One of the best things about Japan has to be that there's something to enjoy no matter the season - and in particular, there always seems to be something in bloom year round. Whilst the cherry blossoms of spring may be the most revered, there are a host of other beauties to appreciate whenever you're visiting, one of which are the cosmos flowers of the autumn months.
In the Niigata area, one of the best places to check out fields upon fields of cosmos flowers is the aptly named Iwappara Cosmos Park. The park is a well-kept secret, and each time I've visited I've only seen a few other people - if any! It makes for a perfect place to appreciate the beauty of nature without battling the crowds.
Even outside the cosmos season, the park is a great place to get some spectacular views over the Uonuma region. Since it's set up high on a hill, you almost feel on top of the world looking out over the surrounding area. If you visit in the summer months, you're likely to see the fields in the town below filled with koshihikari rice, some of the best quality stuff grown in Japan.
Admission to the Iwappara Cosmos Park is free of charge. Bear in mind that due to the significant snowfall the region receives during the colder months, the park is closed during winter.