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It’s nearly the end of May, and we’re going into June. In Japan, the month of June means rain, rain, rain. This weather condition where it keeps on raining for weeks is called Tsuyu (梅雨). One of the many good things that come out of this wet season are the blooms of hydrangeas. Hydrangeas, or Ajisai (あじさい) in Japanese, are known as the symbol of Tsuyu, accompanied with the snail. Here are 21 spots where you can admire hydrangea in Tokyo, Hakone and Kamakura.
Starting off with spots in Tokyo.
1. Hakusan Jinjya (白山神社)sakaki0214/Flickr
Hakusan Jinjya, and the area around it, holds a festival called Bunkyou Ajisai Matsuri (文京あじさい祭り) during 6/6 ~ 6/14. You can admire 3000 hydrangeas, and enjoy events such as free dental consulting and food stalls.
Address: 5-31-26 Hakusan, Bunkyou-ku, Tokyo
2. Fuchu-shi Kyoudo no Mori Museum (府中市郷土の森博物館)
With the inner grounds measured at 14 ha, Fuchu-shi Kyoudo no Mori Museum has exhibitions that display the history of Fuchuu, the replica of architecture from the Edo to Showa period. The hydrangeas are planted among these architectures, creating a blend of scenery you can no longer see these days. They hold a festival called the Ajisai Matsuri (あじさいまつり) during 6/8 ~ 7/7, and sell Ajisai mochi.
Address: 6-32 Minami-chou, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo
3. Tokyo Summer Land (東京サマーランド)
With 60 different species and 5000 planted hydrangea, you bet you can fully enjoy the pure beauty of hydrangea here in Tokyo Summer Land. They hold an event called the “Ajisai Kanshou” (あじさい鑑賞) from 6/8 to 7/13, where you can not only admire the hydrangea, but also enjoy foot baths and stalls that sell specialty products of Ootama. Official website in English here.
Address: 600 Kamiyotsugi, Akiruno-shi, Tokyo
4. Asukayama Park (飛鳥山公園)Masashi Yanagiya/Flickr
Asukayama Park started off as a place for the people in the Edo period to have enjoyable outings. 280 years later, with 650 sakura, 15,000 azaleas and 1300 hydrangeas, this park still entertains people to this day. Inside the park grounds, there are 3 museums.
Address: 1-chome, Ouji, Kita-ku, Tokyo
5. Ukima Park (浮間公園)
With 40% of its park grounds consisting of Ukima Lake, Ukima Park is in harmony with its water and flora. With a windmill placed by the lake, the park offers 300 hydrangeas as well as many exercising facilities for children.
Address: 2-chome, Funado, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo
6. Jindai Plant Park (神代植物公園)
Jindai Plant Park has 4800 different species, and 100,000 plants in their park. The park is sorted into blocks according to the species, such as rose, azalea, Japanese apricot, and so on. An entrance fee is required: adults 500 yen, over 65 250 yen, middle school students 200 yen, and those under that age as well as those attending schools within the ward are free of charge.
Address: 5-31-10 Motomachi, Jindaiji, Choufu-shi, Tokyo
7. Koukyo Higashi Gyoen (皇居東御苑)
Formally the area of the Imperial garden, Koukyo Higashi Gyoen covers the large area of 210,000 m. It also has the historic spots of Edo castle within the grounds. Flowers such as roses, Japanese apricots, camellias, hydrangeas, irises, and so on are planted around the area. You can enjoy various flowers throughout the year.
Address: 1-chome, Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
8. Kyu Shiba Rikyu Onshi Garden (旧芝離宮恩賜庭園)
Kyu Shiba Rikyu Onshi Garden is the oldest garden next to Koishikawa Kourakuen. The park has a pond in the middle, with a path surrounding it. It was named as one of the Meisho (名勝), which means a place of scenic beauty, by the government of Japan.
Address: 1-4-1 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo
9. Keiou Mogusa En (京王百草園)
Built in the Edo period (1715~) as a temple, Keiou Mogusa En is now a park planted with 800 Japanese apricot trees and many more flowers and trees. It also has Tanka inscriptions of Bashou Matsuo and other poets within the grounds.
Address: 560 Mogusa, Hino-shi, Tokyo
10. Yakushiike Park (薬師池公園)
Yakushiike Park started off with a pond to provide water to the fields. Now, with an area of 7700 square meters, Yasuiike Park enjoys the eyes of visitors with 1800 plants of 50 different species.
Address: 3270 Notsuda-chou, Machida-shi, Tokyo
11. Ueno Onshi Park (上野恩賜公園)
With a vast area of 530,000 square meters. Ueno Onshi Park is a mix of entertainment, culture and nature. Facilities such as The National Museum of Western Art, Ueno Zoo, Tokyo National Museum, and so on are scattered among the grounds. Flowers such as sakura, Japanese apricots, hydrangeas and so on color the park. Just walking around the grounds will surely entertain you.
12. Kokuei Showa Memorial Park (国営昭和記念公園)
Kokuei Showa Memorial Park was built for the memorial of the Showa Emperor who was on the throne for 50 years. With a large area equivalent to 39 Tokyo Domes, you can enjoy cycling, swimming in the pool (only in the summer), rowing the boat, and barbecues. An entrance fee is required: adults (over 15) 410 yen, children (elementary and middle school students) 80 yen, elderly (over 65) 210 yen. Please bring identification that will prove your age.
Address: 3173 Midori-chou, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo
13. Kyu Iwasakitei Gardens (旧岩崎邸庭園)
Former the property of the founder of the Mitsubushi business, Kyu Iwasakitei Gardens still preserves the 3 buildings as part of the nation’s important cultural assets. It also holds mini concerts sometimes.
Address: 1-3-45 Ikenohashi, Taitou-ku, Tokyo
14. Taitou-ku Sumida Park (台東区隅田公園)
Built aside the Sumida river, Taitou-ku Sumida Park is famous for its sakura and display of fireworks along the Sumida River. There are tennis courts, a baseball field, and a sports center within the grounds. You can enjoy sakura, hydrangeas, Japanese apricots and cluster amaryllis throughout the seasons. You can also see Skytree from the park.
Address: 7-1 Asakusa, Taitou-ku, Tokyo
15. Toneri Park (舎人公園)
Toneri Park is still under construction in some places, but in the final plan, it will the area of 69.5 hectares. With a lake enveloped with lush greens, Toneri Park has sport facilities and various open spaces. You can admire 300 water lilies, 30 hydrangeas, and 500 irises within the grounds.
Address: Toneri Park, Adachi-ku, Tokyo
16. Hama Rikyu Onshi Park (浜離宮恩賜公園)takuhitofujita/Flickr
Hama Rikyu Onshi Park was a former Imperial villa after the Meiji Restoration. It came under the jurisdiction of Tokyo in 1945. The lake and the area around it was named as a special historical and scenic place in 1952.
Address: 1-1 Hama Rikyu Tei-en, Chuou-ku, Tokyo
Moving on to the Hakone (Kanagawa prefecture) area.
17. Hakone Mountain Climbing Railway Special Train “Yoru no Ajisai Gou” (箱根登山鉄道特別列車「夜のあじさい号」)sodai gomi/Flickr
Among the Hakone Mountain Climbing Railway, 10,000 hydrangeas are planted along the train tracks. With reservation, you can admire these beauties that are lit up using the special train, “Yoru no Ajisai Gou”. This train runs during 6/28 ~ 7/7. Fees for train seats for one way are adults 310 yen, and children 160 yen. Official website in English here.
Next up, spots in the Kamakura (Kanagawa prefecture) area.
18. Hase Temple (長谷寺)
Hase Temple has 40 different species and 2500 hydrangeas planted within the grounds. Once you climb up the stairs, you can admire the view of the Shonan sea and the hydrangeas. Entrance fees into the temple are adults 300 yen, and children 100 yen. Official website in English here.
Address: 3-11-2 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa
19. Kita Kamakura Kominka Museum (北鎌倉古民家ミュージアム)
Kita Kamakura Kominka Museum is a museum that has many exhibitions inside an old private house built 100 years ago. It also famous for its 100 different species of hydrangeas planted among the grounds. Official website in Japanese here.
Address: 392-1 Yamanouchi, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
20. Engaku-ji Temple (円覚寺)veroyama/Flickr
Engaku-ji Temple was built in 1282, and still holds Zen practices at Zen halls. This special scenery of a temple with a long history and hydrangeas planted among the grounds can be found nowhere else. Entrance fees for adults are 300 yen, and children 100 yen. Official site in Japanese here.
Address: 409 Yamanouchi Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
21. Meigetsu-in (明月院)noe**/Flickr
Meigetsu-in is a Rinzai Zen temple and it’s well known for its beautiful hydrangea. When they bloom, the temple bursts forth in different shades of blue and the walk up to the temple from the entrance then feels like a magical path.
Address: 189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture