Kochia in Japan
Recently I traveled to Ibaraki Prefecture 茨城県 in Japan to view the fields of Kochia fire bush. It was an area very much worth going to, at least for the shots alone. Fortunately, it was also a really beautiful day with blue skies and a few white clouds hanging overhead to give me precisely what I wanted in my photos – lots of vivid color.
I first heard about these incredible little red Dr. Seuss plants late last year and I was really bummed I missed it for almost three straight years while living in Japan. I seem to discover random, amazing sites all over the country quite often here in Japan. The general rule of traveling Japan is that there’s seriously an endless amount of beauty to see and discover. It’s overwhelming.
Getting to Hitachi Seaside Park
The journey from Tokyo is easy. It’s about 2 hours or so to Hitachi Seaside Park so it’s definitely a doable day trip. The size of the park surprised me as well. It’s quite vast.
After taking the train to Katsuta station, I arrived and easily found the bus to Kaihin Koen Nishiguchi, or Hitachi Seaside Park. The ride lasted about 20 minutes as it took us through the small city. Japanese towns always look the same to me.
And after a few times of embarrassing myself by almost falling on the bus with its sudden breaking stops, I hopped off and paid my 300 yen bus ticket once we arrived at the park.
Admission to Hitachi Seaside Park
The ticket price to get in to the park itself was only around 500 yen. So I threw my stuff into a coin locker and set off for the Kochia fields.
My Day at the Park
The weather was absolutely immaculate. Did I mention that already?? Because it was. After about a 12 minute walk, I reached the fields, but not before I got a little too distracted taking pictures of some autumn colors and managing to drop my hat. I went back for it a few minutes later, but was surprised I couldn’t find it anywhere. A sweet little old Japanese couple smiled and pointed to their heads and I said “boshi?” They nodded and pointed and said something about an “otokonoko” taking it. That’s a man! Why would a man take my hat??? They pointed to a man with a blue sweater about one hundred meters in the distance and even walked with me half way to meet him before I thanked them and ran off to grab my hat!
My first impression of the Kochia fields was a little disappointing. It’s really quite easy to snap surreal photos of this place, but the mounds of Kochia weren’t quite as tall or as impressive as I imagined. But still, the colors were fascinating and the landscape was still surreal.
I always travel with a DSLR, a film camera, and a tripod. And of course a remote for taking pictures of myself. (eck no not selfies!) I got some great shots of the landscape and of myself before calling it quits for lunch. After wandering around the Kochia, I sat next to a field of flowers which was arguably just as beautiful. Sitting there in the gorgeous field of flowers, basking under the sun while eating an apple, I couldn’t help but feel grateful. I stayed for a few hours before heading home, but not before stopping at a local coffee shop next door to Katsuta station where I grabbed a delicious hot chocolate to go.
I really love Japan.