During the rainy season, Japan has high levels of humidity, and you may feel that going out sightseeing in the rain is rather troublesome. However, it is precisely during this season that you can enjoy a traditional sign of early summer in Japan: the hydrangeas. Their beauty will surely liven up your day and take away all the blue feelings that the rain may have brought with it. In this article, you will find a selection of famous places in Tokyo and its surroundings where you can enjoy the hydrangeas.
Showa Kinen Park opened in 1983 to commemorate the 50th year of the reign of the Showa Emperor, Hirohito. This vast park extends over a 165.3 ha area in Tachikawa and Akishima, and is home to many facilities where visitors can enjoy the flowers throughout the seasons, including a Japanese garden, a cherry blossom area, a cosmos hill, a flowering tree and shrub garden, and more. Between June and mid-July, hydrangeas bloom all over the park. The promenade in the Fureai Field is known to feature colonies of different hydrangea varieties that bloom beautifully as if they were competing to catch the eye. A relaxed day in this park full of rich nature, about an hour away from downtown Tokyo, will surely refresh both your body and mind.
*Photo for illustration purposes.
1. Showa Kinen Park (Tokyo)
Toshimaen is known as one of the largest parks in Tokyo and while it is famous for housing facilities such as an amusement park and pools, it is also a well-known spot for cherry blossoms and hydrangeas. During the early summer, over 10,000 brightly colored hydrangeas of about 150 varieties bloom in the Hydrangea Area on the north side of the park. The Hydrangea Area is divided in differently themed sections where you can enjoy the sight of mountain hydrangeas and rare hydrangeas bred by specialized growers. The Toshimaen Hydrangea Festival, held every year from the end of May to the end of June, features guided tours with garden designers in charge of the hydrangea area, lectures by experts, and hydrangea flavored desserts available at the pop-up cafe Ajisai Tea House. The area is lit up at night on weekends during the festival, so visitors can enjoy a different view and atmosphere than they would during the day.
2. Toshimaen (Tokyo)
Different flowers bloom all throughout the year at Hasedera, famously known in Kamakura as the temple of flowers, so you can enjoy the view regardless of when you visit. The temple is particularly famous for its hydrangeas, though, so it becomes especially crowded and lively with large numbers of visitors when they start to bloom in bright colors during the rainy season every year. 2,500 hydrangeas of 40 different varieties grow on the slope of Mt. Kannon at the back of the temple grounds, and cover the earth in colors such as blue, purple, and red at the end of July when they reach their peak. A panoramic promenade runs through the slope of the mountain for visitors to stroll, offering a variety of ways to enjoy the hydrangeas: you can look up at them from the skirts of the mountain, or look down at them from above. When you reach the end of the promenade at the peak, you will also command a view of the ocean at Yuigahama, which is another of the attractions offered by Hasedera Temple.
Takahata Fudoson Kongo-ji, located a 30 min. train ride from Shinjuku, is one of the three largest Fudoson temples in the Kanto area, and it is also a sightseeing spot that receives large amounts of visitors every year. The vast temple grounds are surrounded by rich greenery and nature and offer a beautiful view all throughout the seasons. As the rainy season begins, a total of 7,500 hydrangeas start to bloom, including 3,300 wild mountain hydrangeas and about 700 mountain hydrangeas of 250 different varieties brought from all over Japan, as well as other Western types of hydrangeas. The hydrangeas on the slope of the temple grounds grow tall and hang from above, creating a kind of tunnel that visitors can pass through by walking under the flowers. The temple holds a Hydrangea Festival every year from the beginning of June to the beginning of July. The festival includes a plant market and a flea market, so make sure to drop by while it lasts!
4. Takahata Fudoson Kongo-ji (Tokyo)
Hondoji, located in Matsudo about an hour train ride away from downtown Tokyo, is a historical temple said to have been first constructed in 1277. It's home to 10,000 hydrangeas and 5,000 irises, so it is also known as the Temple of Hydrangeas. The beautiful hydrangeas and irises bloom every year in June, bringing color to the temple grounds. From the square in front of the pagoda, visitors can indulge in a view of the pagoda with the hydrangeas, an area that's also a popular spot to take photographs. In addition, the temple premises offer many other attractive views, such as a pond where water lilies bloom, a Japanese-style garden, and waterfalls. We recommend this temple to those who are looking to spend a relaxed day.
5. Hondoji (Chiba)
There are many other famous places where you can enjoy the signs of the early summer both in Tokyo and surrounding areas. Different places offer different varieties of hydrangeas, so make sure to visit more than one!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.