Echigo Hillside Park
Get lost in this huge flower haven twice the size of Tokyo's Yoyogi Park with festivals and events in every season.
? This location is in Niigata Prefecture — GaijinPot Travel’s No. 1 place to visit in 2018! ?
Floral colors explode in this park complex during warmer months, but winter is just as dynamic with snow activities.
Echigo Hillside Park, despite being located in the bustling Nagaoka City, is a local favorite in Niigata Prefecture. With an enormous size of 120 hectares, this national government park is more than twice the size of many Tokyo dwellers’ favorite Yoyogi Park (54 hectares). Picnicking is a popular pastime at Echigo Hillside Park, but restaurants, the observatory and the rest house offer plenty of indoor spaces, too.
There is a reason to visit this park in every season: flowers and festivals from February to October and snow activities from November to late January.
Flowers bloom generously in Japan, but only a few places have enough variety to allow a few hours’ walk through the gardens. The enormity of The park allows for numerous flower festivals, where visitors can walk through a flower promenade, gardens and exhibits around the park’s spacious ponds. Surrounding flowers come in many varieties and some are even for sale in the small market near the entrance.
The winter illumination event in December is a prelude to Winter Festa, a family and chlidren-friendly event in January, where visitors can ski and get on snowmobiles. What’s more, you can witness beautiful hellebores (Christmas rose) and hepatica (buttercup) flower breeds that dominate the park in February and March.
Yet the peak season starts in April — slightly after the falling of cherry blossom petals — when red, yellow, pink, white and purple tulips bloom across the park. You can even get your hands on Dutch goods during this period.
Another popular festival is the rose festival in late May. The intricate petal structure and elegant colors of the roses will bathe you in romance for days.
Summer and autumn
Summer nights in July and August feature an “illuminated music fountain,” where water shows are timed with lightings and music. Autumn draws attention to cosmos flowers and autumn roses.
Echigo Hillside Park may even help you gain a sense of why and how flowers are often depicted in Japanese literature — and you’ll have a lot of fun along the way.