Hitachi Seaside Park
Hitachi Seaside Park is a spacious park in Ibaraki Prefecture featuring a variety of green spaces and seasonal flowers spread out across 350 hectares, as well as an amusement park and several cycling and walking trails.
The park’s iconic flower is the blue nemophila, which covers Miharashi Hill in the spring and mimics the color of the sky. The flowers are usually at their peak from late April to mid May. Paths crisscross the hill providing views over the Pacific Ocean and the rest of the park. In fall, the hill is covered by green kokia bushes which slowly turn red as the weather turns cooler. These autumnal colors are usually best from early to mid October.
Although the nemophila are the most well-known of the park’s flowers, assorted other flowers bloom throughout most of the year. Near the park’s main entrance is a large forested area featuring the Suisen Garden where narcissus usually bloom from mid March, while across the lake tulips bloom usually around late April.
Although flowers are seasonal highlights, the park can be enjoyed year round. There are walking trails through the extensive Hitachinaka Nature Forest, while the Dune Garden showcases plants native to the coastline of Japan. Even when the rest of the park is crowded, this area often remains relatively quiet.
Hitachi Seaside Park also features a small amusement park with over 25 rides and attractions, including a 100 meter tall Ferris wheel, putter golf, a BMX course and a roller coaster among others. Most of the rides and activities require extra fees. Restaurants and rest areas are scattered throughout the park, and a BBQ area is available for picnics.
Due to the size of the park, there are two other methods of getting around besides walking. Rental bicycles are available starting from 400 yen for three hours of use, and almost eleven kilometers of cycling paths – separate from pedestrian paths – allow easy access to the different areas of the park. A small train (on tires) also travels the perimeter of the park with stops at numerous locations. The train costs 550 yen for a 1-day pass.
Miharashi Hill is the famous slope on the seaside and the most photographed area of Hitachi Seaside Park. Hundreds of camera-toting visitors come for the baby blue nemophila blooms in the spring, returning again in the fall for the summer cypress kochia balls. For in-between, there’s gardens filled with tulips and cosmos, lily and lavender, zinnia flowers and rapeseed to stroll among.
At over 150 hectares, the park can be quite large to cover on foot. Grab a bike for a gentle ride around. Bicycles can be rented for three hours at a time at three park locations for 400 yen. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own bicycles in for no charge.
For those who want to exert the minimum effort possible, the Seaside Train is a relaxing way to get around and covers the park in about 35 minutes. With stops at 10 different locations, visitors can hop on and off at their own pace.
The amusement park has retro rides for both children and adults. Kids can run around while the adults handle lunch at the BBQ Plaza – groups can reserve spots and grill as they will. A variety of restaurants and cafes serve regional foods and seasonal sweets, decorated with the current flowers in bloom.