Mar 29, 2010

Nishiki Dogtooth Violet Colony

What do you use for a thickening or anti-caking agent in your kitchen? Corn starch, I bet! However, in Japan, Katakuri-ko, which is a starch powder processed from corm of Katakuri, is the more popular for the same purpose.

Not many people know that Katakuri's flower is one of the under-recognized and deserves more appreciation. Katakuri (Erythronium japonicum) is a species of Japanese lily and another one in bloom in late April in Semboku City along with cherry blossoms in Kakunodate and Mizubasho in Sashimaki Area.

The Nishiki Katakuri Colony is very unique in that its area is one of the largest in Japan, spreading over 4.2 times as large as Tokyo Dome (200,000 sq.m.). Despite the fact that it takes more than 8 years to bear flowers and it is sensitive to the climate condition, Katakuri spreads out vigorously in this area because the coincided conditions, the fertile soil and the abundant sunlight provided in the thinned-down forest. That is why it  has became a home to this vast colony of violet flowers. Also in fall, this area is famous for Saimyoji-guri, the largest chestnut species in Japan that could exceed a fist of a toddler!

The expected blooming dates for Katakuri in Nishiki area was just announced. The festival will be held from April 17th to May 4th, 2010. Below is a map of the park. (dl) You can see--- it is perfect hiking trail! We recommend you to catch a glimpse of the flowers in the morning or evening, for they close the petals when the temperature rises. And please be courtesy and do not take the plants home.

Access from Kakunodate Station:
Take a train (Akita Nairiku Jukan Tetsudo) to Yatsu Station (360 yen)
2 minutes walk from the station.


lina said...

That's such a lovely flower. I'm in awe with the first photo - a field of purple flowers.
Are there any special tours arranged for tourist wanting to see them?

Tazawako Tourism Association said...

In fact, there is a bus tour from Nyuto Onsen Area.(

It is accompanied by a Japanese-speaking guide. It cost 4000yen per adult and it will tour you to Sashimaki, Kakundoate (cherry blossoms), Nishiki, Lake Tazawa and back to Nyuto Onsen. Reservation is required, but considering how expensive the taxi and the not-so-frequent bus service, it is a good price!

Thanks for asking!