Everything pink at Shibazakura – flower fields in Chichibu

(See page 2 for the German version)

I have already been to the Chichibu region in Saitama Prefecture a few times for hiking, but this time I left my hiking boots at home, as after all, we wanted to go and see some flower fields on that sunny Sunday morning in April. To be honest, I have never been interested that much in flowers, when living in Germany. Although there could be found beautiful flowers in the parks or castle gardens that I visited, too, I never ever travelled somewhere only for the flowers! In Japan though that is different. Here flowers can attract several thousands of visitors, – and by that I mean not only the cherry blossom trees in April-, and on weekends or on public holidays you can often find long queues of people waiting in front of well promoted parks. This might be due to Japan’s strategic-creative colorful planting, or simply because the typical Japanese person generally knows much more about plants and their blooming period than your typical German (or me in particular…) does.

Long story short, so a few days ago we made our way to some famous flower fields close to Tokyo. There we wanted to see the all the splendor of the pink ‚Shibazakura‚ – flowers (moss phlox) in Hitsujiyama Park  (羊山 公園, literally translated as ‘sheep hill park’) in Chichibu. It took us about two hours to get from Tokyo to Yokoze station, and from there it was another 15 minute walking through a cozy rural area. The park itself, with its 9 flower varieties and allegedly more than 400,000 flowers that bloom from mid-April to early May, was very beautiful to look at with its picturesque scenery. However, it was quite small and the numbers of visitors nevertheless very large, so it could become a bit stressful, and, when coming all the way from Tokyo it is advisable to also look into other sightseeing options nearby. All in all it was a nice little day trip, but for more spectacular views you might consider visiting the flower fields close to Mt. Fuji instead  , – although beware of the even larger crowds of visitors there ;).

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