In Japan, we are now in the middle of the comfortable spring season with a variety of colorful flowers and lively plants. But once spring is over, a rainy season called Tsuyu (梅雨) starts around mid-June. That’s true that many people hate this season because of this gloomy weather, but at the same time, it offers a range of memorable experiences which can’t be found in any other season. Hydrangea is one of them, which is recognized as an iconic flower blooming in the rainy season. Visiting famous hydrangea places will allow you to spend a special day even when the weather isn’t perfect. Here are 10 best places to see hydrangeas near Tokyo!
- When is the best time to see hydrangeas?
- 1. Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri (文京あじさい祭)
- 2. Takahata Fudo (高幡不動尊)
- 3. Hasedera (長谷寺)
- 4. Meigetsuin (明月院)
- 5. Satte Ajisai Matsuri (幸手あじさいまつり)
- 6. Hondoji Temple (本土寺)
- 7. Kurobane Joshi Park (黒羽城址公園)
- 8. Amabikisan Rakuhoji (雨引山 楽法寺)
- 9. Shimoda Park (下田公園)
- 10. Ikuta Ryokuchi (生田緑地)
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When is the best time to see hydrangeas?
Hydrangea is a seasonal flower which is native to Japan. It is called Ajisai (あじさい) in Japanese, and is also known as “a million dollar flower” in some countries because of the countless numbers of tiny petals. The best time to see hydrangeas is from mid-June to mid-July which is perfectly in the rainy season. This is partly because they need a large amount of water to grow, and the continuous rainfall helps them get fresh water easily every day.
A unique feature of hydrangea is a variety of colors which include blue, purple, red and pink. The color of petals is decided based on the pH level of soil where they grow. pH is used as a measurement of acidity of soil, and the amount of acid affects the color of hydrangea.
But where can you enjoy hydrangeas? Let us share the best places to see hydrangeas near Tokyo!
1. Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri (文京あじさい祭)
Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri is an annual hydrangea festival which is held at Hakusan Shrine in Bunkyo ward, Tokyo. Established in 948, the small, sacred shrine attracts visitors with more than 3,000 hydrangea flowers which start to bloom in early June. You can also enjoy walking around stalls selling lovely hydrangeas in a pot that you can take back and grow at home! On the weekends during the season, lively concerts are also held by the local community.
*This year unfortunately canceled
2. Takahata Fudo (高幡不動尊)
Takahata Fudo is a Buddhist temple which is located in Hino city, a peaceful neighborhood in Tokyo. It is also known as one of the three greatest Fudo (Acalanatha) temples in the Kanto region. According to some historic documents, the history of the temple is said to date back to around the 9th century. Visitors still can explore historic structures including the majestic Niomon gate, which is guarded by two wooden warriors, and the main hall officially designated as Important cultural property.
From June 1st through 30th, the annual hydrangea festival is held and fascinates visitors with over 7,500 hydrangea flowers completely filling the shrine ground! Don’t forget to take memorable pictures of colorful hydrangeas against a backdrop of the iconic five-story pagoda!
Open 24 hours
3. Hasedera (長谷寺)
If you are looking for a weekend trip destination around Tokyo, head to Kamakura, a beautiful city full of historic spots in Kanagawa prefecture! It is home to a number of world-famous shrines and temples, including Hasedera, a Buddhist temple which has a history of over 1,200 years. It is also known as Flower temple, which features a variety of seasonal flowers throughout the year. From mid-June, over 40 different kinds and 2,500 hydrangea flowers welcome visitors, which creates a magnificent scenery along with historic buildings standing around the spacious temple grounds!
8am -5pm (March – September) 8am – 4:30pm (October – February)
Admission ¥400 (adult) ¥200 (elementary school student)
4. Meigetsuin (明月院)
Kamakura is also home to Meigetsuin, another famous temple which is widely known with the unique nickname as Hydrangea temple, where thousands of hydrangea flowers bloom during the rainy season. Since the most part of the hydrangeas is from the same species, the entire shrine ground gets filled with a single blue color, which offers a breathtaking scenery of the blue world!
9am -4pm 8:30am – 5pm (June)
Admission ¥500 (adult) ¥300 (elementary school/ junior high school student)
5. Satte Ajisai Matsuri (幸手あじさいまつり)
It is an annual hydrangea festival held at Gongendo Koen (権現堂公園), a prefectural spacious park in Saitama prefecture. From June to July, approximately 16,000 hydrangeas plants of 100 species can be enjoyed for free admission! Besides hydrangeas, it boasts a range of seasonal flowers such as cherry blossoms and rape blossoms which also attract many visitors during spring.
Open 24 hours
6. Hondoji Temple (本土寺)
Similar to Meigetsuin in Kanagawa prefecture, Hondoji Temple is known as another Hydrangea temple in Chiba prefecture! Established in 1277 as a Buddhist temple which belongs to Nichiren Sect, it boasts an incredible display of more than 50,000 hydrangea flowers, which undoubtedly surpasses any other hydrangea spots we introduced above with numbers! They also offer an impressive scenery along with other seasonal plants such as 5,000 iris flowers in a beautiful pond.
8am – 4:30pm
Admission ¥500 (adult)
Free admission for elementary school student and under
7. Kurobane Joshi Park (黒羽城址公園)
If you want to visit somewhere less crowded, but still filled with hydrangea, head to Kurobane Joshin Park in Otawara city, Tochigi prefecture! This castle ruin park was once used as a site of Kurobane castle, which was built in 1576 and later abandoned in 1871. Although most of the original buildings were demolished, visitors can still see some remains such as dry moat and mounds. From mid-June to mid-July, about 6,000 hydrangea flowers beautifully bloom everywhere around the park, which brings a lively atmosphere to the historic ruins with colorful petals!
8. Amabikisan Rakuhoji (雨引山 楽法寺)
Nestled in a peaceful mountainous area in the east part of Tochigi, Amabikisan Rakuhoji is widely recognized as a famous hydrangea spot. It is believed that it was originally established by a monk who travelled from China in 587. It is also visited by people who pray for a safe and easy delivery of babies. Once you enter the temple, you will spot a pair of beautiful peacocks roaming around the temple. With gorgeous hydrangea blooms, you can take unique photos!
8:30am – 5pm
9. Shimoda Park (下田公園)
Shimoda is a popular tourist destination which is located in the eastern part of Shizuoka prefecture. It is a perfect weekend trip destination to spend a couple of days away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. From JR Izukyu-Shimoda station, it is only a 20min walk to Shimoda park, which features a breathtaking display of over 150,000 hydrangea flowers. Visitors can walk around the scenic park which is rich with a wide variety of seasonal flowers apart from hydrangea such as cherry blossoms and azalea. Enjoy a relaxing stroll through a narrow, calm pat which is filled with thousands of hydrangea flowers on both sides. From observation spots that can be spotted around the park, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Shimoda city and the Shimoda bay!
Open 24 hours
10. Ikuta Ryokuchi (生田緑地)
Ikuta Ryokuchi is a vast park in Kanagawa prefecture which can be literally described as a paradise for flower lovers. They boast a range of seasonal plants such as cherry blossoms, roses, iris, lush greens and autumn colors. Hydrangea garden fascinates visitors with approximately 3,500 hydrangea flowers which come in different colors including blue, purple, pink and white. Nihon Minka-en is an open-air museum within the park featuring beautiful displays of traditional Japanese folk houses.
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Miho Shimizu is a Japanese freelance writer settled in Shizuoka with her husband and two rabbits. Fascinated with travelling at the age of 18, she has spent most of her long holidays exploring incredible spots around Japan. Also love to listen to music, draw, and read novels over a cup of green tea.