This is why I went to Hitachi Seaside Park last Sunday.
These are kochia. In the spring these bush-like plants are bright green, but as fall arrives, they turn a brilliant bright red color. The peak season is right about now. It was raining on Sunday, but honestly, the weather made for the perfect park exxperience: cool temps for walking around the massive park, and far less crowds than you normally have this time of year. There was one Eastern European family and one Indian family besides me and my fellow US friend – everyone else was Japanese. Clearly this was a special treat that most non-Japanese tourists were not aware of. It took some doing to get there, but definitely an exciting place. Jump to after the cut to see a picture heavy post on the wonder that is Hitachi Seaside Park.
To get to the park from Tokyo required us to take a JR train from Ueno station about and hour and twenty minutes to Katsuta. That part is easy enough and the ticket staff usually speak enough English to get you through the experience. When you exit Katsuta station there is a bus terminal outside. The second “station” is the bus to Hitachi Seaside Park – the English stops here. It’s a 400 JPY ride (~$4) to the park and the good news is that the bus stop is right at the park entrance so you cannot miss it. The bus back to the train station leaves from the same spot, so super easy.
Buy your 410JPY (~$4) entrance ticket from the vending machine and welcome to the park! They have English maps, but none of the signs are in English so it is really actually best to grab one in English and one in Japanese so you can match up the Kanji to figure out where to go. That or just start roaming around; you really cannot pick a “bad”direction.
We went to the kochia hillside first. It was the one truly packed part of the park.
From the top of the hill is the highest point of elevation in the area and you can take in views of the ocean – it IS a seaside park after all. 😉
And of course you have to take the obligatory selfie, right?
There is also an amusement park, BMX course (??) and a “mini golf”course which was literally just a small version of an adult golf course. We saw some random sculptures in the forest that looked like giant olives. There were also absolutely massive spiders. Really, what doesn’t Hitachi Seaside Park have? Why, they even had a crazy number of dogs being pushed in strollers. Good for you Japan.
We didn’t have time to go to the main restaurant, so instead we had corn dogs to start the adventure (actually really tasty), and then some “snacks” – chicken nuggets with fresh, real chicken, and fries.
In Japan you have to scan your ticket when you enter the station and then scan it when you exit – but they take your ticket, so make sure to snap a picture if you want to remember that piece!
Definitely a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to go through the proper camera pictures when I get home. It’s worth the trek out there for such a unique experience.