Mashiko Sunflower Fields: More Than Just a Summer Attraction
Every year in August, approximately a million sunflowers bloom across the vast fields in Japan. The sunflower signals the arrival of summer. Luckily, I can easily view sunflower fields here in Mashiko, a 2-hour car drive from Tokyo. It attracts hundreds of visitors every year making it one of the largest sunflower gardens in Japan.
As a resident of Mashiko, I’m always looking forward to visiting this sunflower field every year. In the landlocked prefecture of Tochigi where Mashiko is located, it lacks access to Japan’s beaches. Instead of having that tropical beach vibe in summer, I want to explore more sunflower gardens and experience fireworks festivals.
The past sunflower festivals were not really a crowd drawer. Most visitors came from nearby towns and cities where they learned about the event from pamphlets at supermarkets. In spite of the lack of marketing strategies, there were food stalls selling shaved ice (kakigori) and vegetable markets for the visitors to enjoy.
At present, the events are advertised really well on social media, making it a popular tourist spot in Tochigi aside from the famous pottery. Social media is indeed a brilliant tool for promoting products and events.
During the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the event was canceled and there was no huge sunflower field in sight, so I decided to look for a smaller field near the road stop station (Michi no Eki). Not really bad but the flowers were shorter than usual and nearby houses don’t do justice to a beautiful photoshoot.
The year 2022 and 2023 draws a younger crowd, thanks to Instagram. Not only there are sunflowers but to add excitement to the photo shoot, window frames, wooden swings, and platforms were added in the fields. And voila!, You have Instagram-worthy pictures!
ACCESS and LOCATION
The sunflower fields are located in Ueyama District, Mashiko Town about 2 kilometers from Mashiko Michi no Eki and 2.5 kilometers from Mashiko Station.