‘Tis the season for the great outdoors again, especially if you’re into catching the autumn foliage and flowers. The cosmos, a herbaceous plant that grows into a meadowland producing colourful flowers, blooms in early autumn – and you can now enjoy the beautiful sight for free at Sakura Furusato Square in Chiba prefecture.
The Sakura Cosmos Fest was cancelled last year to help curb the spread of Covid-19. But now, with the state of emergency lifted across Japan, the festival is back this year, currently ongoing until Sunday October 24.
The venue, located by the shore of Lake Inba-numa, is particularly known for its Dutch windmill, which takes pride of place at the centre of the flower field. Liefde, as it’s called, is Japan’s first fully wind-operated, water-pumping windmill.
You can visit Sakura Furusato Square for free: take a stroll through the meadows, or rent a bicycle (from ¥500) and follow the dedicated bike lanes. But if you feel inspired to try growing cosmos, you can dig up a few to take home for a small fee. Uprooting five plants will only cost you ¥100, or go big with unlimited pickings for ¥300. The organisers have cautioned that the ground might be muddy, so come with your waterproof boots.
If you’re planning a visit, weekends are definitely livelier when there are more things to do. You’ll find food trucks serving quick bites and refreshments, and you can even take a sightseeing boat tour out to Lake Inba-numa. There are eight trips per day, with tickets priced at ¥1,000 (¥500 for elementary and junior high school students).
Here's the tour schedule:
Operating days: Oct 16 (Sat), 17 (Sun), 23 (Sat), 24 (Sun)
Departures: 9.30am, 10am, 10.50am, 11.20am, 12.40pm, 1.10pm, 2pm, 2.30pm
For more information, check the event website.
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