Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2021/07/26
The living, breathing vegetation of nature comes in many forms. Out in the wilderness, we can appreciate seeing lush seasonal colors making their own way, untouched by humans. But on the other hand, if we put some work into both preserving and assisting nature, we can be treated to not only amazing spectacles, but delicious foods.
The “fruits” of tending to the natural world are something anyone can enjoy, and Hattori Hydrangea House packs everything we treasure from nature into a quaint estate in the countryside of Mobara City, Chiba. The main draw of the Hattori estate is of course the hydrangeas, which only bloom for slightly more than a month, beginning in June. Since it’s such a fleeting flower, most of the year is spent preparing the flowers for the bloom, before the entire property explodes with the color from the thick petals. The lower part of the estate was overflowing with vibrant pinks, whites, and yellows, and as we trekked up the winding hill that encloses the estate, the hydrangeas hues gradually cooled to rich blues and violets.
The many part-time workers keep busy throughout the year to keep the plants free of destructive insects, as well as plume them to guarantee a healthy bloom in the early summer. This is a very difficult job, as the estate has over 250 varieties of hydrangeas, with many situated on steep slopes in the surrounding area. Mr. Hattori, the owner of the farm, was very passionate in saying that the flowers are the result of many years of hard work, an investment of time and energy, and one that continues to build upon itself each year. Like a living being, the hydrangea collection is a work in progress, and will show a new side of itself every year, urging visitors to come back regularly to pay a visit to the flowers.
It is technically still the Hattori estate, so when you visit, it feels as though you are a guest in a large garden; it is just that, a “visit” to the Hattori family estate. This is why Mr. Hattori is also a vendor of the consumable fruits of Chiba’s beauty. He wants people to not only come and see as if it was a tourist destination, but feel as though they are contributing to the community by enjoying local products. We can indeed respect nature by admiring its sometimes-fleeting beauty, but making purchases of the produce that nature gives us is also an important act in preserving and supporting the things we love about the outdoors.
Hattori Hydrangea House always vends local fruits during the peak season, enhancing the experience here with local flavors. The money from selling fruit also helps to keep the entrance fee low and gives customers another chance to support the hydrangea house. Local melons and loquats were some of the favorites of visitors. The melons in particular are harvested around the same time that the hydrangeas start blooming, and the unique Japanese “Ams” melon (similar to honeydew) in Chiba has one of the highest “sweetness” rankings possible.
At the center of the estate sits the house of the Hattori family, and they also offer tea ceremony experiences for guests here. All for a very reasonable price, you can have a full experience in Japanese nature, with gorgeous flowers, lush green, luxurious local fruits, and a cultural experience at the end to top it off. They work very hard year-round to keep this slice of nature thriving with color, both as a source of personal pride, as well as something for their valued guests to look forward to.
719 Sangaya, Mobara City
(10 minutes by car from JR Sotobo Line, Mobara Station)