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Goin’ Japanesque!

My Visit to Harima Chuo Park – Beautiful Nature of Hyogo Prefecture

Sakura (cherry) may be the first Japanese flower to come to the mind of many. But Japanese people actually enjoy various other flowers specific to each season as well. Harima Chuo Park in Hyogo Prefecture, which I am going to introduce to you here, is exactly the kind of place where people come and enjoy all kinds of seasonal flowers all year round.

 

Rose Garden in Harima Chuo Park

播磨中央公園

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View from the Garden Front (Writer’s Photo)

Harima Chuo Park, located in Kato City, Hyogo Prefecture, is surrounded by greeneries and even has some lakes within its site. It is such an extraordinarily large park; equivalent in size to about 80 times of Tokyo Dome. It also features sports facilities and an outdoor stage. Ever since its opening in 1978, the park has provided resting spots for locals and attracted both adults and children. People come visit the park even from remote areas to enjoy cycling and picnicking within its vast site while admiring the grand nature.

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Red Roses Blooming at the Park Entrance (Writer’s Photo)

I visited the park in May. It was the season of the annual “Spring Rose Festival” for the park, when you can enjoy many kinds of roses in full bloom at gardens around the park. From most common red roses to rare yellow ones, roses are so much varied in colors and shapes and there are total of over 1,300 kinds of roses. The park had many of them and I could see yellow and purple roses which you wouldn’t be able to find at many other places.

 

History of Roses in Japan

Roses may not seem like a flower typical to Japan. But did you know that the birthplace of rose is actually Japan? While the genetic improvement of roses started in Europe, the original species of roses is said to have been imported from Asia (Middle East, China and Japan). As it is even mentioned in Japan’s oldest song book (Man-Yo Shu), roses must have been known to Japanese people since 1,000 years ago or earlier. The flower is so widely accepted by Japanese people today that there is even a prefecture (Ibaraki Prefecture) which has designated rose as its symbol flower.

Some roses bloom only once a year while other kinds bloom in each of four seasons. The ones you can find at Harima Chuo Park are the kind that blooms only once a year. But most of the roses available in the market commonly bloom at about 60 day intervals. So you can enjoy roses at any time through the year.

 

Spend Some Luxurious Time at the Park!

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Observatory Park Overlooking the Whole Park (Writer’s Photo)

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Walking Path in the Park (Writer’s Photo)

Harima Chuo Park features not only flower gardens but also walking paths and sports facilities. So you can visit this park for cycling, picnicking and various other fun purposes.

 

The park is also always busy with many events held all around the year; you can enjoy about 1,000 cherry trees in full bloom at Sakura Festival in early April; “Harichu No Hi” held around November features dances and other performances on the outdoor stage.

Bring yourself out of the urban setting of Tokyo and come visit Hyogo to enjoy the great nature of Japan! My trip to the park was really soul soothing and wonderful!

Access: Map
90 Minutes by Expressway Bus Bound for Nishiwaki from JR Sannomiya Station
2 km Walk from Takino Station of JR Kakogawa Line

Related: Enjoy Roses and the Japanese Garden in Tokyo: Kyu Furukawa Teien

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