Day trip: Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park

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Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park, one of the largest in Japan, is located in Nanbu, a tiny pastoral town surrounded by the rolling mountains of the Daisen Oki National Park. It’s a well-kept natural attraction. Everything is meticulously swept, arranged, trimmed, watered, plucked, weeded, and manicured.

The park spans 50 hectares which change every season. In fall, there are lovely autumn leaves and cosmos flowers. In winter, there are Christmas illuminations and light shows at night.  In spring, there are eponymous cherry blossoms and fields of tulips and poppies. In summer, the lilies are the star of the show.

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The Lilies

If you visit in summer, the first things you notice about the park are the saturated hues. Warm rain helps to create an explosion of deep color. The smell of lilies intoxicates as soon you enter the grounds. Fierce orange and yellow varieties are arranged in little troughs. Their faces are honest and open; their waxy petals delightful to touch. Photographers buzz like giant bees around each flower, their telescopic lenses, like giant insect eyes trying to capture the fragile beauty of each flower.

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The Flower Dome

An open-air corridor leads to a futuristic-looking flower dome. The structure lies on its side like a transparent disco ball. Inside the dome, it’s sweltering. White, pink, and violet orchids dangle near the entrance. Glossy red anthuriums and ginger lilies creep out of the dirt-covered walls. Hibiscus flowers peep from dark green shrubs. There’s even a miniature mango tree, its branches wrapped in long, deeply veined leaves. In the middle of the dome, palm trees stretch up to the glass ceiling, framing a tropical floral arrangement. From this exact spot, voices echo, reverberating against the highest point of the glass canopy. Visitors sit on plastic chairs in the artificial heat, eating crisp Tottori pear ice cream, a local speciality.

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As you leave the flower dome, you enter a new garden. The breeze is light and welcoming. The landscape here is distinctly non-Japanese. Instead, forest-green hedges and pine trees have been clipped into angular shapes, fashioned after the famous gardens of Versailles. There is no languid beauty here, just geometric shapes and sharp lines.

HOT FOOT

Flower Hill

From Flower Hill, Mount Daisen also known as Oyama, rises in the background. Heavy bees whirr deep within fields of lavender. Near the lavender, beds of yellow and orange marigolds stretch along the clipped, green fields. Their pungent smell reminds me of flower patches that decorate many yards in the Caribbean. 

There is no rustling of leaves here, only soothing music piped through speakers that dot the throughways. A female voice announces the different features of the park in soothing Japanese and English. A train trundles around the park, tinkling its bell. It looks like a giant toy: very shiny, clean, and red. As the train rattles away, the excitement dies down. We seek shade under the walkway that encircles the flower park. The clomp-clomp of wedge heels on the boardwalk’s planks fades in the shimmering heat as the morning wanes into late afternoon.

Photos: © Jesse Ramnanansingh

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14 thoughts on “Day trip: Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park

  1. Just beautiful! I love Japan so much I can’t wait to go back another time and explore some more places like this – you’re right about the saturated hues. Everything looks so lush and vibrant. I also love the disco-ball dome! But that’s so wonderfully Japanese – such incredible buildings and structures. Flower Hill looks stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a pretty (if artificial) place and a respite from the world’s hustle and bustle. For me as a mountains person, the Daisen National Park would be even more awesome to visit. If only for the music of wildlife and wind in the trees.

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  3. The flower park looks absolutely fabulous and it’s great to hear that you can visit each season, as there will always be colors to see. I can imagine how beautiful the aroma it is in the park, from all the different perfumes of the flowers. The flower dome is really a masterpiece, it must have taken so much time to built but also to maintain. I would love to visit the flower park if I’ll ever be in Japan, it looks like a very relaxing place to be in.

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  4. Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park looks like a color palate. Such gorgeous flowers and colors all around.It’s absolutely a visual treat to eyes. I loved the Mount Daisen backdrop as it looked like a painting. I will keep this on my list whenever I visit Japan next.

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  5. This flower park looks beautiful! We have something a little bit similar in Dubai, which is the Miracle garden. Although this one is more traditional and wide! The view of the Mount Daisen from the Flower hills is the most beautiful thing! Never heard of it so will add it to our list!

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  6. I loved how vivid and brilliant your pictures are. I can definitely see how this place would be a Mecca for amateur and professional photographers alike. It’s like I can almost smell the flowers!

    Liked by 1 person

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