A walk through hidden hydrangea near Yokosuka Naval Base at Hayama Shiosai Park

Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi
Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

A walk through hidden hydrangea near Yokosuka Naval Base at Hayama Shiosai Park

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

We’ve finally reached the middle of rainy season where not only is it raining a lot, but the heat and humidity might also be making you sweat buckets. For many, this is probably the worst of all of the seasons in Japan, but what I like most about this season is all of the beautiful flowers that bloom during this time.

A walk through your neighborhood or local park will give you the opportunity to see the many irises, lotus and hydrangea that only appear this time of year. Not as gorgeous or famous as the spring’s cherry blossoms, these modest and elegant beauties bring vivid colors to the drab overcast weather.

A great escape for those eager to get outdoors is Hayama Shiosai Park, a short 30-minute drive from Yokosuka Naval Base. This park is tucked away and less crowded making it a great place to practice social distancing from people and see the flower gardens up close.

Beyond its many blossoms, the park played an important role during the Showa Era when it was used as the Hayama Imperial Villa Annex where Emperor Hirohito succeeded to the throne in 1926.

I visited this impressive park with my wife recently and saw many beautiful hydrangeas. The park offers free parking and is also host to a traditional Japanese garden, a 10-foot-tall “Fukei-no-taki” waterfall and an open terrace facing Isshiki Beach.

The park also has a small museum featuring exhibits on the local marine life. What makes this exhibit unique, however, is that it is made up of Emperor Hirohito’s collection. The late emperor was a keen marine biologist himself and spent time in Hayama studying marine creatures during his reign.

So, next time you’re looking for a quiet place to visit and enjoy this rainy season, visit Hayama Shiosai Park. Come for the hydrangeas and other seasonal flowers but stay for the history and other surprises the park has to offer. The hydrangea season ends in late July, so make plans soon!

Hayama Shiosai Park

Address: 2123-1 Isshiki, Hayama Town, Miura-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture (a 30-minute drive from Yokosuka Naval Base)
Hours: Tue – Sun, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission: Adults 300 yen, elementary and middle schoolers 150 yen. Free parking.
Information: 046-876-1140 https://trip.pref.kanagawa.jp/destination/hayama-shiosai-park/334

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