If there's one flower festival that I would love to visit before I die, it's Nemophila at Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki. I had always wanted to come here but like Sakura, the blooming period is really short and it's usually in early May (during Golden Week, which means, tons of tourists, and high rocket price of everything in Japan)
And even worse than Sakura, you can only find these blue flowers spread only in this park. As for Sakura, even if you're late by a week or so, you still could go to mountain or northern part of Japan to see their pink flowers. Nemophila is different. And this year they're blooming 2 weeks earlier than usual (and other flowers as well) which by no time I quickly adjusted my schedule to visit my dream flower park
HOW TO GET THERE
- The journey will take you around 2-2.5 hours from Tokyo
- Take any line to the limited express train bound for Katsuta that's available in Ueno, Tokyo, and Shinagawa. For me, my place is closer to Ueno so I depart from there
- It is around 80-90 mins to Katsuta Station, and go down to the bus station to purchase round trip bus fare including the park's ticket. I don't recommend walking there because it would take you 1 hour. The bus will take you straight to the park's gate in 20 mins (only available during peak season)
I had to walk around 15 mins before reaching the Nemophila Garden and what I saw before my eyes are blue flowers with a clear blue sky. Basically, just powdery blue that feels like a dream (but with reality, tourists lol)
I had never seen something like that before and I was sooooo happy to finally check another list in my life
It's impossible to not take any pictures. Take your time and be patient because there would be thousands of tourists doing the same thing at your spot. Especially for me who's solo traveling and only relying on tripod and timer, it's so tricky and I was afraid someone would bump into my camera and destroy it. I would recommend you to visit as early as possible, 9.30 a.m is where the park's open and I'm sure there would be fewer tourists. I arrived around 12.30 and it's definitely not a good time to take pictures without being distracted
There were a few dramas involved in the day
1. I lost sight of direction. Ueno is supposed to be only 4 stops away from my place, but I kept going back and forth on the same line because I was confused which direction it was. Was it reverse or clockwise? So I spent 45-50 mins getting on and off lol
2. I forgot to reserve a ticket for the limited express. All limited express trains bound for Katsuta requires a reservation and I had to move 2 times because there'll come notification light on top of your seat that the seat is reserved for the next stop. I made sure I didn't make mistake on my return journey hence I had it reserved and luckily I did. The train was full and some people had to stand around 1.5 hours to Tokyo!
3. Jackpot drama is, I forgot my wallet. I thought I lost it on the train but I believed no one really pickpocket in Japan and my coat's pocket is pretty deep. Which turned out yeah, I found my wallet at home. I realized it when I was about to pay for my bus fare ticket to Hitachi Seaside Park and only found my coin wallet that consisted of 200-300 yen lol
I was thinking either to walk to the park (6km) or just go back home (and not return, because the total return journey would be around 4 hours and it'd be too late to take pictures). In the desperate mode, I was standing in front of JR stations while looking at tourists groups pass by. I even thought to approach one of them whether they would like to hire me as a photographer as long as I could pay for my ticket and bus fare lol
And in the middle of chaos, I quickly approached Indonesian Tourists and abruptly said, "I am sorry I forgot my wallet and I need 2000 yen to buy ticket and lunch at the park. Can I buy your 2000 yen and I'll transfer to your BCA via internet banking?"
If someone approached me like that, I would think that person's trying to scam me or hypnotize me or what lol I know how fishy it sounds. I mean, who the hell forget their wallet when traveling right??
Turned out the tourists were a daughter and mother from Surabaya, and they're willing to share me their 2000 yen which I successfully transferred the rupiah through my digibank app in 2 mins. (Thank you Digibank, Thank you Internet, Thank you Indonesian's hospitality, Thank You, God)
So yeah, this blog post is existent in the pile of chaos and debt lol
I owe them this blog post!
As for the foods, there were a few stalls and restaurants inside the park. The park itself was pretty big with Tulip Garden and Rose Garden, including mini theme park (I wanna ride the ferris wheel next time!). There's also bicycle rental and basically a good getaway from Tokyo to enjoy a little bit of nature
I had myself a japanese hamburg set with Karage for 950 yen. I didn't touch my phone while I was eating, and basically enjoyed the landscape, trees, weather, and everything around me instead of being online. It was a bliss
I would love to come back here again next year if the schedule allows, and better maybe with friends. As for now, my tripod and phone (as timer) is sufficient
See you guys again on my next post!