I arose to a marvel of light. The Oarai Isosaki Shrine bookended my stay along the beach with a glimmering spectacle on my eyes.
The slow churning, ever-glowing sun made its way past the far reaches of the Ocean, flaunting its rays for the entire coast to see.
Like the alleged gods that came down on this coast hundreds of years ago, the pure heat of the sun descends upon the coast like it was the christening of newfound land.
The shimmer of the sun off of the rocks. The water, glistening with a newly discovered warmth. It's unlike anything I've ever witnessed.
The bright hues in the sky illuminate the terrain, telling us to start our day.
Everything from the relentless Ocean waters to the faint spring flowers, the sun is serving its purpose as the ever eternal alarm clock. Speaking of flowers...
On today's agenda is the Hitachi Sea Side Park. Amongst many things, this place is infamous for having a rolling plain filled with a flower called blue nemophila.
The abundance of these flowers creates the allusion of the park looking like a literal sea of flowers.
I can't say that I'm the biggest fan of flowers or their purpose, but like many things on this trip, I'm open to experiencing something new.
According to the GPS, the route looks to be the quickest of any I've had on the trip. The Park is located 20 minutes straight north of the Shrine, so I'll get another break from a lengthy ride.
As I pack up the bike and head to a nearby gas station, I take one final peek at the Shrine.
If the park can bring half of the beauty that this sunrise gifted me, then today will be a day for the ages. With the DZed idling by, I shift my way up the coast to Hitachi Seaside Park.
Shortly after the Shrine is lost by the naked eye, hints of the Park come into view. Upon first glance at the park, it's very clear that this is a gargantuan piece of land.
The park is sprawled out over nearly 900 acres of land, housing everything from multiple trails to a full-fledged amusement park.
It's a good thing this was the only activity of the day, as the trails alone may take hours to navigate.
With a modest fee of 450 yen (around 4 dollars), I got my pass into the park. The first order of business is to examine these infamous blue flowers.
Miharashi Hill is the spot of the park known for harvesting these flowers, so that's where I'm going first.
I've been told that the peak season for these flowers is towards the end of the month, so I'm expecting to witness the infancy in their full bloom.
Within minutes of entering the park, a rolling sea of blue surrounds my conscience. One look at the hilly incline and you are immediately met with a blanket of blue nemophila, covering the area.
The shade of blue on these flowers is like a meeting of sky and tropical water hues.
It's easy to see why people can get lost in their gaze, as the sight of such a color on the ground is astonishing. I hiked my way along the hill, finding the best angles to capture the scenery.
One thing I learned from others visiting the park is that this place used to be occupied by the US military.
After their defeat in WWII, the US confiscated the area and used the land as a firing range.
Despite the pushback from the locals, the foreign military used this area under such direction for over 25 years before it was given back to the Japanese government.
Perhaps this park represents more than just beautiful flowers. Whether it was a by design or organic birth, there's tangible fertility to the theme of this place.
It seems as though after all of the firepower vaulted on this place, the government wanted this land to be reborn. Planting the seeds for a brighter, peaceful future.
Maybe the true beauty of this park is the subtle message, that I just stumbled upon. Either way, it's easy to be entranced by sky reflective shades on this hillside.
After paying full attention to Miharashi Hill, I made my way back to the entrance of the park to rent a bicycle.
Considering the size of the park, a few hundred yen for an afternoon rental seems like a steal. I scoot my way around, taking in the different corners of the park.
In total, the park has seven different sections, each with its own shining attraction.
I turn my way towards the amusement park and to my surprise, I see a full-fledged BMX park, tucked in the middle of this place.
Bicycle rentals are one thing, but I was shocked to see a well-groomed course nestled within the womb of this park.
While I admire my two-wheeled compadres, that's a style of riding that I'll stray away from.
Perhaps the only thing minimizing my surprise of the course is the ongoing attractions at the amusement park.
I must have spent a few hours, pedaling around the spectacle that was revolving Ferris Wheel.
I guess I'm not used to seeing a natural park, combining forces with something as robotic as rides at an amusement park.
I suppose that's part of what makes a place like this so unique. The constant contradictions, working in concert for the visitors.
I'm not a "ride" kind of guy, so I spent the rest of the day cycling about the pathways.
Hours go by and I eventually return the bicycle. With all of the photos captured, I took one last, panoramic view of the park.
Sights like this are so rare that you can't help but admire every moment you're in its presence.
What was once a training ground for warfare is now a blossoming sea of joy. This park has provoked an idea.
Maybe this park symbolizes an inner peace that we can all achieve, despite how rugged our past may have been.
No matter who you may have had strife with, perhaps the future always provides us a bridge to better relationships. That's something I'll keep in mind when I'm back home.
With that said, I'm off to bed. Tomorrow, I'm heading over to the Tochigi Prefecture to see the Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine. Thanks again and I'll see you soon!