From electronics to environmental engineering, the Japanese don’t do anything half-heartedly. Japan is known for many things around the world, but perhaps the most beautiful is the country’s flower parks.
Florists around the world use the Japanese art of flower arranging known as Ikebana, and school children across America know the story of how Japan solidified its friendship with the United States by gifting Washington D.C. with 3,000 cherry trees in 1912. The trees still offer a riot of delicate pink color celebrated at the National Cherry Blossom Festival every spring.
But as stunning as they are, the cherry blossoms pale in comparison to Japan’s many flower gardens, and no trip to this East Asian island nation is complete without visiting a few of the most beautiful flower parks in Japan.
Shikisai no Oka
Situated in the peaceful city of Biei-cho in central Hokkaido, Shikisai no Oka greets visitors with 15 hectares of 30 kinds of flowers that bloom mainly in summer. Buggies and carts get you around with ease in the park to enjoy a breathtaking carpet of color across the hillsides.
A feast for the eyes, the blooms include tulips, lavender, salvia, sunflowers, and Japanese anemone. In winter, the park turns into a popular tourist attraction with activities such as snowmobiling against a backdrop of snow-covered peaks.
Ashikaga Flower Park
Open since 1997, Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture attracts 1.5 million visitors every year. The park is easy to get to by train from Tokyo and other regions in Kanto. A variety of flowers bloom in eight different areas.
The park is especially famous for its display of Weeping Wisteria with a centuries-old Wisteria tree as the star of the show. The cascading blooms change in color from pink to purple, white, and yellow as the season passes.
The annual Spring Flower Festival is held in mid-March and features thousands of tulips, cherry blossoms, and other colorful flowers.
Hitachi Seaside Park
Hitachi Seaside Park is a national park that celebrates Japan’s relationship with the Netherlands. Situated along the Ibaraki Prefecture coastline, the park features seven areas of seasonal flowers and other plants including tulips of course, along with millions of nemophila ( baby blue eye flowers), narcissus, and roses that bloom in early summer.
The riot of color continues into autumn when the Kochia bushes turn a bright scarlet. Thousands of flaming red bushes attract visitors to the Kochia Festival from mid-September to mid-October.
The park also offers other activities along with its colorful display including obstacle courses for kids, golf, BBQ areas, cycling, and more to be enjoyed in the refreshing Pacific Ocean breeze.
Huis Ten Bosch
Located in Huis Ten Bosch in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Huis Ten Bosch is another nod of love to the Netherlands with around 700,000 tulips, thousands of hydrangea, and one million roses.
The Dutch-themed park features European-style architecture, windmills, canals, shops, and restaurants. The Huis Ten Bosch Tulip Festival in spring has a parade of music, canal boat rides, and a night-time illuminations show that highlights the beautiful blooms.
Visitors can also enjoy rides, theatres, restaurants, cafes, and more.
Hamamatsu Flower Park
The Hamamatsu Flower Park is a botanical gem located on the edge of Lake Hamana on the outskirts of Hamamatsu. Along with recreational facilities, it features 30,000 square meters of 3,000 species of seasonal flowers and plants throughout the year.
From February to March, white, pink, and red plum blossoms put on a show. In early April, tulips of vibrant colors appear along with Yoshino cherry trees and double cherry blossoms. During the day, the pastel blossoms contrast with a deep blue sky, and at night, the blossoms are especially elegant under illumination.
The Hamamatsu Crysathemum Convention is held here in November and features hundreds of elegant arrangements with the showy chrysanthemums.
The park also has a large greenhouse with an impressive fountain as its centerpiece.
Showa Memorial Park
Located in Tachikawa, the Showa Memorial Park is a half-hour train ride from Tokyo and is considered one of the city’s attractions. Famous for its cherry blossoms and autumn foliage, this flowering paradise is sprawled over 165 hectares that include museums, water parks, a lake with pedal boats, sports facilities, and cafes and food stalls.
Tulips, azaleas, cosmos, and sunflowers are among the seasonal flowers featured in this flora wonderland. The park is considered the best place near Tokyo to admire seasonal colors.
A great attraction for all ages, Showa Memorial Park is the perfect day trip from the capital city. You can spend the day and return to Tokyo in time for dinner.