Date: 20th May 2019
I have always wanted to see rapeseeds or canola or nanohana (in Japanese), but have always missed the timing to see them. This time, I was lucky enough to include it as part of my itinerary (though it was at the very last minute). Nanohana blooms at different timings across the regions in Japan, with some blooming as early as end February, so I thought that mid to end May was definitely not the time to see them.
I’m glad I was wrong – while researching on things to do in Shimokita Peninsula, I expanded my search to southern Mutsu and learned about the nanohana fields in Yokohama Town (in Aomori Prefecture, not to be confused with THE Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture) which blooms around the time of my visit. On my way from Hachinohe to Ominato Station in Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture the day earlier, I caught a glimpse of this spectacular field of nanohana (which I was happy to confirm that they were still blooming) when the train came around Mutsu-Yokohama Station.
One of Yokohama town’s main agricultural product is rapeseed oil and it even boasts the largest area of rapeseed plantation (up to 142 hectares) in Japan. The planting starts in August or September and are of varieties which could withstand the harsh winter climate of Aomori.
A weekend nanohana festival is held every year on the 3rd weekend in May and in 2019 it was held on 18th and 19th May, though you can still visit the nanohana fields outside the festival dates. Do note that a marathon event is held on the Sunday of the festival, so it can be more crowded on that day.
The town announces the start of the blooming period every year, and this year it started on May 7th which is said to be the average start date, or a little earlier than average. Before 2014, the nanohana was blooming from mid-May to early June, but it has now become earlier. Some years, they even bloom from end of April.
Admission fee: 100 yen
Opening hours: 09:00 – 16:00
Official Website: Yokohama Town Website
Blooming period: Early to End May (check the website for details as the blooming period differs year to year)
During the 2-days festival period, free shuttle bus operates between Mutsu-Yokohama Station and the rapeseed festival venue, thought at very limited timings (schedule here).
Outside the festival period, you can take the Shimokita Kotsu bus from either Noheji Station (野辺地駅前) or Mutsu Bus Terminal (むつバスターミナル) to Mameda Bus Stop (大豆田), in which the rapeseed fields are just a 15-20 minutes walk. Schedule is here.
Alternatively, you can drive to the fields, there are parking lots available. For those driving, I suggest inputing this number 0175-78-6521 as destination to ease navigation. It takes roughly 30 mins from Shimokita Station or 40 minutes from Noheji Station.