Every autumn, a field of cosmos appears on the Muko River bank, which flows in the southeastern part of Hyogo prefecture.
On this particular autumn day, with the sun showing its face from the afternoon, many people were out enjoying the over 5 million slowly swaying cosmos flowers; from children to high school girls returning home from school, to couples, spouses out for a walk, runners and even a photography enthusiast.
This cosmos field that is loved by the people of the region is operated entirely by volunteers
During the Edo-period, this was west Japan’s main point for crossing the river by ferry. It was also utilized by feudal lords when changing residence, as well as by travelers.
Along the main road, in Nishikoya village, there used to be a teashop operated by a bearded gentleman called Mr. Yasube. (Beard = ‘hige’ in Japanese). Therefore, the crossing point came to be known as “hige-watashi” or ‘beard crossing’. Even now, the name is used for a bus stop near the river: “Higechaya” (Beard teashop).
Eleven years ago, a volunteer group of local residents that call themselves the “Committee for Making Beard Crossing Bloom” got together to prettify the once unkempt river bank. Every year at the end of August, around 150 volunteers participate in preparing the soil, sowing the seeds, watering the plants, weeding, and patrolling, among other tasks.
“Lately, there have even been people who have seen it online and come from far away to appreciate the field,” according to some volunteers we met who were finishing their patrol and getting ready to head home.
Departing from nearby Itami airport, an airplane splits through the clear autumn sky.
Nearby, you can also see Shinkansen (Bullet Trains) crossing the girder bridge built over the river; this may be an irresistible place for vehicle enthusiasts. You might also spot a railroad enthusiast waiting for the Shinkansen electrics and track inspection train, ‘Doctor Yellow’.
The best season for viewing cosmos is from around the end of October to the end of November.
How about an autumn experience at the field of cosmos that has became a local tradition through the power of volunteers?
Location : 2 Chome Tsunematsu and 4 Chome Nishikoya, Amagasaki city, Hyogo prefecture,
Train & Bus : From Hankyu Mukonoso station, take the city bus and get off at Nishikoya bus stop. Walk west for around 350 meters.
Parking : Temporary parking area (Closed from November 16th, 2014)
Best season for seeing the flowers : Normally from the end of October to the end of November (in 2014, until mid-November).
Caution : In order to allow as many people as possible to enjoy the flowers, please don’t pick or step on them.
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Madoka Hori
Madoka Hori / Photo-writer Entrepreneurial translator/writer living in Hyogo. As a licensed English tour guide, she occasionally takes tourists to beautiful destinations such as Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Kyoto, and Osaka and her clients have never got lost so far. On Setouchi Finder, as one of the original team members, she enjoys taking photos and sharing her favorite hidden gems. Private Photo Blog http://riderv328.tumblr.com Twitter https://twitter.com/Riderv328
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