Located in the Shibata area of Niigata Prefecture, Ijimino Park is one of Japan's best parks for fans of irises. The grounds are home to approximately 600,000 of the beautiful blooms in an incredible 300 varieties, making it one of the country's top four iris gardens – the others are Nagai Iris Park in Yamagata, Maekawa Iris Garden in Ibaraki, and the Sawara City Aquatic Botanical Garden in Chiba Prefecture for anyone curious. Ijimino Park also features on the list of Japan's Top 100 Urban Parks if you needed another incentive to stop by.
When the iris flowers are at their best, an annual festival typically takes place – if you're hoping to attend, plan for the late June timeframe based on previous years. Admission the park is normally free of charge, but during peak iris season there is a small fee of ¥ 100.
It's not just the irises that make the park a pleasant destination for a day out, so don't discount it even if you can't visit during the most popular time of year. There are sporting facilities for athletics, baseball, soccer, and tennis, a duck-filled pond, and a wide variety of playground equipment catering to children of different ages. Earlier in spring the pond is surrounded by fluffy pink cherry blossom trees, and during autumn the area blazes with the color of changing leaves.