Whilst skimming my way through the latest articles on the excellent RocketNews24 website last month, one particular story stuck out under their typically over-long subject headers: ‘Do Not Adjust Your Monitor – Hitachi Seaside Park Really Looks Like This‘. It showed a hillside of kochia shrubs; a large herb that grows in bushes up to about 90cm tall. They are usually green clumps but for about a month at this time of year they turn into a dazzling crimson colour.
Impressed by such beauty I made a note to take a day trip into Ibaraki-ken this year if the opportunity was there as I believed that they could rival the pink carpet of flowers in the foreground of Mount Fuji which we saw last year.
Thankfully that chance came last Sunday on a lovely sunny day as my girlfriend and I took a bus from Tokyo station to the entrance at Kaihin Kouen Iriguchi bus stop which cost just over 2000 yen one-way and took two hours twenty minutes which was the easier option. For the record, the train from Ueno to Katsuta Station costs a bit more, takes a little longer and then requires a 25 minute bus ride from there to the entrance. However, this option is far more flexible as the bus only leaves Tokyo at 10.30am and similarly there is only one bus back at 4.43pm.
The kochia have been this vivid colour since about the middle of September and were predicted to retain their full colour until this weekend. However, they are not the only impressive flowers and plants to be seen in the park as a load of other flowers including cosmos are also visible at this time of year. Cosmos can also be viewed around the parks hill and come in a variety of colours such as pink, white and red.
Hitachi Seaside Park opens daily at 9:30 a.m. and is a good place for a family day out as it offers bicycle hire, gardens, a BMX course, a seaside cafe, lakes, barbecue area, a seaside train (sounding like a load of synchronised panting dogs) and a theme park. The park and gardens part is actually quite similar to that of Shinrin-Koen in Saitama.
Click here to see the ‘TF Top 10……Day Trips Beyond Kanagawa, Saitama & Chiba’