When Sakura season ends, another one begins. Hugging the shoreline of the Pacific in Ibaraki Prefecture’s Hitachinaka City lies another sapphire sea. The Baby Blue Eyes, Nemophila, garden blooms every year around mid-April in Hitachi Seaside park. These delicate treasures attract both locals and travelers every spring to revel in the azure gaze.
It’s hard to believe the Hitachi Seaside Park used to be an airfield. Just 30 years ago, Hitachinaka City transformed the natural sand dunes into rolling hills and crisscrossing pathways of delight. Entering the park from the West “Wing” Gate, so named for its birdlike-shape, daffodils and narcissus welcome you with their bright faces. More than 100 types bloom and fade in their own short, seasonal lives. You might also get a chance to see Yae Sakura, similar to Sakura but they have double the blossoms and bloom a little later. It only takes 7 minutes to reach the Baby Blue Eyes from here, but not without stopping by the tulips first.
Over 250,000 tulips of 240 varieties grow in the Tamago no Mori Flower Garden. Dirt trails wind around and through the rainbow bulbs of brilliance. Cedars statue over the entire display casting everything into a mix of bright sunlight and soft shadow. Even the most novice photographers, like myself, can capture a scenic shot here.
Turning left and taking a trail through a tunnel of green, cries of “Ah! So amazing,” gingerly thunder through the crowds. At first, I couldn’t quite understand what I saw. At the end of the tree-lined road sat the horizon. A few steps closer and the horizon clearly became a mountain draped in cloth. A few steps closer still and I knew these were the Baby Blue Eyes in front of me, but I couldn’t see where the apex of the hill reached. The ridge melted into the sky, and only the folks standing at the top could break the camouflage.
Millions of them. Millions of little eyes. 4.5 million to be exact! An uninterrupted tapestry of blue and green surrounded us as we climbed the ribboning pathways. Quiet winds blew through the stems and the blossoms mimicked the ocean waves, which were also in plain sight. The warm currents of the Pacific and cold winters clash creating this place where northern and southern flora can grow.
Hitachinaka City began planting the Baby Blue Eyes in Hitachi Seaside Park in 2002. In the short years since, the event has become one of Ibaraki’s most well-known sights. The Baby Blue Eyes are sown every year in November, covered during the winter under a frost-free sheet, and carefully watered and weeded. They usually bloom from about mid-April to early May, but sometimes weather conditions affect the season. Now, for instance, the peak of the bloom came ten days earlier than usual. Generally, the best time to visit the Hitachi Seaside Park is April when the daffodils and tulips line up with the Baby Blue Eyes flowers.
During the 2 or 3-week peak of the Baby Blue Eyes flowers the city provides free shuttle buses from Katsuda Station. It’s fairly easy access Hitachi Seaside Park from Tokyo, but it does take some time out of your day. A one-way trip by public transportation easily takes more than two hours if you go from Tokyo. Opening hours of Hitachi Seaside Park during the Baby Blue Eyes bloom are from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Be mindful that the park is usually closed on Mondays, but opening days change during peak seasons. Please check their website carefully when planning your trip. Admission to Hitachi Seaside Park is 410 JPY for adults, 210 JPY for seniors, and 80 JPY for children under 15 years old.
If you want to avoid the trains and see more of what Ibaraki has to offer, you can book your private tour with one of our guides, including the Hitachi Seaside Park, by clicking the link below.