Hitachi Seaside Park (Hitachinaka Kaihin Koen Park)
Hitachi Seaside Park ひたちなか海浜公園 (Hitachinaka Kaihin Koen), is a national park located in Hitachi city, Ibaraki prefecture. The park has hills on the seaside covered with baby blue eyes flowers in spring and Kochia balls in autumn.
The Kochia field is the highlight of Hitaki Seaside Park
In autumn, about 32000 of Kochia balls and 2 million flowers of cosmea attract visitors. Kochia gradually begins to turn red in late September and gets burning red around the middle of October. (Varies every year depending on weather conditions.)
Kochia balls swaying by the wind look very kawaii.
Kochia is called Houkigusa, means “broom grass” as dry Kochia is used to make brooms. Since the Kochia is an annual (plant), they are removed from the field in winter. In early summer the seedlings are planted by hand, one by one, all over the field.
The hill is covered with Nemophila (Baby blue eyes flowers) in Spring
Before Kochia seedlings are planted, Nemophila (Baby blue eyes flowers) are grown in the field. The hills all covered with the blue flowers are also a popular attraction of the park. The best season of the Baby blue eyes will be around early May that falls on Golden Week, the consecutive national holidays.
Baby blue eyes flowers in spring (in late April to early May)
Hitachi Seaside Park is a complex of parks, has several entrances.
To enter the park, there are four entrance, Seaside Entrance, Central Entrance, South Entrance and West Entrance. The West Entrance is the most convenient to reach "Miharashi-no-oka", the hill of Kochia balls/Nemophila flowers. From the west entrance to the hill, it will be a 10-min walk.
The attraction of this park is not just flower fields.
The park has attractions other than Kochia/Blue eye flower fields, include various flower gardens, forest gardens, a glass house café, old Japanese farm houses, a 10km cycling course (for rental bikes), a 400m-long slide, an adventure playground and more.
The park also has an amusement park with a ferris wheel, roller coasters, and more.
Though admission fee is required to enter the park, the fee is reasonable as Hitachi Seaside Park is a national park managed by Parks and Recreation Foundation. There are special admission free days, but, remember it gets so crowded on those days.
Getting there from Tokyo
By Train From Ueno 上野
From JR Ueno Station, take Joban-sen train 常磐線 and get off at Katsuta station 勝田駅 (Approx. 70 min.)
From Katsuta station, there are two options; Buy bus or By train
From Katsuta sta, take a bus (Ibaraki Kotsu Bus. 20 min ride) and get off at West Enttrance (Nishiguchi) or South Entrance(Minamiguchi). Remember the entrance closer to the hill is West Entrance.(Nishiguchi).
*It gets crowded in May and October, especially on weekends. It is better to visit on a weekday if you can.
From Katsuta sta, take Minato-sen Line of Hitachinaka Seaside Railway and get off at Ajigaura station 阿字ヶ浦駅. 20 min walk to the south entrace.
*From Ajigaura Station to Seaside Entrance (海浜口 Kaihin-guchi) , free shuttle bus service is available between mid. September to mid.October.
Hitachi Seaside Park Official Website
Nakaminato Fish Market with Sushi restaurants
http://www.nakaminato-osakanaichiba.jp/ (In Japanese)
From Ajigaura Sta, take Minato-sen Line of Hitachinaka Seaside Line, and get off at Nakaminato 那珂湊
10 min. walk to the fish market area.