By Samuel Smith
Published: Thursday, November 21, 2019
When you think of Japan, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s the buzzing city streets of Shibuya, awash with neon lights.
Or maybe your stomach takes over, concocting images of fresh sushi and steaming bowls of ramen. You might even be swept up in the mysticism of Kyoto and its ancient temples.
Chances are, tropical beaches, glistening snow fields and gigantic golden sand dunes aren’t on your radar.
But they should be.
Outside sprawling metropolises like Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka, natural beauty shines.
Follow the trail less travelled and discover 5 of Japan’s most stunning natural wonders.
1. Hitachi Seaside Park
Just outside the city of Hitachinaka, an ever-changing blanket of wildflowers stretches across the beautiful Ibaraki coast.
The 350-hectare Hitachi Seaside Park changes colour with the seasons. In spring, thousands of nemophila – affectionately nicknamed baby blue eyes – mimic clear, sunny skies, while in autumn, a sea of spindly kochia bushes turn from green to blood-red.
The best times to visit Hitachi Seaside Park are from April to mid-May, and early to mid-October. Stroll along one of the park’s many criss-crossing paths, taking in a floral kaleidoscope of colours and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
How to get there: To get to Hitachi Seaside Park from Tokyo, take a Joban Line train to Katsuta Station, then transfer to a bus. The trip will take just over 2 hours.