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Kisuge-daira: Day Lilies in Nikko

A great field of fresh, yellow flowers

Day lilies cover the grass halfway up the mountain of Nikko's Ko-maruyama in early summer. They bloom from mid June to mid July. During this season, it is almost always foggy here (as it is year-round!) and when the fog lifts, beautiful yellow flowers suddenly appear in front of you.

Kirifuri-kogen Highlands

Kirifuri-kogen is located in the north part of Nikko. This area is 1300-1600 meters above sea level and is comfortably cool in summer. Kirifuri means foggy mist. As I said, these highlands are foggy year-round but the fog clears off soon…only to appear again. This fickle weather is one of its charms.


Theses yellow flowers are called Nikko Kisuge here, but they grow naturally in mountain areas from Kyushu to Honshu (almost all of Japan except Hokkaido). But it’s quite rare to see the flower covering an entire field with its bright yellow beauty. Besides Kirifuri-kogen, two other places are famous for the flower as well: Oze-ga-hara in Gunma and Kurumayama-kogen in Nagano.

Until recently in Kisuge-daira, local wild deer had been eating all the flowers and the number of the flowers was decreased rapidly. To protect the flowers, fences now surround the fields and small paths make it easy to enjoy viewing the flowers, so it’s not really wild anymore. But it is still a very enjoyable place to spend a morning or afternoon!

Features of the flower

The day lily stands 1 meter in height and the flower itself has a diameter of 10 centimeters. The flower blooms in the evening and closes in the morning. If a dense fog sets in and you have zero visibility, you might be disappointed. But don’t worry: A few minutes later, your field of vision will suddenly open, and as far as your eye can see, day lilies will cover the field.

If you plan to visit Nikko in early summer, (along with the Ko-Maruyama hiking course) you’ll have a chance to see another charm here at Kisuge-daira in the Kirifuri-kogen Highlands.

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