Magnificent Fields of Flowers Color Aizu’s Seasons.
Aizu is home to numerous popular flower-viewing sites. Representative among them are the weeping cherry trees of the Nicchu Line Memorial Cycling and Walking Path, which appear like a waterfall of blossoms.
Here is a guide to recommended flower fields, each bursting with seasonal blossoms, in all parts of Aizu
An awe-inspiring scale
With some 2.5 million plants, Sannokura Kogen Sunflower Field is one of the largest sunflower fields in Tohoku. Its mountainside location offers a panoramic view of the Aizu Basin from the north.
Sarugakudai Buckwheat Field is the largest buckwheat field in terms of cultivated area in Japan. After the flowering season has ended, the seeds are ground and used in Aizu’s popular soba dishes.
With human help, even the flowers that are so lovely to see in the wild can become magnificent flower fields. Aizu has a number of picturesque areas that are magnificent places to view seasonal blooming. As the seasons change, flowers seemingly compete with each other vast tracts of land. Here are a few popular flower-viewing areas that will leave you enraptured.
First, there is the Nicchu Line Memorial Cycling and Walking Path of Kitakata City. In spring, roughly three kilometers of the path becomes a world of pink cherry tree blossoms swaying in the breeze. The path, which is closed to vehicular traffic, was once a railroad track. It is lined with some 1,000 weeping cherry trees and is one of Aizu’s finest spots for cherry blossom viewing. The lush fragrance to be enjoyed during a leisurely stroll under the blossoms will undoubtedly delight both the mind and body.
A spot that has seen increasing popularity in recent years is the Sannokura Kogen Sunflower Field in northern Kitakata City. The field is situated on an eight-hectare hill that becomes a ski resort during the winter. It is an alpine flower-viewing spot that offers a captivating contrast between the seemingly endless field of large sunflowers and the Aizu Basin spreading out in the distance.
Take a flower-hunting tour through Aizu.
At Isasumi Shrine’s Ayame-en, some 100,000 blooming irises of 150 varieties compete for visitors’ attention during the June rainy season. A month-long “iris festival” is held at this time.
The Nikko day lilies of the Mt. Oguni marshland are alpine plants that bloom in a caldera lake that was formed by volcanic activity some 500,000 years ago. The flowers bloom in large communities that cover the marshland.
Once land that was reclaimed as national farmland, Sarugakudai Buckwheat Field is a vast plateau of some 40 hectares that spreads out at the base of Mt. Mikura, on the eastern side of Shimogo Town. With nearby elevations in the 600- to 700-meter range and large differences between warm and cool temperatures, it is perfectly suited for the cultivation of delicious buckwheat (soba). Each year, for about two weeks between the end of August and early September, the area becomes a carpet of flowers. Here, in this mountain setting, ten minutes from town by car and miles away from society’s hustle and bustle, lovely white flowers sway under a bright blue sky, with the only sound being the breeze.
In Japan, irises bloom in June, during Japan’s long rainy season. Aizumisato Town’s Ayame-en is located right in front of the grand Isasumi Shrine, which is reported to have been established 2,000 years ago. Here some 100,000 irises of 150 varieties can be seen blooming in a colorful assortment of purples, whites, yellows, and pinks. The presence of so many varieties results in a slightly spread-out blooming period, meaning that blooming flowers can be enjoyed for about one month.
A marshland inside a caldera at the top of Mt. Oguni, which straddles the border between Kitashiobara Village and Kitakata City, is a treasure trove of wetland flowers. For this reason, it is designated a natural monument of Japan. Among the flowers that grow there is the Nikko day lily, which looks like a small light orange lily and grows in large wild communities. Many tourists visit the area during the blooming season in early July. The primary way of getting around is on boardwalks, so wearing flat-bottomed shoes is a must.