Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Kiyose Sunflower Festival - 2018

To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of sunflowers.  So, in all honesty I thought I wouldn’t enjoy Kiyose City’s sunflower festival as much as other flower events like hanami, the azaleas at Nezu Shrine and the plum blossoms at Hanegi Park.  However, after spending time amongst those flowers, I thought it was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. And even though it was scorching hot, with hardly a cloud in the sky, I enjoyed myself enormously.

Sunflowers in Kiyose City

The festival surprised me to be honest.  Of course, I’ve seen sunflowers before, but I’d never been to a farm filled with them before.  I just didn’t think they’d be so big. They are enormous and you can walk through 24,000 square metres of them.  It really is a lot of fun to walk through the big fields of them. Fields and fields of huge yellow flowers.

For the day, I took two lenses, the Fujifilm 10-24 and the 55-200.  I thought the shorter lens was going to be the best performer, but when I got home I was quite disappointed as I found out I hadn’t shot at the best focal length.  I shot at f8 which I thought, would get sharp results and everything in focus if I shot with the lens at its widest, 10 mm however, when I got home and put everything up on the screen I found I had actually actually shot a little too close. A lot of background was just slightly out of focus, the bokeh looked a little off.  Next time I’ll either shoot with the lens stopped down a little more, or I won’t get so close to the flowers.

The winner of the day was the 55-200mm.  On the screen, its image quality looked great.  The bokeh that lens produces is superb. Stand back far enough from what you’re shooting and doubled as another wide-angle lens for the day!  Well, a ghetto wide-angle I should say. I think shooting with that kind of lens for close ups also requires more thought as well, which usually means better photographs.  In the end it worked out well.

I was very surprised by how many people were at the event even though I went on a weekday, an enormous crowd was in attendance.  It might have been a good to take more pictures of people, but I didn’t, which is unfortunate. Maybe something to think about next time.

Everyone needed their shots of the sunflowers

If you ever go, you really need to be prepared, because it is a summer event and the heat can be considerable, plus there is very little to take cover under.  They do have a couple of tents, but they get crowded very quickly. So, I suggest hats and sunscreen, because without them you could burn very quickly. And make sure you keep hydrated with lots of drink.  When I went it was 34°C with almost no cloud cover so I ended up going home with pretty bad sunburn.

And lastly, you also need to remember that for most people, the bus from Kiyose station will be the best way to go.   At peak times I think the buses leave about once every twenty minutes which you might think is pretty good, but as there so many people waiting for them, the waiting times for them can be considerable.  There is a shuttle bus on the weekends apparently, but I haven’t used it yet.

For flower lovers I highly recommend the Kiyose Sunflower Festival.  If you are in Tokyo, or will be one day in the future, you should make time to see this wonderful event.  I think if you went, I’m sure you’d like it as much as I did.

You can see the event’s (Japanese) website here.