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 colors.
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 to Japan is that there’s seriously an endless amount of beauty to see and discover. It’s overwhelming.
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 into 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 halfway 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.
On what date and month did you visit the park?
Im planning to visit the park to enjoy the Kochia bush either end of October or beginning of November and i want to know if the Kochia bush will still worth the visit.
I went on October 17th. It was actually a little past its peak, I’d recommend going a little earlier or monitoring the blooms.
It was fun but it depends on how long you’re in Tokyo for as to whether or not it’s worth the visit. November I fear may be too late, but every season is different. I checked on instagram actually to monitor the blooms. Hashtag #kochia, etc and you can check up on recent pics to see what it looks like. Hope this helps!
I think this place is lovely, or maybe your photo shooting skills are remarkable, but I probably won’t travel 2 hours away from Tokyo just to see this as a tourist. So, thanks for coming here and taking the lovely photos, now I get to visit this place without actually coming 😉
I think I’ve been in Japan for too long because 2 hours day trips are the total norm. Kinda on the shorter end of my journeys lol. Though I think traveling by train is always a lot easier and even enjoyable when you have something to read or enjoy the scenery. That’s one of my favorite parts of traveling I think. The park has some impressive botanical sights year round though so if you’re into gardens or flowers, then it’s totally worth the trip :).