One of the best places to see shibazakura is in Chichibu, Saitama, at the annual Shibazakura Festival in Hitsujiyama Park – stunning landscape as a backdrop, the park presents a gorgeous spring floral paradise, perfectly fit for a day out with your friends and family — and your camera awaits you.
Shibazakura, also known as moss phlox, is a type of flower that covers the ground and, with petals resembling cherry blossom flowers, the plant wins the honorable title of “sakura lawn.” In other words, instead of growing on trees like the rest of the pretty pinks, it covers your way, making you walk like a true lady on an endless floral carpet.
A hugely popular annual event is held, known as the Chichibu Shibazakura Festival features some 400,000 fully bloomed moss phlox arranged in various shapes and swirls that stretch over four acres of the Shibazakura Hill, creating a scene right out of a painting which displays the beautiful gradation colours from fairly to vivid pink.
The festival invites you to take a stroll around the shibazakura fields blooming in all colorful spring colors, or sit back and relax on the benches to enjoy the majestic Mount Buko landscape backdrop encompassing the park. Apart from shibazakura, the park is also famous for its tulips, plums, and cherry blossom trees scattered all over the park to fulfill all your flower-viewing fantasies in a single experience.
Hitsujiyama Park is not only ridiculously easy to get to from Tokyo, but the surrounding area also offers a range of unique sights and activities that mean you can really make the most of a jaunt to the Japanese countryside.
The best time to see moss phlox in Chichibu is from mid-April to around Golden Week. There is also the Shiba Zakura Festival, and it is crowded as soon as the stores open up.
Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays since late April will be crowded and the road to parking lots around Shiba Zakura no Oka will be congested, so I recommend using public transportation on such days.
To get there, the park is situated in a small town called Ozora Town in Abashiri District and just take the “Red Arrow” train from Ikebukuro Station to Seibu-Chichibu Station. It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes and costs ¥1,480 each way (¥780 for the standard fare, ¥700 for the express surcharge ticket) with trains leaving once every 30 minutes. All seats on the train are reserved so you need to purchase the express surcharge ticket at the ticket machines before boarding.
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