It only took me 5 Golden Weeks, but I finally made it to Hitachi Seaside Park (国営ひたち海浜公園 | kokuei hitachi kaihin kouen) to see and taste the gorgeous sea blue bloom of nemophila. It was definitely worth the wait!
Though we visit my in laws several times throughout the year, and every year for Golden Week (and always hit up the Costco right across the street), it was my first time to visit the park.
Hitachi Seaside Park is a spacious, hilly garden in Hitachinaka City, right on the Pacific Ocean. It comes alive with the bloom of various flowers throughout the year.
While it attracts domestic and international visitors year round, it’s especially popular in the autumn when kochia (summer cypress) bloom, as well as in the spring, when nemophila (baby blue eyes) bloom.
As the nemophila bloom coincides with Golden Week, I expected the park to be crowded, especially as Golden Week 2019 is a 10 day affair.
However, despite full tour buses and endless stream of couples and families (and dogs), it was fairly easy to navigate Hitachi Seaside Park.
Once you’ve purchased your tickets at the entrance, you’ll see plenty of white flags waving in the wind telling you where to go, but just follow the sea of people and you’re on your way.
They were in peak bloom when we visited so you still have time to catch them before Golden Week is over. According to the park’s official website, the nemophila are in peak bloom until May 3, though you’ll still have up until May 10 or so to see the baby blue hills.
View this post on Instagram
Nemophila-Inspired Foods & Drinks of Hitachi Seaside Park
View this post on Instagram
Remember to bring cash for the drink and food vendors.
Check out Jo’s post on The Tokyo Chapter about carrying cash in Japan: Is It Really That Important to Carry Cash?
The nemophila soft serve is yogurt flavored. I was expecting it taste like ramune, or even have ramune pieces in it.
If you like boba tea, don’t waste your yen on the nemophila bubble tea. The blue isn’t that pretty and it’s a flavorless milk tea with thick cream on top.
Tulip and nemophila carbonated drinks made with a layer of peach (left) or pineapple (right) gelatin, lemon flavored soda water and lychee tapioca beads.
We had so much fun at Pleasure Garden that I forgot to try the nemophila herb tea (left) and nemophila blue latte (right) on the way out!
I wasn’t brave enough to try the deep blue curry– nor was I willing to wait in line for 30 minutes to try it. If you’re planning to try the nemophila blue curry go before lunch (11 am) or after lunch (1 pm). Otherwise, expect to wait for at least 30 minutes outside.
Here’s what we did for lunch: we went to the park at 8:45 to take photos by 9:30 and tried all the nemophila-inspired sweets by 9:45. Then, we hit Costco across the street for samples, pizza, and the 180 yen hotdog and drink combo for lunch!
Know Before You Go:
Whether you’re going by bus, train, or car, it’s definitely worth it to get there as early as possible.
The park is totally doable as a day trip from Tokyo, with access from Shinagawa (品川駅)/Ueno (上野駅) to Katsuta Station (勝田駅) via the JR Tokiwa Limited Express Train
Buses are available from Katsuta Station and there is limited parking at the park.
If going by car, park at the nearby shopping center or Costco IF you have a Costco card (security WILL check).
Dress in comfy shoes and bring a jacket, sunglass/hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and don’t forget a blanket for kiddos. No matter how sunny it is, the breeze is no joke. If it helps, dress like you’re going to Tokyo Disney.
If you’re going with kids, definitely take a stroller or trolley/wagon, even if your kids are 5/6 years old. It’s a HUGE hilly park, and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you can just cart them around. If you can, bring a tarp, blanket or tent for relaxing later.
Also there’s LOTS of dogs, so keep an eye on your kids around the dogs (even as a fur mom, I don’t trust other people’s dogs unless they are my evening walking crew. Just sayin’…)
Be prepared to wait if you want to take photos but remember to step off the path (not beyond the roped area though) to make space.
Finally, it always helps to offer to take pictures for a family or couple and they’re sure to return the favor!