The annual Tsunan Sunflower Festival allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of these seasonal blooms set against the backdrop of the mountainous Niigata countryside. The event boasts around 500,000 sunflowers covering a four hectare space, along with a sunflower maze and plenty of food and drink stalls to grab a bite at.
From August 9th to August 15th, the sunflowers will also be illuminated in the evenings from 5 pm until 9 pm.
Entry to the event is free of charge.
If you're driving to the venue from Tokyo, take the Shiozawa-Ishiuchi interchange from the Kan-Etsu Expressway. The venue is approximately an hour drive from the expressway exit. On site parking is available for a fee of 300 yen for regular vehicles.
Alternatively, head to Echigo Yuzawa Station (Joetsu Shinkansen, JR Joetsu Local Line, Hokuhoku Line) and catch the bus bound for the Tsunan Public Office (approximately 45 minutes). The fields are around 2km from the bus stop itself.
I'm an Australian who has lived abroad for almost a decade, including 7 years in Japan - specifically Tokyo and Niigata. I've visited 44 of 47 prefectures, with only Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Kumamoto left to check out. I'm particularly fond of exploring off the beaten path destinations, gardens, ...