Over 1 Million Sunflowers on 6 Hectares around Memanbetsu Airport Come into Bloom in Stages
An airplane flys over sunflowers near Memenbetsu Airport, Hokkaido.Enlarge this image Enlarge this map
Starting in late July, over 1 million sunflowers come into bloom one after another and please the eyes of local residents and travelers to the area on expansive tracts of land in the town of Ozora in Abashiri District, Hokkaido, which is also home to Memanbetsu Airport.
Most of the sunflowers that grow in the town of Ozora are used to fertilize fields of wheat, potatoes and other crops. On much of the farmland, seeds are sown on fields where crops were harvested in August and they bloom from late September to mid-October. The fields are then plowed by tractors before the flowers are able to drop new seeds.
In the town, seeds are sown four times a year and “scenic maintenance” is carried out keep the sunflowers blooming from late July through October in front of the Airport Recycling Center and the area around Asahigaoka Park, both of which are near the airport. The total area of these two locations amounts to six hectares.
“Blooming Information” is posted at the town’s website. The same town officials who post the Sunflower Diary and page titles present the latest information on the blooming situation and highlights in abundant photos in the sunflower field reports. Details posted here include how the sunflower fields are changing from full bloom to withering based on the buds at each area where the flowers are planted.
The area’s sunflowers grow more densely than usual, with roughly 280,000 flowers per hectare. The colorful sunflowers on these vast fields herald the transition from summer to fall in eastern Hokkaido and the sight delights many passengers looking through the windows of planes taking off and landing at the airport. The blooming period along the runway ends in early September, but in other areas they remain visible until the year's first frost falls in mid-October.