When And Where to See Hydrangeas around Tokyo and Beyond
Hydrangeas are a native Japanese flower that blooms only between the end of May thru July, during the country’s rainy season. Called Ajisai (あじさい), hydrangeas also have the nickname “million-dollar flower.” Not only are the petals lush and colorful, but some hydrangeas smell fantastic too.
There are several areas around Tokyo to view these floral beauties. Most of these spots are free and they can be a great little getaway.
The Japanese hold hydrangeas in such high regard that there are several festivals to commemorate the flowers. They come in a range of pastel colors like blue, pink, white, and purple.
1. Amabikisan Rakuhoji (雨引山 楽法寺)
Amabikisan Rakuhoji is a peaceful mountainous temple area on the eastern side of Tochigi Prefecture. It’s a holy site established by a monk upon returning from China in 587 AD.
People come to view the plentitudes of hydrangeas and pray for their pregnancies.
What makes the hydrangeas extra special is the pair of peacocks that reside at the temple. It’s a photo opportunity a visitor shouldn’t miss. The temple opens at 8:30 am and closes by 5 pm every day.
2. Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri at the Hakusan Shrine (文京あじさい祭)
There is an annual festival held at Hakusan Shrine at Bunkyo Ward in Tokyo called “Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri.” This sacred shrine has more than 3,000 hydrangeas that always begin blooming in early June.
Many vending stalls sell potted hydrangeas for people to take home and grow.
The shrine itself has been around since 948 AD and attracts millions of visitors each year. On weekends during the growing season, there are live concerts from the local community.
3. Kamakura’s Hasedera (長谷寺)
Kamakura is a beautiful city just outside Tokyo and it makes a wonderful quick weekend getaway in the Kanagawa Prefecture. There are several famous temples and shrines in the area.
One of these is Hasedera Temple. Not only is it a Buddhist place of worship but it has a 1,200-year-old history.
Hasedera features several fantastic flowers, but their crowning feature is the 2,500 hydrangeas from 40 different varieties.
The scent and view are amazing. From March to September, the temple is open from 8 am to 5 pm and from October to February it closes at 4:30 pm. It costs ¥400 ($3.20 USD) for adults and ¥200 ($1.60 USD) for children.
4. Hondoji Temple in Chiba Prefecture (本土寺)
Another good temple to visit is the Hondoji Temple in the Chiba Prefecture. It’s a Nichiren Buddhist temple dating back to 1277 AD.
There are around 50,000 hydrangeas, which look impressive against the other flowers, such as irises. They all surround a pond in the most charming and enchanting way.
The temple opens every day at 8 am and closes by 4:30 pm. It’s free for children to enter but adults must pay ¥500 ($4.00 USD).
5. Ikuta Ryokuchi Park in Kanagawa Prefecture (生田緑地)
The Kanagawa Prefecture has a large and vast park called Ikuta Ryokuchi. It’s a paradise and playground for flora lovers. There’s a huge selection of seasonal flowers like roses, irises, and cherry blossoms.
Their array of hydrangeas is fascinating. There are about 3,500 of them and they range in a host of colors, shades, and hues.
Within the park is an open-air museum featuring traditional Japanese folk houses. What’s great is that this park is open 24 hours a day and it’s always free.
6. Otawara City Kurobane Joshi Park (黒羽城址公園)
Another always open and free park with gorgeous hydrangeas is Kurobane Joshi park. It’s in Otawara City within the Tochigi Prefecture.
This was once the site for Kurobane Castle in 1576 that functioned for about 300 years. After abandonment in 1871, it turned into ruins and most of the old buildings are no longer standing.
From the middle of June to the middle of July, there are about 6,000 hydrangeas flourishing everywhere in the park. The contrast of the lush, colorful, and vibrant growth of the flowers accents the castle ruins.
7. Meigetsuin in Kamakura (明月院)
Meigetsuin is another famous temple located in Kamakura. Thousands of hydrangeas grow throughout the grounds, giving the temple its nickname “Hydrangea Temple.”
The hydrangeas here are only one species, so the whole shrine fills with one blue color which is truly breathtaking to witness.
The temple opens from 8:30 am to 5 pm in June, otherwise, it’s open from 9 am to 4 pm daily. Adults must pay ¥500 ($4.00 USD) to get in while children are ¥300 ($2.40 USD).
8. Gogendo Koen Park’s Satte Ajisai Matsuri (幸手あじさいまつり)
In the Saitama Prefecture, there’s an annual hydrangea festival in Gongendo Park (権現堂公園). Around 16,000 hydrangeas from 100 varieties are free for the public to enjoy 24 hours a day.
There are also cherry and rape blossoms, which look gorgeous as well.
9. Shizuoka Prefecture at Shimoda Park (下田公園)
One of the more popular destinations for tourists is Shimoda Park in the eastern section of Shizuoka Prefecture. It’s a great escape from the busy, fast-paced mode of Tokyo.
There are about 150,000 hydrangea flowers along with azaleas and cherry blossoms.
There is a quaint, yet narrow path filled with these flowers, paving both sides. It’s open 24 hours a day and there is no admission fee.
10. Takahata Fudo in Hino City (高幡不動尊)
In one of the more peaceful neighborhoods of Tokyo, Hino City, you’ll find Takahata Fudo. This is a Buddhist temple and comprises one of the three great temples in the Kanto region.
With estimates of establishment around the 9th century AD, there are many historic structures such as the Niomon Gate guarded by two wooden warriors.
Hydrangeas fill the area throughout June and they have a festival in honor of the flowers. Over 7,500 of them grow which looks stunning against the five-story pagoda. It’s open at all times of day and there is no charge to enter.