The scrubby little kochia plants, otherwise known as summer cypress, are not much to look at for most of the year, but at the end of the wet season they take on an extraordinary brilliant red color, lending them the name “Burning bush.”
In Hitachinaka City at the Hitachi Seaside Park, a vast stretch of rolling hills is jam-packed with the vivid crimson bushes that sway with the breeze, with whimsical Oz-like roads winding throughout. Outside of the park, kochia is more often gathered for the more mundane purpose of making brooms, but the park takes advantage of how spectacular it can be when planted in such abundance.
The park’s gentle slopes are full of flowering plants year round, often in enormous, monochromatic displays, and is also famous for its blue nemophilas, flowers with transparent blue petals. Overlooking it all is a looming ferris wheel.
Know Before You Go
To get to the park from Tokyo, take the JR Joban Line super express “Hitachi” to Katsuta Station. From Katsuta Station take the local bus from bus stop #1 and get off at Kaihin-Koen-Nishiguchi. Note, Japan's wet season lasts from the beginning of June to mid-July, so if planning to see the kochi plants in bloom, make sure to plan your trip accordingly.