On the last day of the Golden Week holiday, I made a visit out to Kaihin Park. At the train station, I bought a pass for 1,100 yen (about $11) which covered a short train ride, and then from there a bus that took us another five minutes out to the park itself. The ticket also of course covered the entrance fee, so overall not a bad deal!
The park was absolutely massive. There was actually a bike rental right by the entrance because it would take all day to explore the whole area on foot. Basically, Kaihin Park has a special ground for any outdoor sport or activity that you can think of. Climbing, baseball, BMX, Frisbee, barbeques, cycling, hiking…you name it. There’s even a full on amusement park with a roller coaster and tons of other rides! There are multiple food stand areas and restaurants scattered throughout Kaihin Park as well, depending on whether you just want a quick treat, or a proper dining experience. I’ve never seen anything like it.
The main attraction at this time of year is the Nemophila flowers, which I hear are often called “baby blue eyes”. There are sprawling hills absolutely covered in these gorgeous little blue flowers. I went there right at the end of the season so there was a lot of green grass mixed in with the blue of the flowers, but at peak bloom, the hills are basically covered in a solid blue ocean of Nemophila. Apparently, they grow something like 4.5 million of them each spring. It’s quite a sight!
As I was walking down the hills, I came across an old historical farmhouse and was lucky enough to catch a traditional storytelling session. The audience was seated around a big fire pit in the middle of the floor while a lady told story after story in an authentic Fukushima dialect. Storytelling has been a huge part of Japanese culture for hundreds if not thousands of years, and it’s something that I’ve always been interested in experiencing firsthand. So, this was one of the highlights of the day for me.