This Japanese Flower Festival Almost Doesn’t Look Real
Japan in the springtime is a flowerstalker’s dream.
There are the world-famous cherry blossoms opening their petals across the country; there are fairy tale-style tunnels of wisteria in Kitakyushu's Kawachi Fuji Gardens. And then there is the bloom happening at Hitsujiyama Park in the Fuji Five Lakes region, where vivid swaths of flowering moss carpet the ground in swirls of magentas and lavenders.
If you can’t make it this season, we’ve gathered some of the most stunning photos of past years’ blooms below. Scrolling is just one letter away from strolling, after all.
The Fuji Festival
The largest pink moss display is located at Fuji Motosuko Resort around Ryujin-ike Pond, just south of Lake Motosu.
Meet the Moss
Shibazakura is a perennial moss (often called moss phlox) originally native to North America. Until the end of May, it will bloom with tiny pink, white, red, or purple flowers that bear a resemblance to cherry blossoms. Because it’s also a creeper plant, which grows to cover the ground like a lawn, it was given the Japanese name “lawn cherry,” (shiba-zakura).
When to Go
The festival’s website indicates an April 15 start this year, but the Shibazakura may not reach full bloom for a few more weeks. In past years, early May has been the best bet for seeing the flowers in all of their swirling pink-and-purple splendor.
Almost a Million Blooms
There are several other pink moss festivals in the area, but this one cultivates an estimated 800,000 shibazakura, more than anywhere else in the Greater Tokyo region.
Beauty in the Details
The festival uses five varieties of shibazakura to create its elaborate designs: two different shades of pink, a soft purple, two types of white, and a pink-and-white-pinstriped petal.
A Mini Mt. Fuji
There’s even a miniature version of Mt. Fuji made of shibazakura, with the five lakes included.
Beat the Crowds
According to Japan-Guide.com, the festival grounds are most crowded on weekends and during Golden Week holidays.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
The paths through the blooming fields of moss are well-prepared, but not able to be paved due to national park regulations, so the festival’s website suggests wearing comfy walking shoes instead of any type of heel.
Time Your Visit
It’s generally advisable to go early in the morning — the grounds open at 8:00 a.m. — but afternoon light is often more ideal for photos.
Selfies Are Encouraged
But this year, pets are not allowed to join.
A Birds-eye View
There are constructed viewing decks to provide more expansive views of the floriculture and Mt. Fuji on the horizon, especially on clear days.
How to Get There
The festival’s website details how to get there by train, bus, or car, and warns that the roads around the site can get quite congested during the season. It’s approximately a two-hour drive from Tokyo — depending, of course, on traffic conditions. Visitors are encouraged to use public transportation whenever possible.
Pretty in Pink
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