As a portrait photographer based in the biggest city in the world, Tokyo, Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture has always been on my list of places to visit. This year has been an erratic one, with things to do last minute, many projects postponed or canceled, and far less traveling., thus, getting there was quite late for the flower season. Read below to find out why.
Table of contents:
- Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture
- How to travel to Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture from Tokyo?
Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture
I first time heard about Ibaraki Prefecture from a friend living there. Because I am a curious person, I went ahead and did a little research to see what is in that area that may present interest to me as a professional photographer based in Tokyo. I quickly discovered Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture, the northeast of the Kanto region.
One sunny day, my wife and I jumped in the car and drove to Ibaraki to visit one of the most known parks in that area. The trip was an easy two-hour drive from the cute residential neighborhood in Tsuzuki-Ku, without much traffic on the Japanese motorways, because I always try to drive outside of the rush hours.
Hitachi Seaside Park is famous for the sheer amount of flowers that are to be found there throughout the year. Unfortunately, I was three days late to enjoy the last Kochia flowers of this autumn season, that’s why I only found a few flowers, like Cosmos, Roses and others I have no idea what their names are.
After researching, I discovered that the park is most known for Nemophila or Baby Blue Eyes in the spring and Kochia or summer cypress/burning bush. These flowers make a wonderland of the Miharashi Hill in Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture, attracting an enormous number of visitors every year.
Situated on the Ibaraki coast, the park is located on sand dunes and a perfect place for many seasonal plants and flowers due to the cold and warm, which mingle in the Pacific Ocean. In Hitachi Seaside Park are, among other things, a Pleasure Garden Amusement Park, eight hectares of grassland, and even a barbecue area.
The Miharashi no Oka Hill has a long and not so peaceful history. It wasn’t always a friendly place covered in thousands of blue Nemophila flowers during spring or red carpets of Kochia in the autumn. The area was formerly a military airport, Higashi-Mito Airport, and a US Air Force firing and bombing range. Due to incidents that resulted in deaths, the land was transferred to the Japanese government in 1973 and turned into what it is today; a serene place filled with flowers, a symbol of peace.
How to travel to Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture from Tokyo?
Reaching Hitachi Seaside Park from Tokyo can be done by car or various public transportation options. It takes around two hours by car and almost three hours by public transportation; thus, planning is required beforehand.
Say you want to travel to Hitachi Seaside Park from Shibuya Station, using public transportation. One option would be to use the Yamanote Line (JY) until reaching Shinagawa Station, and then change to JR Hitachi and Tokiwa Line until Katsura Station. From there, the trip could be continued by a sixteen minutes bus ride to finally reach the park.
Prices for transportation vary from 2500 to around 4500 Japanese Yen. If you have your own or rental car, you’d want to drive on the highways, which means quite a lot of money spent on highway fees, which can be roughly calculated using local Japanese apps(if you can type and read). If I recall right, it will be around 4-5000 Yen/way.
The park is gorgeous, and I recommend it to anyone who loves nature to spend a day there and enjoy the fresh air and the thousands of flowers that are to be enjoyed throughout the year. I was lucky to find only the field down below, full of Cosmos flowers and the yellow ones, that shall be unnamed because… I don’t know. Although I love flowers, I’m not keen on learning names. Just like colors, I know only Red, Green, and Blue and only a few others, while my wife can name different colors for hours.
Because there were not so many flowers around, I focused on what I could find and did even a little bit of macro photography for the first time in my life using an actual macro lens. That has a 1:1 reproduction ratio, the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED that I recently bought to approach subjects from tiny distances.
I bought the Nikon lens from the BIC camera near Ginza Shopping street, instead of the Nikon official shop (that’s now moved in Shinjuku), because it was cheaper than Nikon’s. Don’t ask me why; it’s just how it is in Japan. I should mention that the shelf price was identical, but BIC Camera accepts bargaining at the purchase time.
I must say, macro photography requires a lot of patience, but it is paying off with excellent results. As you can see in the gallery below, I managed to capture some unbelievable details that aren’t otherwise possible to capture with a general lens. I asked my wife to let me take some portraits of her between the Pampas bushes, and it performed beautifully, doubling as a portrait lens.
Having the experience of half a day spent there, I already plan to go back in the spring when it is peak season so I can enjoy the blue carpet of nemophila flowers.
Thank you for reading my thoughts about Hitachi Seaside Park. I hope you feel inspired to visit it and book my photography services for fantastic family portraits. I will gladly spend time with you there and show you around while documenting precious moments for your family.