21 Must-See Spots for "Ajisai" Hydrangeas in the Tokyo Area
- Published: Jun 13 2022
Known as "ajisai" in Japanese, the hydrangea is a flower that is nearly synonymous with the June rainy season in Japan. Over the years, it has been cultivated to come in many colors, delighting people from all over. If you get the opportunity to visit Tokyo in the summertime, check out some of these great places to see this elegant and colorful blossom. Like cherry blossoms, they only bloom for a short time, so don't let their beauty pass you by.
1. Hakusan Shrine
Hakusan Shrine is one of the few places in the center of Tokyo where you can truly get your fill of hydrangeas, with over 3,000 of them scattered throughout the premises. Every year in June, the shrine hosts its annual Hydrangea Festival. Visit to see the flowers, eat some festival food, and take in the Japanese festival atmosphere!
2. Fuchu City Kyodo-no-Mori Museum
This museum focuses on the history, folklore, and nature of Fuchu City. Sprawling 14 hectares, it holds multiple historic buildings, a planetarium, the area's biggest plum orchard, and far more. In June, the premises turns into a giant hydrangea garden, with blooms of all colors delighting visitors. Fuchu may be a bit far from the center of Tokyo, but many people go out of their way just to see the lovely hydrangea scenery.
3. Wonderful Nature Village
In the summer, Tokyo can get pretty hot, which is why in order to beat the heat, people love flocking to the water park Tokyo Summerland. Located right next door, Wonderful Nature VIllage is an outdoors complex that has over 15,000 hydrangeas of multiple varieties. Between June and July, they host the Ajisai Festival where you can admire the flowers on a gentle hike through the complex grounds. If you brought your dog to Japan, this is one area both you and your best friend can freely sightsee!
4. Asukayama Park
Asukayama Park was built in 1873 as Japan's first public park. Thought it is most known for its sakura scenery, it also has a lovely 350-meter-long path with around 1,300 hydrangeas that you can admire during the month of June. Additionally, there are three museums and some old model trains within the park that are well worth the visit.
5. Takahata-Fudoson Kongoji
Takahata-Fudoson Kongoji Temple is a one-of-a-kind temple that's flush with historical, cultural, and natural treasures that are said to rival that of even the 88 temple pilgrimage of Shikoku. One of its biggest seasonal draws is its impressive hydrangea scenery, with around 7,500 flowers springing to life each June. If you're looking for a photo that includes both traditional Japanese temple sights and pretty flowers, you can't miss Takahata-Fudoson Kongoji!
6. Jindai Botanical Gardens
Jindai Botanical Gardens was originally built to cultivate roadside trees and other public greenery. It wasn't until 1961 when it became a botanical garden, and the first one in Tokyo at that. Today, it is home to 4,800 species of plants which number at a total of around 100,000. Each type of plant has its own block, and that includes the lovely hydrangea. You can find 100 different varieties of hydrangea here, all cleanly spread out into their own little blocks of space and waiting for you to snap a picture of them in full bloom.
7. Ajisai Park
Ajisai Park was built in 1973 with the goal of becoming a haven for hydrangea lovers. Every year, visitors can enjoy 1,500 hydrangeas in full bloom as they wander the park's leafy trails. These flowers are well taken care of by volunteers year round in order to ensure you and many others can enjoy them for years to come.
8. Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu Gardens
Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu Gardens is one of the last two surviving feudal lord gardens from the early Edo Period (1603-1867). Though it doesn't contain as many hydrangeas as some of the other spots covered in this article, it lets visitors enjoy the flowers amongst a traditional Japanese landscape garden backdrop. This serene scene is sure to hypnotize you with its beauty.
9. Keio Mogusaen
Built on the grounds of where a temple once stood, Keio Mogusaen is a place of tranquility. From its observation platform, you can not only see the wealth of nature it contains, but also city sights like Tokyo Skytree. Though most famous for its plum trees, it also has lovely hydrangea scenery. Perhaps you might spot a wild bird or two while taking in the blooms?
10. Yakushiike Park
Yakushiike Park started off as a pond that was dug to help provide water to farming fields. Over time, it grew to encompass an area of 7,770 square emeters and now is home to 50 different species of plants. Not only has it been dubbed an official Place of Scenic Beauty by the Japanese government, but it's also one of Japan's top 100 historical gardens. On top of exquisite hydrangeas in June, you can admire two historical Edo-period homes as well as slowly sip on "matcha" green tea within the park's tea house.
11. Ueno Park
Ueno Park is one of the most well-known parks in Tokyo and houses world-class facilities such as The National Museum of Western Art, Ueno Zoo, and The Tokyo National Museum. While flower lovers may know Ueno best for its pink sakura in the spring, in the summer, hydrangeas can be found all throughout the park, making it quite the colorful stroll on a sunny day.
12. Showa Kinen Park
Showa Kinen Park was built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Showa's rule. Covering a stunning 180 hectares of land, it offers a wealth of places and activities for visitors to enjoy, such as biking, swimming, and row boating. It is also blessed with nature, with around 9,000 hydrangea flowers blooming throughout the park come summertime. If you happen to visit in June, head over to the Fureai Bridge and make your way northeast to uncover the Ajisai Road, a path specified by the park that's chockfull of colorful hydrangeas. Make sure to bring your camera for that perfect shot!
13. Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens
The grounds of the Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens once housed the estate of the Iwasaki clan, who founded Mitsubishi, one of the biggest companies in Japan even now. They were handed over to the Japanese government after World War II, who has been managing them ever since. Though the grounds have shrunken in size and not all the buildings have survived over the years, what remains are well taken care of as national important cultural assets. Visitors are highly encouraged to walk around the gardens to admire everything it has to offer, including the blooming hydrangeas in June which you can see as soon as you step up to its entrance.
14. Sumida Park
This refreshing park situated alongside the Sumida River is an amazing place to get active, with tennis courts, a baseball diamond, and even a sports field awaiting visitors. Of course, it has offerings for those who prefer to enjoy the outdoors in a more leisurely way as well. Though most popular for its cherry blossom view in the spring, Sumida Park also has around 10,000 hydrangea flowers that stun passersby with their gorgeous colors in the summertime. Pair the blooms with a great view of the Tokyo Skytree and maybe even the famous local fireworks festival in July, and you've got the makings of a memorable summer.
15. Koiwa Iris Garden
Although Koiwa Iris Garden is best known for its titular irises, it has around 2,000 hydrangeas that bloom among the irises come June. Visitors are particularly taken with how the flowery scenery looks nestled below the Edogawa Bridge, which has various trains speeding through it every day. As you walk along the Edo River, the bursts of blue, purple, pink, yellow, and white from the flowers will brighten your day and invite some natural flare into the concrete cityscape that is Tokyo.
16. Hama-rikyu Gardens
Serving as a feudal and imperial retreat for several centuries, it wasn't until 1945 when the Japanese government took over the management of Hama-rikyu Gardens, opening it up to the public just a year later. Today, visitors can enjoy its scenic beauty and rich history for themselves from a tea house sitting in the center of the pond the garden is built around. Though most famous for its spring and autumn scenery, the garden is also a pleasant sight in the summer thanks to its hydrangeas. Though there aren't as many compared to other spots introduced in this article, they look especially lovely against the serene waters of the pond and surrounding greenery.
17. Tamagawadai Park
Tamagawadai Park sits on the edge of the Tama River and both the Tanzawa Mountains and Mt. Fuji can be seen from it. Natural forest paths loop through the expansive park and hydrangeas pop out each June for a pleasant summer greeting. With over 3,000 hydrangea bushes of seven different varieties on display, blooms of pink, blue, white, and purple bring visitors by the drove each year. For all the history buffs out there, there's also an archaic burial mound known as a "kofun" in the park that's believed to be from the 4th to 7th century. In short, there's plenty to see here!
18. Mukojima-Hyakkaen Gardens
With more than 100 years of history, the Mukojima-Hyakkaen Gardens in Sumida makes for a quaint place to spend a quiet afternoon in Tokyo. The name “hyakkaen” means "one hundred flowers" in Japanese as in the springtime, the garden is absolutely flooded with gorgeous flowers. This is true in the summer as well, though the scenery isn't as resplendent. Other than the hydrangeas, which are few in number but really stand out, Mukojima-Hyakkaen Gardens has a 30-meter-long enclosed trellis of bush clover as well as 29 stone monuments that commemorate famous writers such as the poet Matsuo Basho.
19. Shiofune Kannon-ji Temple
Ome rests on the outskirts of Tokyo and is home to Shiofune Kannon-ji Temple, where azalea and hydrangea flowers dominate the natural landscape from mid-April through June. Going past the Main Hall to the right will uncover the temple's hydrangea garden as well as a hiking trail that will let you admire even more varieties of flowers. Apart from the lovely blooms, many of the temple's buildings and statues are national important cultural assets and are worth a look.
20. Symbol Promenade Park
Symbol Promenade Park is on the artificial island of Odaiba and runs along the Tokyo coast. The park always seems to be bustling with various events and is a popular place for locals to run or get some space away from the cluttered city. Though the park is home to all kinds of blooms, its hydrangeas are a particular favorite as many of them have been strategically placed to make the perfect Instagram picture. There's a staircase surrounded by only white hydrangeas and another dedicated to blue blossoms. Search them out to take your own souvenir photo!
21. Minamisawa Ajisai Mountain
Magic enchants the premises of Minamisawa Ajisai Mountain. Numbering at around 10,000, the hydrangeas on this mountain come into full bloom between June and July, inviting many visitors eager to see them at their best. This gorgeous floral scenery was built by just one man, Chui Minamisawa, over the course of 50 years. Though located at the edge of Tokyo, the trek to see the fruits of his effort are worth it, as there are varieties of hydrangea here that are rare to find elsewhere. The mountain itself is private property, so a fee is charged to explore it, but that money goes straight to the area's maintenance. For such a paltry fee, the memories you'll make on this hydrangea wonderland will last a lifetime.
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.