For this blog’s 100th post, I’ll be looking back on the fastest I’ve ever visited a place after thinking “Wow, it might be nice to go there!”
[Pictures taken Sept. 24-25, 2013]
After visiting Fukuroda Falls, we headed toward our next destination–Hitachi Seaside Park.
The park includes an amusement park, gardens of flowers, and lots of places for children and families to enjoy a day out. It’s really big, so you might want to allow yourself some time to walk from one thing to the next so you don’t have to rush. When it gets late, a voice will come on loudspeakers broadcasting all over the park warning you that you have a half hour till closing time.
Almost as soon as we entered the park, we found something we weren’t expecting!
Pumpkins! Beautiful round, plump, orange pumpkins! I don’t know where the park got them from, because the pumpkins were just sitting out there on the lawn and there wasn’t any pumpkin patch. The kabocha pumpkins you can get in Japan are smaller, and green. Since Japan doesn’t have a Halloween tradition, you don’t really carve kabocha. In last year’s elementary school Halloween presentation, I showed kids pictures of these big orange pumpkins at pumpkin farms, and they were so astonished at how the pumpkins are big and orange, and how you can carve them in so many ways. It was so cool to actually find these pumpkins in Japan! I was so happy T^T A pumpkin patch, just in time for Halloween and the fall season…
On a side note, we found some in Tokyo the next day, too, on our way to Rikugien Park:
We couldn’t spend too much time enjoying the pumpkins, because it was late afternoon, and the cosmos were waiting!
A little further on, and we reached a red, orange, and yellow gradation scale of flowers!
Not far off is another field, this time with white flowers that I think were also cosmos.
And finally, after a long walk (because this park is so big), we arrived at our intended destination: the kokia hill!
Kokia plants are apparently called “bassia scoparia” or “Kochia Scoparia,” but the Japanese name “kokia” is shorter and cuter, so I’ll stick with that. As it gets more into October, the kokia plants start turning pink! I came here early, so they were mostly in the green stage still, but you can see a few starting to turn pink towards the top!
There’s a sign at the top with a short quiz:
“Why do the kokia that were green in the summer turn red in the fall? ① Because they get angry, ② Because they change color in fall, ③ Because they’re in love.” ^^
Setting the date for this trip and planning it were a little late, and so I didn’t really have time to plan it until the weekend before I left. I found this helpful blog post done by the Ibaraki Tourism Association that gave information about this park, explained the timing for going to see the kokia plants, and showed pictures that made me want to go! In reading that…I developed a little dream of going that came true a couple days after it formed (haha).
From the top of the hill, you can see the ocean. There’s some sort of industry set up there, so it’s not purely beach, but it’s still the ocean!
The flowers blooming at this park in large numbers change completely based on the time of year, so I think this park will look completely different when the kokia turn red, or it’s spring and the tulips are blooming.