Do you like to plan outings in advance? Had you plans for this month (April) that came to a sudden halt with the onset of Coronavirus? Maybe you were supposed to be travelling overseas? Or domestically? Was there a concert you were supposed to go to or a get together you were really looking forward to?
Change of Plans・Coronavirus
The plans we all had, they all seem so insignificant now don’t though. We are just living day to day, doing what we can to evade Covid. And hoping and praying that things will go back to normal sooner rather than later. But I think at this rate “sooner” is at the very earliest Autumn, but realistically a year from now. And “normal” will never be the same again.
I think it is safe to say that people throughout the world have had to put at least one, if not dozens, of plans for April on hold due to the outbreak of COVID-19. I am not complaining and I will spend months without plans if that’s what it takes. But I would like to share with you what I was most looking forward to this April in terms of seasonal scenery.
Of course, we were looking forward to plenty of things such as the kids going up a grade in school (April is the start of the school year in Japan), friend’s birthday parties, camping trips and so much more. But what was number one on my list of April must see scenery was nemophilia, also known as baby blue eyes. Thankfully, due to the emergence of hundreds of free “virtual tours” online, I can enjoy the scenery from the comfort of my home. It doesn’t beat being out in nature, but it will do. Particularly given the current circumstances and the ” #stayhome movement”.
Virtual tours Japan -virtual tours is a new buzz word in the current world climate due to the novel Coronavirus Covid-19. On Google Trends the term “virtual tours” has been booming worldwide since mid March.
A virtual tour differs from a live video. A live video shows a location in the here and now. But a virtual tour is a carefully orchestrated series of still images and video, often set to music and / or narration with text. It is used to bring the tourist location to you, when you can’t get to the tourist spot yourself. In this time of Coronavirus, virtual tourism is on the increase.
There are many different type of virtual tours. Many of them are very interactive and really do take you on a virtual tour, almost as if you were there in person. The official videos for the nemophila in Japan are really only a short promotional video, but they show the nemophilia as they are this season.
Nemophilia / Baby blue eyes
Nemophilia are a flowering plant of the family Boraginaceae. They are also known as Baby Blue Eyes. They are annuals and typically bloom in spring. In Japan, they most commonly bloom for the month of April. This year, 2020, like many other seasonal flowers, they came into bloom a little earlier than normal. They are currently at prime viewing stage around the Kanto plain.
Nemophilia virtual tours Japan
Introducing official virtual tours of nemophilia, aka baby blue eyes, in the Kanto Plain. These virtual tours are very short, so you can enjoy them on a break from working and / or with a cup of coffee.
Saitama – Shinrin Park (Musashi Kyuryo National Government Park)
The Musashi Kyuryou National Government Park, most commonly called Shinrin Park, is one of Japan’s largest. It was the very first national government park in the whole of Japan. This park actually remained open during the initial closures in Japan in March. But once the State of Emergency for Saitama was issued, they closed. They closed on April 8th and it is expected they will stay closed during the period of the state of emergency which is currently set to run until May 6th. However, they haven’t specified the date on their website, only that it is “undecided”.
This short virtual tour showcases both the nemophilia and Icelandic poppies that are currently in bloom in the park.
Ibaraki – Hitachi Seaside park
Ibaraki is not one of the prefectures currently under a State of Emergency advisory. However, the Ibaraki Hitachi Seaside Park still closed to the public on April 4th 2020. The re-opening date is not yet known. It is the most famous nemophilia spot in Japan. A virtual tour of the park. Nemophilia from : 00.25 to 01:42. The tour also includes Kochia and other seasonal flowers in the park.
They also have a short virtual tour specifically of the nemophilia taken during this blooming period.
Gunma – Tobu Treasure Garden
The Tobu Treasure Garden is another flower park in the Kanto region that has seasonal nemophila. They are currently in full bloom. This is a promotion video for the park. The nemophila are shown from 01:03 to 01:39.
They may only be short videos, but they might give you an idea of places you would like to visit in the future. And if like me, you had planned to visit them this year, it gives you a glimpse of how stunning the baby blue eyes are in April 2020.
Other Parks with Nemophilia in the Kanto Area
All of these parks are also closed due to the coronavirus. Most of them, with the exception of Komorebi Mori, are expected to stay closed until after Golden week. Komorebi Mori currently plans to reopen on April 29th. That may change over the coming weeks. None of these sites currently have a virtual tour of their nemophilia.
- Showa Kinen Park in Tokyo. Currently there is no official virtual tour of the nemophilia in the park, but you can find several on Youtube such as this one by “Aruite Mitai”
- Kurihama Hana on Kuni, Kanagawa
- Komorebi Mori no Ibaraido, Ibaraki
- Soleil Hill, Kanagawa
- Nasu Flower World, Tochigi
Have you seen any nemophilia this year – either in real life or virtually? Have you been on any virtual tours during this lock down period? Any you would recommend?