Akabane Green Park dyed pale pink with cherry blossoms

Japan’s Four Seasons | Flowers of the Four Seasons


Do you know about Japan’s Four Seasons? Spring, summer, fall, and winter, Japan’s four seasons are distinctly different. They add color to our lives. At 4T-AMKY, Teachers and Students write about Japanese culture, food, history, many spots to visit, and other stuff. Enjoy reading and knowing about deeper Japanese culture!

Flowers of the Four Seasons

Changing seasons

In spring, colorful flowers bloom one after another, telling us the arrival of spring. Cherry blossom viewing is an essential spring event for the Japanese people.

The trees soon become a bright green, and in the hot summer months, we can enjoy swimming in the sea, summer festivals, and fireworks.

In fall, many crops are at their peak of harvest and we fill our bodies and souls with delicious food. As the temperature difference increases, the autumn leaves turn brilliant red and yellow and are mesmerizing.

In winter, despite the cold weather, there are skiing and snow festivals to enjoy. There are also various events to conclude the year and welcome the New Year.

I find great charm in changing seasons, with different kinds of flowers blooming and the colors of the trees changing with each season. A nearby park truly allowed me to experience this. It is Akabane Green Park “Nature Observation Park” located in Kujicho, Hitachi City, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Akabane Green Park

Akabane Green Park was opened in 2003 as a collaborative effort between Hitachi City and the Akabane Green Park Protection Association, a group of citizen volunteers. It is a basin surrounded by wooded hills. Before it was developed, the area was left as a wasteland and no one would approach it.

The total area is 7.3 hectares. In the center of the green park is a pond with reeds and cattails. This entire green park is a biotope (a habitat for wild creatures) and a place for citizens to relax.

Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing)

Just walking in Akabane Green Park is refreshing and healing. Viewing seasonal blooms, listening to the chirping of birds, and walking amid the forest’s fragrance, is truly Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing).

I visited there many times throughout the year and was fascinated by the scenery of blooming flowers that I encountered each time I visited. Though it is the same place, the green park shows a different look with each visit, each day, and each season. I think this is also thanks to Japan’s four distinct seasons.

Scenery of blooming seasonal flowers encountered at Akabane Green Park

Every winter, migratory mallards and teals fly into the reed-filled pond to spend the winter with the spot-billed ducks that live there.

A reed-filled pond in Akabane Green Park
A reed-filled pond in Akabane Green Park

Toward the end of February, Nekoyanagi (Pussy willows) was blooming along the water’s edge among the reeds.

Nekoyanagi (Pussy willows) along the water’s edge
Nekoyanagi (Pussy willows) along the water’s edge

The yellow flowers of Ryukinka (Yellow marsh marigold) bloom in February and March, when the weather is still cold and lacks color. They bloom quietly and prettily along the banks of water or near wetlands, reminding us of spring.

Ryukinka (Yellow marsh marigold)
Ryukinka (Yellow marsh marigold)

In spring, cherry blossoms such as Kawazu-zakura, Hitachibenikan-zakura, Oshima-zakura, Yamazakura, and Kasumi-zakura bloom one after another, covering the entire thicket in pale pink as shown in the top photo.

In mid-March, Kawazu-zakura (Cherry Blossoms), which is at the end of their blooming period, was blooming prettily with the pond in the background.

Kawazu-zakura (Cherry Blossoms) at the end of blooming
Kawazu-zakura (Cherry Blossoms) at the end of blooming

Mizubasho (Asian skunk-cabbage) is in full bloom from late March to early April.

Mizubasho (Asian skunk-cabbage)
Mizubasho (Asian skunk-cabbage)

Hasunohana (Lotus flowers) blooms in August. You can encounter them if you go out early in the morning on a hot summer day.

Hasunohana (Lotus flower)
Hasunohana (Lotus flower)

The pink color of the flowers of Sarusuberi (Crape myrtle) caught my attention in September, when the weather was still hot.

Sarusuberi (Crape myrtle)
Sarusuberi (Crape myrtle)

From September to October, Higanbana (red spider lily) is in full bloom. The bright red color spreads over the entire bank, and black swallowtail butterflies gracefully fly in and perch on them.

Higanbana (red spider lily)
Higanbana (red spider lily)

As fall deepens and the daily temperature variations between morning and evening increases, maples turn red and yellow. Autumn leaves weeping over the pond were magnificent.

Autumn leaves weeping over the pond
Autumn leaves weeping over the pond

When maples fall and the landscape becomes completely wintery, Sazanka (Sasanqua camellia) begins to bloom. The deep pink of Sasanqua camellia stood out in the clear winter air.

Sazanka (Sasanqua camellia)
Sazanka (Sasanqua camellia)