[Special Issue!!] Osaka Expo ’70 Commemorative Park, Where You Can Enjoy Japan’s Beautiful Flowers Year-Round!
When you imagine Japanese flowers, most people think of the iconic sakura, or cherry blossom. It's absolutely a pretty flower, but Japan is also home to many other beautiful flowers that bloom in each of the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.
There is even a location in Osaka where you can enjoy the beautiful seasonal flowers no matter when you visit: Expo '70 Commemorative Park! This cultural park stands on the former site of the Japan World Exposition from 1970, the first World Exposition held in Asia. Its extensive grounds house the iconic Tower of the Sun, facilities offering a variety of experiences, and an area where many different flowers can be enjoyed every season.
※The interior of the Tower of the Sun is finally open to the public again for the first time in 48 years, starting March 19th of 2018. Further details are available at the end of this article!
[Introducing Beautiful Japanese Plants You Can Enjoy Year-Round at Expo ’70 Commemorative Park!]
Below we have listed our top plants (flowers and trees) you can enjoy at Expo ’70 Commemorative Park as well as the best times of year to see them!
Mid-February Through Mid-March, “Ume” (Plum Blossoms)
Like cherry blossoms, plum blossoms have been a beloved flower in Japan since long ago. Plum blossoms are smaller than cherry blossoms, and they bloom into elegant pink and white flowers. To Japanese people, plum blossoms signify that spring will arrive soon. Expo ’70 Commemorative Park is home to around 600 plum trees of around 120 varieties, and the Japanese garden area features around 80 plum trees of around 40 different varieties. The park also holds the “Expo ’70 Commemorative Park Ume Festival” around mid-February through mid-March, during the flowers’ blooming period.
Late March Through Early April, “Sakura” (Cherry Blossoms)
Expo ’70 Commemorative Park is one of the few cherry blossom viewing locations to be chosen as one of “Japan’s 100 Most Famous Cherry Blossom Viewing Locations.” The garden is covered in a cloud of pink starting around mid-March every year. Higanzakura and Kanhizakura varieties begin to bloom in mid-March, followed by the Somei-Yoshino variety in late March. Over this season, around 5,500 beautiful cherry blossoms are in full bloom! Take time to enjoy the splendid scenery of the season.
Early Through Late April, “Poppies”
Colorful yellow and orange poppies are such cute flowers! About 380,000 poppies beautifully bloom at Expo '70 Commemorative Park, covering the hill inside the Natural Culture Park. Relax with a warm breeze while surrounded by beautiful poppies!
Mid Through Late April, “Tulips”
At this time of year, tulips in flower boxes line roads all over Japan and catch your gaze. However, the tulips at Expo '70 Commemorative Park are on a different scale! About 100,000 bulbs of 32 varieties bloom in pretty rows of red, white, yellow, pink and purple. They make for wonderful photos too. If you upload your photos on social media, you may find yourself getting more reactions than usual!
Early July Through Late August, “Hasu” (Lotuses)
The lotus is a magical flower that blooms not on land, but in the water. There is a legend in Japan that the lotus blooms in paradise. If you look carefully at the statues of Buddha found in temples and shrines throughout Japan, you’ll often find depictions of lotuses nearby. Visitors to Expo '70 Commemorative Park can enjoy the beautiful sight of about 1,200 lotus plants inside the park’s Japanese garden. The beautiful contrast between the lotus petals and the green leaves below them is a must-see scene that looks like it’s right out of a landscape painting!
Late July Through Mid-August, “Himawari” (Sunflowers)
Bright yellow sunflowers reach up into the beautiful blue summer sky. Just looking at them seems to energize you. Around 10,000 sunflowers from 22 varieties beautifully bloom at Expo '70 Commemorative Park. If you look carefully, you can notice differences in the shapes and colors of the sunflowers. Some of them even bear the names of world-famous artists such as Matisse and Monet. Look around to find your favorite type of sunflower!
Early October Through Early November, “Cosmos”
One of autumn’s most iconic flowers is the cosmos. In Japanese, “cosmos” can be written by combining the characters for “autumn” and “cherry blossom.” Part of the appeal of cosmos is the wide variety of colors they come in, like red, yellow, orange, white, and pink. At Expo ’70 Commemorative Park, around 300,000 cosmos of around 30 varieties bloom beautifully on the hills of the cultural park. Why not relax in the fields of cosmos while enjoying a lovely autumn breeze?
Mid-October Through Early December, “Autumn Leaves”
During autumn, over 10,000 trees across around 20 varieties turn beautiful colors at Expo ’70 Commemorative Park. Since there are many varieties of trees, the leaves change colors over the long period from mid-October through early December. Below we will introduce our favorite varieties of autumn leaves along with when they’re in season.
Mid-October Through Late November, “American Sweetgum”
American sweetgum leaves are the first to change colors in the natural culture park. Its large leaves turn deep red.
Mid-October Through Early November, “Gindoro” (White Poplar)
Enjoy a walk through the yellow leaves of these white poplars.
Early Through Late November, “Platanus”
Around 260 platanus trees line both sides of this stone path, going on for about 360 meters. This is a particularly popular type of tree for taking beautiful photos of autumn leaves.
Early Through Late November, “Kaede (Momiji)” (Maple)
There is an impressive area in the park where there are many bright red maple trees, known as both kaede and momiji, called “Momiji no Taki (Maple Waterfall).” It’s absolutely worth seeing the Maple Waterfall from above at the aerial observation area!
Early November Through Early December, “Metasequoia”
The metasequoia leaves that fall to the ground create a beautiful carpet-like scenery to enjoy. This type of tree lets you enjoy lovely autumn leaves until the end of the season at Expo ’70 Commemorative Park.
A place where Japan’s beautiful flowers can be enjoyed year-round is a real treasure! Besides just flowers, Expo '70 Commemorative Park features a Japanese garden and museum, facilities for touring the lake by boat, as well as restaurants where visitors can enjoy delicious meals. When you visit Osaka, be sure to make your way here!
[The Interior of the Tower of the Sun is Finally Open in 2018 for the First Time in 48 Years!]
The “Tower of the Sun” stands about 70 meters high and was designed by Japan’s famous artist Taro Okamoto. Its interior has been closed to the public for 48 years, since 1970. Its reopening, starting in March of 2018, has been a hot topic even in Japan!
The interior has a variety of sights, including the “Tree of Life” that reaches around 41 meters tall and features 183 pieces of 33 types of artwork, as well as the “ Sun of the Underworld,” the 4th piece to match the tower’s other 3 faces on the exterior!
If you’re travelling to Osaka, be sure to visit and see this Japanese artwork that you won’t find anywhere else!
※Advance reservations are necessary to enter the Tower of the Sun. Please send inquiries to:
Basic Information on Expo '70 Commemorative Park
- Senri Bampaku Koen, Suita City, Osaka
- About 5 minutes on foot from Bampaku-Koen Station on the Osaka Monorail
- 9:30 am - 5:00 pm (Last admission 4:30 pm)
- Wednesdays (Park is closed on days following national holidays. However, park remains open from April 1st through Golden Week, as well as all through October and November.)
- Adults 250 yen, elementary and junior high school students 70 yen