Perhaps, one of your goals when planning a trip to the land of the rising sun is to see its famous Japanese cherry blossoms. But did you know that other destinations in Japan can also steal your breath, and nature-loving heart, away? Get ready to feast your eyes on these stunning landscapes and flower fields, whether you’re down south in Kyushu or up to snowy Hokkaido!
1. Tulips at Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki Prefecture
If you happen to be in the Kyushu region, Nagasaki is one of the best flower destinations in Japan. The prefecture’s Huis Ten Bosch is its largest theme park, which features European architecture and over 700,000 tulips! Stepping into this dreamland is like visiting the Netherlands that Dutch tourists will surely feel right at home!
The Flower Road, Amsterdam Square and the Huis Ten Bosch Palace are the three main tulip-viewing spots inside the park. Aside from all sorts of tulip varieties, the park also has roses, hydrangeas and sunflowers. You can also check in one of its many hotels if you plan to stay the night for the much-awaited annual Tulip Festival.
- Location: 1-1 Huis Ten Bosch Machi, Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture 859-3292
- Best time: February to April
2. Wisteria at Shirai Omachi Fuji Park, Hyogo Prefecture
Hyogo prefecture of the Kansai region is home to the mesmerising Shirai Omachi Fuji Park. Inside its grounds is a 500m long pergola or trellis covered with 150 wisteria saplings. Being in the park is like walking in a tunnel draped in beautiful purple, pink and white blooms.
Surrounded by mountains, the park is the perfect spot to get a glimpse and feel of the Japanese countryside. Taking a break at one of its log benches or stopping by its watermill and pond areas is just as calming. The month of May is wisteria’s blooming season. However, you can also visit the park in April to see its 6500 square meter site covered in daffodils. The park lights up at night, too, making it even more magical.
- Location: 1008 Wadayamacho Shirai, Asago, Hyogo Prefecture 669-5220
- Best time: April to May
3. Shibazakura at Fuji Motosuko Resort, Yamanashi Prefecture
In case you’ve missed taking snapshots of the famous Japanese cherry blossoms, the shibazakura or pink moss phlox at Fuji Motosuko Resort is just as pink and stunning. This flower park in Yamanashi prefecture of the Chubu region sits right at the base of the majestic Mt Fuji.
With six varieties and over 800,000 shibazakuras growing in the area, the 2.4-hectare land quickly gets covered in pink flowers in May. On a clear day, you can effortlessly put Mt Fuji and the pink carpeted fields in one frame! If you come here during the Fuji Shibazakura Matsuri, tourists can look forward to stress-relieving footbaths and local treats to eat.
- Location: 212 Motosu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi 401-0337
- Best time: April to May
4. Blue Nemophilas at Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki Prefecture
One of the must-see destinations in Japan is the Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki, about 150km northeast of Tokyo. Come here sometime mid-April to witness its famous sea of nemophilas or baby blue eye flowers covering the Miharashi Hill. The view is exceptional, especially when all 4.5 million blue flowers blend in beautifully with the sky. The narcissus, tulip, roses, grassland and herb gardens inside the 350-hectare park are equally stunning.
However, if you cannot make it in springtime, you can still visit the park for its Kochia Carnival. During fall, the park’s Kochia bushes, also known as summer cypress, turn a fiery shade of red and orange. They look like mounds of cleaning brushes running along the hillsides. Make sure to visit its restaurants, souvenir shop, cycling trails and theme park as well.
- Location: 605-4 Onuma-aza, Mawatari, Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki
- Best time: April to May (nemophila) and September to October (Kochia)
5. Sunflowers at Himawari no Sato, Hokkaido
If sunflowers make you happy, then a trip to Hokkaido’s Himawari no Sato will have you jumping for joy! Located in the small town of Hokuryu, this 23-hectare park is a sight to behold every summertime. Visit it in early August to see its 1.5 million sunflowers in full bloom.
Hailed as the biggest sunflower garden in the country, it’s also among the top destinations in Japan for its Himawari Matsuri (sunflower festival). Here, you can enjoy the garden by going through its life-size sunflower maze or admire the sights while standing atop the hill. During the festival, you’ll experience fireworks display, dances and singing performances, apart from enjoying authentic Japanese meals, shopping, cycling and taking lots of beautiful photos.
- Location: 143-2 Itaya, Hokuryu-cho, Uryu-gun 078-2511, Hokkaido
- Best time: July to August
6. Lavender at Farm Tomita, Hokkaido
Farm Tomita in the town of Furano is yet another essential stop if you’re staying in Hokkaido. One of its iconic (and most photographed) spots is the orderly rows of flowers in the Iridori Field that mimic the rainbow. But what makes this place exceptional is the sight and relaxing fragrance of its 5-hectare lavender bushes at the Sakiwai Field.
About four varieties of lavender grow on the farm. Every August, farmers harvest the violet blooms to extract their essence and make lavender oil. You can even witness the entire process while touring the farm’s distillery and perfume workshop. Lavender oil is an essential ingredient for making several of its award-winning products like soaps. But what you shouldn’t miss is their delicious lavender ice cream. With virtually every guest walking with a cone of the soft-served treat, you don’t want to be left out!
- Location: 5 Kisenkita, Nakafurano-cho, Sorachi-gun, Hokkaido 071-0704
- Best time: June to August
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