Big Things on Little Awaji: Picturesque Flower Parks and Scrumptious Burgers

Besides being famous for onions, puppets, whirlpools, and the first island of Japan, Awaji Island is known for their elaborate flower gardens. Since it’s spring, my friends and I decided to pack up and check out Awaji Hanasajiki, which is just one of the many parks. This place is accessible by car with plenty of parking and is closer to Kobe because it’s located in northern Awaji. It is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

This scenic park is called, “Awaji Hanasajiki.” (あわじ花さじき)Right now the park is sprinkled with yellow rapeseed (菜) and murasakihanana (ムラサキハナナ) flowers. The hillside will soon be covered with a cascade of colorful Rinaria flowers through early May, and about mid-April you’ll be able to smile at the sunny plethora of poppies.  The park is pretty big and you could spend all day there admiring the amazing view of Osaka, Kobe, and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. I would suggest bringing your painting supplies, a good book, a camera, and allergy medicine if you’re allergic to flowers. Being a hopeless romantic, my favorite part of the park was this small platform called, “Love Catch Point.” With the help of my friends, we attempted translating the instructions for you. We think it says something like, “Stand on top of the flower platform. Face toward the sea under the blue sky and say your message of love.” The bottom has broken off letters but we guessed it says something like “and it will be heard and come true.”

As every good park should, it has a tempura food stand and an omiyage shop. In the omiyage shop you can find refreshing and delicious biwa soft cream. If you’re wondering what biwa is (like I did), it’s a type of citrus fruit which is also known as a loquat. It is often known as Japanese or Chinese plum.

If you aren’t in the mood for tempura or soft cream, or it is closed as it was for us, you can head down the road to Awaji Country Garden (淡路カントリーガーデン) for one the best cheeseburger I’ve ever had. Random fact: Awaji breeds and distributes the amazing beef known as Kobe beef and Matsuzaka beef. In fact, if you walk from the Hanasajiki to the Country Garden like my friends and I did, you will pass by some Kobe beef cows. Nope, it didn’t ruin our appetite one bit, and so for about 1000円 we consumed the whole set: the savory and mouthwatering burger paired with American-like fries, a refreshing drink, and a small, delectable dessert. Even though it’s a food stand, don’t mistake it for fast food. It took about 20 minutes to get our individual, handmade burgers but it was sooooo worth it. As we sat on the cute picnic benches enjoying every morsel, I debated going back for seconds and I don’t even like hamburgers!

After you inhale one of these bad boys, you could head to the petting zoo behind the burger stand. This place is open from 10:30 am to 6 pm and you can enter the park for 400円 and the animal food is 200円.Let’s just say that my favorite part of the park was the giant sea-saws, the bubble stand, and feeding the lone reindeer and donkeys. The park is a bit well-loved but pretty fun if you have a good group of people to go with. They have a good variety of animals from peacock to pig.

There will be more coverage on more of these breathtaking garden parks to come. I am excited to check out the Akashi Kaikyo National Government Park soon. It’s filled with different flowers throughout the season as well. So if you have free time, come on down to Awaji and stop to see and smell our infamous flowers!

You can find more information on the facilities listed above at the these websites:

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