Welcome to Sosa City, Chiba: A name most natives of Japan don’t even recognize. Where there’s no delivery pizza, and if you miss a train, you’ll patiently wait for the next one in an hour. But, among its inconveniences are opportunities to slow down and appreciate nature such as rice fields, seasonal flowers and bonsai trees that line the city.
Life in the Japanese countryside is dramatically different than the Japan most tourists experience in major cities like Tokyo or Kyoto. While the vivacious night life and endless sea of shops never runs dry, that’s just one side of Japan.
Sosa City is about 2.5 hours from Tokyo by local train. In it, among the izakayas (Japanese-style bars) and small shops, is the quiet beauty of the countryside or inaka (いなか). It’s a type of beauty that’s easy to overlook, so, on my 25-minute walk to work, I take a few minutes to capture scenes with my iPhone camera.
Japan is famous for its amazing (Perhaps beyond amazing...) springtime cherry blossoms, but it has vibrant and lush flowers in summer, too.
The flowers featured in this article were captured in the past week. No matter if you’re a tourist or you live in Japan, take a chance to find some summer flowers before the season is over. It seems each season brings a new sense of wonder to watch out for.
In spring of course, it’s the cherry tree blossoms and plum tree blossoms, and in fall it is the changing leaves of the momiji (a type of Maple) tree.
In the mild winter in Chiba, it’s refreshing to observe what types of crops can still grow, like winter cabbages.
Japanese culture gives one the chance to really appreciate simple things like a snail in a rice field or the viewing of cherry blossoms.
In July and August, the heart of summer, the extreme humidity (we’re talking your-clothes-mold humidity) and temperatures (which can feel like 46 degrees) can honestly lower morale. But the vibrant flowers are a reminder that -- as the saying goes -- after the rain, comes the sun. And of course, vice versa, when you’re actually hoping for rain to cool off from the scorching sun. Enjoy the flowers while they last!
Here is a list of the types of flowers you’ll find by month in Chiba for summer and fall.
- May: Azalea, Lotus, Vanilla, Wisteria
- June: Butterfly Flower, Iris, Convolvulaceae, Lotus Flower, Hydrangea
- July: Hydrangea, Lotus Flower
- August: Sunflower, Sage
- September: Sage, Cosmos
- October: Rose, Cosmos, Sage