Flowers are something special in Japan and in the summer, there is no flower like the sunflower. While not originally native to Japan, sunflowers were introduced from North and South America and have since become an annual part of Japanese culture whenever the days start to grow longer. They have become very popular seasonal viewing flowers, adding yet another set of blooms to Japan’s already generous and beautiful collection.

Sunflower viewing is a perfect way to spend a summer’s day. You’ll find vibrant sunflower fields throughout the country, often blooming in front of some world-class views of Japan’s majestic mountains. These sunflower fields are carefully cultivated and celebrated.

Here are six of the best Sunflower viewing spots in Japan.

1) Himawari-no-Sato in Hokuryu-cho, Hokkaido

Sunflowers at Himawari-no-sato, Hokkaido. Photo Credit: Portal Hokuryu.

There are over a million sunflowers at this sunflower festival. It sits in Hokuryu-cho, a small and sleepy town that embraces the sunflower theme. Himawari-no-Sato is the largest sunflower garden in all of Japan and blooms in July and August. The festival is held from the middle of July to the middle of August. Not only will you see fields of sunflowers in bloom, but there are also fireworks shows and some very impressive Taiko drum performances.

You can view the sunflowers up close and personal in several ways, including riding in a cart (500 yen), walking through the sunflower maze (300 yen), and renting a bike and cycling through the fields (100 yen). Vendors sell many different kinds of summer snacks including sunflower ice-cream and yellow watermelons. There is also the unique and nearby onsen (hot spring bath), Hokuryo onsen, about a kilometer away, that offers special sunflower-based products.

The festival is open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM for its length. Entrance to the festival and garden, as well as parking, is free. There is also some temporary storage available for bags. Himawari no Sato is a short trip away from Sapporo, Furano, and Asahikawa. You can drive, or take the LilacKamui line from JR Sapporo Station to Fukugawa Station towards Asahikawa. From here, ride the bus to Hokuryu Cho from the stop in front of Fukagawa Hospital and get off at the Hokuryu Kouko.

2) Akeno Sunflower Field, Yamanashi

Akeno sunflower field. Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr.

Every year from late July to late August, the Akeno area in Hokuto City holds its annual Akeno Sunflower Festival. Here, you can see an incredible field of 600,000 sunflowers. This area has the longest daylight period of any in Japan, making it ideal for growing sunflowers. Every sunflower patch is numbered and carefully tended.

You’ll also see greenhouses growing cherries and blueberries, as well as vendors selling treats like blueberry and even sunflower ice cream. Every year, a different image is made in a field, from a simple geometric shape to iconic images of Japan like Mt. Fuji.

This small festival runs from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM for its whole length. Entry is free, though- if you drive- there is a 500 yen parking fee. The Akeno sunflower Field is a 20-minute drive from JR Nirsaki Station. You can also get there by taking the Mizugaki Line bus outside of JR Nirasaki Station. After a 25-minute ride, get off at the Heidi-no-Mura Kurara-kan stop and walk for 5 minutes to Akeno Sunflower Field.

3) Kiyose Sunflower Festival, Tokyo

Sunflowers of Kiyose! Photo Credit: Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

For those aiming to travel in Tokyo in August, the Kiyose Sunflower Festival is a must. It’s located in Kiyose City near Saitama Prefecture and features more than 100,000 sunflowers in an area of about 24,000 square meters. This brilliant sight is a welcome one in busy, urban Tokyo. Besides the long rows of blooming sunflowers, you can find vendors selling local vegetables and food.

You can get to the Kiyose Sunflower Festival by taking the bus from Kiyose Station on a 10-minute ride to the Greentown Kiyodo bus stop. The festival is a short walk from there. There is a free shuttle bus available on weekends. Entry is free and the hours of the festival are 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

4) Sera Kogen Farm Sunflower Festival, Hiroshima

This is an amazing summer landscape! Photo Credit: SERA KOGEN FARM.

More than a million sunflowers bloom at this festival, with over 50 varieties on display. Sera Kogen Farm is found in the town of Sera in the Hiroshima Prefecture. The area is home to many different flower parks and gardens, but Sera Kogen is one of the most popular.

Take some of the many walking trails to walk through large fields of sunflowers and enjoy the farm’s clever, fun sunflower decorations or even relax in a hammock. Don’t forget to take some pictures!

Entrance to Sera Kogen Farm is 800 yen for adults and 400 yen for children. You can reach it by taking the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Shin-Onomichi Station, then taking a taxi to Sera Kogen Farm, for a travel time of an hour and a half.

5) Zama Sunflower Festival, Kanagawa

Zama’s Sunflowers are looking splendid! Photo Credit: 座間市観光協会

The city flower of Zama is the sunflower, so you can expect the city sunflower festival to be a big deal. The festival runs from the end of July to the middle of August every year. There are more than 550,000 sunflowers in bloom here and you can enjoy walking alongside the fields and taking pictures.

The festival even supplies a few props like picture frames and hats for some great pics and you may get to see some cosplayers snapping some photos with the flowers. There are many local vendors here, selling fresh vegetables and other snacks, including shaved ice which will be welcome on a hot summer’s day.

The festival hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You can get to the Zama Sunflower Festival by taking the Odakyu Odawara line to Sobudaimae Station. From there, take a short bus ride or walk 10 minutes to the festival. There is no entry fee.

6) Yamanakako Hananomiyako Park, Yamanashi

Sunflowers at Yamanakako Hananomiyako Park and Mt. Fuji in the distance. Photo Credit: hananomiyakokouen.jp.

Every year from the middle to the end of August, sunflowers fill up this picturesque spot on shores of Lake Yamanakako near Mt. Fuji. This is one of the best spots to see just about any seasonal flower in Japan, depending on the time of year, and in summer it offers the unique sight of sunflower in bloom with Mt. Fuji looming majestically in the background.

There are numerous other nearby attraction within the park as well, including playgrounds, greenhouses, and even waterfalls.

Entry is free, though parking ranges from 300 to 500 yen depending on the time of year. Yamanakako Hanano Miyako Park’s flower field is a brief walk from Oshino Village or Lake Yamanaka.

If you’re looking for a summer getaway in Japan, there are plenty of spots to see seasonal flowers and sunflower fields at their peak. The country also features the other incredible sunflower fields than the ones you see above. For example, the Sunflower Hill Park in Ono city highlights approximately 380,000 sunflowers bloom during summer.