On September 27th, hubby and I visited Hamadate Koen Park located in Nishime Town of Yurihonjo City in Akita prefecture. The park is located near the coast on a hill overlooking the Sea of Japan. On the top of the hill, there is an observatory from where visitors can see Mount Chokai, Sea of Japan, and Oga Peninsula (please check these two blog posts here and here) at the same time. About 3000 Somei Yoshino cherry trees bloom all around the park during spring season, and local people visit the park to enjoy the majestic beautiful views of cherry blossoms. The park is cool in summer and it is full of dragonfly during autumn. Although we can get wonderful scenic views of mountains and sea from the park, it is little known to most visitors. It is definitely a hidden neighborhood gem.
Hamadate Koen Park used to be the location of a castle residence during Kamakura period. In the year 1298, a person named Yuri Naka Hachiro Masaharu built his castle residence with a territory of 55000 Koku at this place. However, now there is almost no trace of the ruins of the castle residence remaining. Knowing the history of any place is so fascinating for me.
Hubby and I started from our home in Yurihonjo City at about 10 am on September 27th. Hamadate Koen Park is located about 14 kilometers southwest of our home, and it usually takes about 30 minutes of car ride to reach there. Just after 5 minutes of driving, we saw magnificent scenery from our car window. The scenery made me nostalgic and reminded me of my childhood days in India. As a child, I always used to draw nature landscape scenery with mountains, clouds in the sky, a flock of birds flying, a river, a house, and a few trees. The scenery we saw from the car was almost the same except for the absence of the flock of birds.
The scenery we saw from our car window reminded me of my childhood days. Mount Chokai and Koyoshigawa River are seen in the photo.
After 15 more minutes of car ride, we saw a beautiful spot on our way to the park. So we stopped the car and got out of the car to enjoy the scenic views. A red colored bridge with railway tracks surrounded by green trees, blue sky with sparse clouds, and Mount Chokai in the background made for a beautiful view.
Red colored railway bridge and the scenic view
I am standing along with the bridge in the background
Hubby and the scenic view
After yet another 10 minutes of car ride, we reached near the car parking area of Hamadate Koen Park. We parked our car and saw the spectacular blue Sea of Japan located right in front of us to the west side of the parking area. We clicked a couple of photos of the sea from the parking area, and then climbed up a flight of stone stairs to reach the top of the hill of Hamadate Koen Park. While climbing up, we saw flowering Susuki grass all around us.
Sea of Japan as viewed to the west side right in front of us from the car parking area
Another view of the sea
Our car at the car parking area and I am climbing up the flight of stairs leading to the top of the hill of the park
The sea and flowering Susuki grass as viewed to our left side while climbing up the stairs
The top of the hill of Hamadate Koen Park is flat and grassy. While walking on the top of the hill, we saw thousands of dragonflies hovering and zooming low and high over the hilltop. We walked towards the southeast corner area of the flat hilltop, and got wonderful scenic views all around us. To our south-southeast, we saw majestic Mount Chokai and many windmills. It was a sunny day and the blue sky with sparse clouds looked amazing. The scenic view in front of us was so perfect. We also saw flowering Susuki grass on the hilltop as well as along the edge of the hill. The fluffy silvery plumes were glistening in the sunlight and swaying with the wind. In Japan, Susuki is considered an iconic plant of late summer and early autumn, and in former times had greatly enchanted ancient people. In fact, in the eastern part of India also, Susuki has great importance and is usually associated with the beginning of a festival called Durga Puja. So whenever I see flowering Susuki grass in Japan, I am reminded of Durga Puja festivities back in my homeland. Standing at the corner area of the hilltop, we also got beautiful view of the blue Sea of Japan towards our south-southwest.
Scenic view towards south-southeast as viewed from the southeast corner area of the top of the hill
Majestic view of Mount Chokai and several windmills along with flowering Susuki grass in the foreground
Flowering Susuki grass
Hubby taking photo of the scenic view
Sea of Japan towards south-southwest as viewed from the southeast corner area of the top of the hill
Myself along with the blue sea and elegant plumes of Susuki grass
Next, we walked towards the west side of the flat hilltop of the park. There we saw an observatory having two floors. From both the floors of the observatory, we can get 360-degree panoramic view of the beautiful sceneries of the area. A strikingly huge statue of Kannon stands on the second floor of the observatory overlooking the sea. We skipped going to the first floor and directly went to the second floor of the observatory, and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery all around us. We loved viewing the splendid Mount Chokai and the magnificent Sea of Japan from the observatory. The interesting point is that Mount Chokai located towards the south-southeast and the Sea of Japan located towards the west side can be seen at the same time while standing at the south side of the observatory. In fact, we enjoyed some of the best scenic views of the area from the second floor of the observatory.
I am walking towards the observatory located at the top of the hill of the park
Mount Chokai (left) and the Sea of Japan (right) as viewed from the south side of the second floor of the observatory
Mount Chokai and the windmills
I am enjoying seeing the sea standing at the west side of the second floor of the observatory
Beautiful view towards the north side
I am standing at the north side of the second floor of the observatory
Hubby and the beautiful views
Huge state of Kannon
While strolling in the park, we saw a few fauna of the area. We saw two types of spiders, a grasshopper, a swarm of dragonflies, and even a snake. Hubby took photos of several of the fauna. And I took a few photos of hubby who was busy clicking away with his camera.
Hubby clicking a photo of a spider
Another type of spider
Hubby clicking a photo of a grasshopper
Oh the dragonfly flew away!
Again clicking a photo of another dragonfly
Hubby exclaimed - ah this time I got you dragonfly!
We enjoyed our visit of Hamadate Koen Park. It was a sunny day and the scenic views that we saw from the top of the hill of the park were fantabulous.