CANOLA FLOWERS: Japan’s Gorgeous Golden Flowers in Spring
When spring comes in Japan, we only have one flower in mind to watch out for: cherry blossoms or sakura. Did you know that the country is a plethora of flowers, especially during springtime? It ranges from flowering trees to vast flower fields that stretch through the horizon. And one of the best flowers to watch out for is canola/ rapeseed flowers or nano hana in Japanese.
WHAT ARE CANOLA FLOWERS?
Canola or Rapeseed flowers are bright yellow members of the mustard family, harvested mainly for their oil-rich seed which is edible and contains erucic acid. In Japan, it is consumed as a side dish either boiled or sauteed. Canola oil is the third-largest source of vegetable oil and personally, I use this oil when deep frying vegetables and meats.
WHERE TO VIEW THE BEST CANOLA FLOWER FIELDS
The best way to view these flowers for me is located in some rural towns and they are mostly free-to-visit hidden gems. If you are living in Tokyo, you can also spot numerous canola flower fields in nearby areas.
I also learned from a popular morning TV program in Japan where they showed the top 5 places to view canola blooms. In my opinion, these are faraway places, however, people always wanted to visit unfamiliar spots and it makes traveling even more exciting. Here are the 5 recommended places to view rapeseed flowers.
Iiyama Nanohana Park (Koen), Iiyama, Nagano
Photo Credit: Nozomi Hashimoto on Flickr.https://www.flickr.com/photos/27653283@N07
The golden canola flowers take the spotlight as the cherry blossoms started to fade. It blooms from late April to early May covering the countryside of Iiyama overlooking the Chikuma River. One of the best events to look out for is the Nanohana Festival which is held on Golden Week.
Michinoku Park, Kawasaki, Miyagi
A vast public park for everyone, young and old, Michinoku Park is the perfect place for flower lovers! The park covers 650 hectares where you can view seasonal flowers including canola in large flowerbeds and fields. There are also large playgrounds for children.
Asahi Funakawa Spring Quartet, Asahi, Toyama
Image by I’m a cutie pie on Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nguyen_tien/
A perfect picture of spring, the town of Asahi in Toyama prefecture draws visitors to witness a spectacular scene of cherry blossoms, rapeseed flowers, and tulips that bloom together at the foot of the mountain still covered with snow. It is called the spring quartet, and one more interesting site to watch is the Funakawa river which flows near the cherry blossom trees.
Saitobaru Burial Mounds, Saito, Miyazaki
This park is composed of 300 burial mounds on a spacious plateau that dates back 1,700 years ago. The park also has a museum in which you will learn about the ancient life of the area. It is also a famous spot for viewing cherry blossoms and rapeseed flowers in spring. You can explore this place with a free rental bicycle.
Isumi Tetsudo, Otaki, Chiba
Photo Credit Norisuke Fukui on Flickr.https://www.flickr.com/photos/fukui_norisuke/
If you want to explore Japan’s countryside, experience riding a train with Isumi-sen Line in Chiba. Isumi Line is a 27 km long local railway that offers fantastic views of cherry blossom trees and rapeseed flowers along the railroad. This is totally a different way of hanami and it is highly recommended on your spring to-do list!