Hitachinaka Seaside resort is famed for its stunning kochia. Particularly in October when they are a flaming red. It is one of the famous autumn scenes of Japan. But you don’t have to go all the way to Northern Ibaraki to view this unusual bloom. We don’t have anything on the scale of Hitachinaka, but there are a few places you can see Kochia in Saitama.
Including the ever-colorful Omiya Hana No Oka park that straddles both Ageo and Saitama Cities. Apart from the Kochia, there are several other flowers currently in bloom in the park, and they even have a pumpkin patch for the season.
Kochia is a broadleaf plant which is often called Summer cypress, Mexican fireweed (or just fireweed), ragweed or burning bush. It is of the genus Bassia, with a scientific name of Bassia scoparia. Kochia is of the herb family Amaranthaceae.
Kochia in Japan
In Japan, Kochia is a popular annual for its longevity and ornamental value. It starts as a grape green color around August. In late September it starts to change to an orangey pink followed by a flaming pink. Finally, around early October, it becomes the blood red it is adorned for.
In Northern Japan the seeds of Kochia are used as a type of dressing called tonburi. The seeds of the plant are dried, boiled and prepared as a “chinmi” or delicacy of Akita prefecture. Due to its similar appearance to caviar it has been nicknamed mountain caviar.
Omiya Hana No Oka
Omiya Hana no Oka is a small, but picturesque, flower park that is on the border of Tosaki in Ageo and Nishi ward of Saitama City. There are several flower beds in the park that are maintained by local volunteers. You can enjoy flowers all year round thanks to their continued efforts.
The park is popular with families although it only has a small and old playground. There are some nice open green spaces where you can picnic and bikes are allowed. However, please note that pets are not allowed in this park. In summer, there is a large long gradated splash pad. There is a restaurant on the Nishi ward end of the park.
Kochia in Omiya Hana no Oka
This year, 2019, some of the kochia in the park were unfortunately damaged by a typhoon in early September. However, they are still very impressive and worth a visit if you are in the area.
It is one of the few parks that has a pumpkin patch too. You can’t walk among the pumpkin, just view them from a bridge. But there are some kochia beside the giant pumpkins.
At the moment, September 28th, the kochia are beginning to change from a grape green color to an orange pink shade. They remind me of the trolls characters when they are this color!
Some are further along than others, but the vast majority are still green. They usually bloom until at least the middle of October when they are generally a flaming red color.
Omiya Hana No Oka Information
|Hours:||8 am to 6 pm|
|Address:||124 Nishiarai, Nishi Ward, Saitama City, Saitama 331-0049|
There are two buses that go to Omiya Hana No Oka, but both run infrequently. One goes to / from the west exit of Miyahara station on the Takasaki Line. It only stops at the park three times a day. The other bus is an Ageo city bus.
The park is located off route 17, the newer route not the Nakasendo way, that links Okegawa Kitamoto Interchange to the Mihashi area of Saitama City. The park is about a 20 minute drive from the Ken-o expressway Okegawa Kitamoto interchange. There are three main car parks for the park – one on the Ageo side and two on the Nishi ward side. All are free.
In the area
The unusual cafe park “Togetusen” is also in Nishi Ward, Saitama City. There are horses and cats, bonsai and art, and a choice of cafes all in a small wood on flood lands.