Colorful hydrangeas bloom during the rainy season in Japan. They blossom in deep, vibrant colors after the rain. But while the hydrangeas that bloom in the sunshine are beautiful, the hydrangeas that thrive in the rain are equally gorgeous. Here are the five most famous spots for viewing hydrangeas in the Kansai region.
1. Mimurotoji (Kyoto)
Mimurotoji is a temple that is such a famous spot for hydrangeas (“ajisai”) that it is called “Ajisai-ji” (Hydrangea Temple). The view of the 10,000 hydrangeas blooming in the midst of cedar trees is just like a painting. The heart-shaped hydrangeas in the middle of countless hydrangeas in bloom have been really popular of late. Snapping a photo of these flowers and turning that photo into your smartphone’s wallpaper is even said to bring true love. Try to search for these flowers. Further, the hydrangeas in this temple are lit up during a certain period (weekends only), giving you a view into another face of these flowers that is different from what you see during the day (entrance into the temple is for daytime or nighttime only).
※Hydrangea Park hours: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm on June 1 - July 9, 2017
※Illumination: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays only on June 10 – June 25, 2017 Admission fee: 500 JPY
2. Kyoto Ohara Sanzen-in (Kyoto)
Sanzen-in Temple is a site that is famous for its fascinating sceneries, including the moss garden that is called the “Jewel Box of the Orient,” the changing colors of leaves during autumn, and its snowy landscape in winter. For about a month, you come anytime to enjoy thousands of hydrangeas that bloom at the “Ajisai-en” (Hydrangea Garden) that is located on the side of the approach to Konjiki Fudo Hall. There are also many rare hydrangea species in the garden, so have fun looking at the different ways that hydrangeas bloom. Ohara is a district that is often covered in mountain fog. The hydrangeas that are blanketed in fog and blend with the landscape create a magical, serene world. Although this temple is a little far from the center of Kyoto, you must still visit it.
※The “Ajisai Matsuri” (Hydrangea Festival) takes place on June 17 – July 13, 2017
※Admission fee: 700 JPY
3. Shoun no Tera Katsuo-ji (Osaka)
At Katsuo-ji Temple, the hydrangeas blossom after the hydrangeas in the other spots in the city of Osaka have bloomed, so the best time to view the hydrangeas here is quite late – sometime between early June and mid-July. One of the things you ought to notice about the 3,600 hydrangea plants found inside the temple precincts is their rich variety. In particular, the hydrangeas that bloom on the approach to the Hondo (main temple hall) from the Kannon Pond and on the shores of the pond are the best spots to appreciate the flowers. Katsuo-ji is a temple with a long 1,300-year history and it is also known as a temple that brings “shoun” (luck for winning). Students who are about to take exams, sports athletes and other worshipers flock to this temple in hopes of capturing the “luck of Katsuo-ji Temple” so that they can win in life. Why not pray for luck together with appreciating the flowers?
※Admission fee: 400 JPY
4. Tonboike Koen (Osaka)
Tonboike Koen (Tonboike Park) is a park in Osaka where children and adults alike can enjoy thanks to its flower and tree garden where you can admire flowers in season, and enjoy the large-size play equipment shaped like a dragonfly, among other features. Inside this park, the 10,000 hydrangeas of 40 different varieties that carpet the “Ajisai-en” (Hydrangea Garden) are truly stunning. You will see all kinds of hydrangeas, from the standard type, up to those with such adorable names as “Dance Party.” Information about the blooming condition of hydrangeas at this park is announced on Facebook, so make sure to check that out before you come. This vast property is the perfect gentle and quiet trail for the rainy season. Now if the weather is fine, it is also recommended that you bring your lunch box and have a picnic here.
5. Sohonzan Hasedera (Nara)
Nara’s Hasedera Temple is also popular as a “temple of flowers” since it is a place where visitors can enjoy different flowers every season. The 20,000 hydrangeas in this temple begin to bloom in early-June and then last until mid-July. The layout of the temple against the mountain, and the trees and hydrangeas that aren't fussed with live in harmony with nature are truly a sight to behold. The temple is crowded during the peak blooming period of the flowers, but since its precinct is huge, you can still relax in a leisurely manner. Even though it is far from the train station, a lot of people would still walk just to see the hydrangeas. This temple has not been improved despite its being a tourist site, so it provides one of the ways you can enjoy Nara, a region that values its landscape from olden times.
※Temple admission fee: 500 JPY
Unlike sakura (cherry blossoms), hydrangeas do not get spoiled by the rain, so you need not worry about missing out on these flowers as long as you come anytime within about a month from around early June to early July. There are many varieties of hydrangeas, so find that one type that you like best.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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