park website, there are a few things we missed, like the Gururi Forest Adventure Card Labyrinth, two different Putt Putt Golf Courses, and a water plaza open during summer months.
Check it out if you have the chance! Entrance to the ride area is included in your park ticket, and rides don’t cost very much to go on. It’s definitely worth it, especially for families with younger children.
There was a lot of great options to choose from, including a good variety of items for one of our team members who is a vegetarian.
For lunch we each got a giant hotdog, skewered meat, and had blue nemophila ice cream for dessert (it tastes like cotton candy!).
There was a stall that was selling bento boxes, but they were sold out by the time we were ready for lunch. Near Tulip World they had food trucks selling burgers, and like most places in Japan, there were plenty of vending machines with a nice selection of cold drinks.
At the amusement park, you can find crepes, ice cream, and other sweet treats.
Overall, we felt like the park had a great selection of food items, and it wasn’t as expensive as you would expect!
This might not mean anything to you, and you might be wondering, “Why is this girl including Costco in her list of things to do at Hitachi Seaside Park?”
But my reasoning is this: for the past year and three months, I have lived in a small town in Japan. Even in larger cities, you’d be hard pressed to find food sold in bulk because people live in smaller spaces.
Once we found out that there was a Costco right across the road from the Park’s entrance, we added a shopping trip to our itinerary. Of course, you have to pay for a membership, but it’s worth it if you haven’t seen an American-sized pizza or chocolate chip muffins in a while.
Your Visit to Hitachi Seaside Park:
|3/1 – 7/20, 9/1 – 10/31||7/21 – 8/31||11/1 – end of February||Golden Week|
|9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.||9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.||9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.||Contact the Park|
The Park is closed on Mondays with a few exceptions. It’s pretty complicated to explain here, so just check out the Park’s official website.
|Adults (15+)||Seniors (65+)||Children (7 – 14)|
|410 yen||210 yen||80 yen|
**Note: If you come by car, there is also a fee to park.**