Where and When to See the Best Shibazakura Festivals in Japan

Missed out on some prime cherry blossom viewing? Fret not! Gorgeous views of plant life are still out there for you. “Shibazakura”, or "lawn cherry blossom", is another form of natural beauty that springs to life for about a month from the middle of April to mid-May. Festivals for this gorgeous pink moss abound, some of which are a reasonable day trip from major cities while others are off the beaten path. We’ll tell you all about shibazakura (pink moss), the best festivals to visit, how to get to them, how much they cost, and more. If you're planning to visit Japan in the late spring and want to get out and enjoy the flowers, then read on!

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What Is Shibazakura, the Pink Moss in Japan?

Shibazakura is a type of pink moss (more specifically phlox, which is a kind of flowering plant) that is actually native to the United States. The plant grows low to the ground before flowering in beautiful colors of red, purple, white, and pink. Wide fields of these low-to-the-ground flowers give an impression of colored carpets and are often referred to as pink carpets. Even though they aren't a native species, Japan has made art out of them, creating floral carpets before some of the country's most stunning scenery, including Mt. Fuji, torii (shrine) gates, and more. Visitors both Japanese and from abroad flock to these gorgeous fields to get a glimpse of the blooms.

Although shibazakura aren't found in the wild in Japan, there are a good number of festivals celebrating the feel-good, springtime colors these flowers bring. While this tradition is less popular than "hanami", or cherry blossom viewing, shibazakura festivals still enjoy a large number of visitors and bring with them a warm, fun, spring atmosphere.

When Can You See Shibazakura?

These plants bloom and blossom throughout April, peaking toward the end of the month and into early May depending on the weather. In colder or more mountainous regions of Japan, the season can begin in May and go well into June. If you're coming to Japan just after the cherry blossom season, you'll be able to enjoy these beautiful pink carpets with no problem at all.

Where You Can See Shibazakura in Japan

As mentioned earlier, these flowers don't grow in the wild. You'll need to make your way to one of many festivals to enjoy their beauty.

While there are many locations and festivals for shibazakura, this article will try to cover the best festivals, from famous, easy-to-access spots, to less-known hidden gems that are off the beaten path. We’ll be introducing shibazakura spots near Tokyo, in Hokkaido, and central Japan.

Fuji Shibazakura Festival, Yamanashi

This festival is undoubtedly the premier festival for shibazakura in Japan. Held at the base of Mt. Fuji and next to Lake Motosu (one of the five lakes surrounding Mt. Fuji), this festival offers a great photo spot, with 800,000 shibazakura and the beautiful World Heritage Mt. Fuji covered in snow all in one location. Better yet, it’s just a short day trip from Tokyo!

One of the festival's highlights is a Mt. Fuji-shaped mound of pink moss. Whites, pinks, purples, and green grass combine to form a flower-colored version of Mt. Fuji set right before the real thing! A photo-taking deck is also set up near the mound so that you can get the perfect shot.

The Fuji Delicious Food Festival is also held at the same time as the Fuji Shibazakura Festival and is conveniently located in the same place! You'll be able to try some of the delicious local dishes of Yamanashi Prefecture such as udon or yakisoba.

 

When Is the Fuji Shibazakura Festival?

This festival is held between mid-April and mid-May.

 

How to Get to the Fuji Shibazakura Festival

By bus: Take a highway bus from the Shinjuku bus terminal in Tokyo to the festival venue or to Kawaguchiko Station in Yamanashi Prefecture (one-way trip: around 2.5 hours, 2,500 yen). If you get off at Kawaguchiko Station, take the Shibazakura Liner bus. A ticket includes a round-trip to the festival venue and the entry fee (40 minutes, 2,200 yen).

By train: Take a train from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to Kawaguchiko Station in Yamanashi Prefecture (one-way trip: around 2 hours, 4,299 yen). From Kawaguchiko Station, take the Shibazakura Liner to the festival venue. 

 

What to See in the Area

Lake Kawaguchi area offers a wide variety of traditional and natural sightseeing spots. Head to Oishi Park if you want to take the perfect photo of Mt. Fuji seen beyond the lake together with some seasonal flower fields. If you are interested in Japanese culture and ever wondered how the countryside of Japan was in the old days, Saiko Iyashi no Sato Nenba is your chance to find out. If you hadn't had enough of Mt Fuji, don't miss one of the most iconic views of the sacred mountain: the Chureito Pagoda! For more ideas on what to see near the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, check out these 10 Places to Visit Around Lake Kawaguchi for a Relaxing Time Near Mt. Fuji.

 

Nearby Hotel: Royal Hotel Kawaguchiko

This hotel is located near Kawaguchiko Station, making your trip to the festival a breeze. Japanese-style rooms, hot springs, and views of Mt. Fuji are just some of the perks this hotel offers. Around 10,000 yen per night for two guests.

Hitsujiyama Shibazakura Festival, Saitama

This park is located in Chichibu, Saitama, which is just a quick trip from central Tokyo. Nine different types of shibazakura are planted on the Shibazakura no Oka (Hill of Shibazakura), showing off a total of 400,000 flowers. They have been arranged in an area of 17,600 square meters to form gorgeous gradations and unique shapes in shades of pink, purple, and white. Though not as grand as Mt. Fuji, Mt. Buko rises above the fields of shibazakura to offer a quick escape from the city and into some beautiful nature. Food stalls abound, so try to get your hands on the local specialty, miso potato (French fries with sweet miso).

 

When Is the Hitsujiyama Shibazakura Festival?

The festival is held from early April to mid-May.

 

How to Get to the Hitsujiyama Park Shibazakura Festival

By train: Take the Seibu Line Limited Express from Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo to Seibu-Chichibu Station in Saitama Prefecture (one-way trip: around 1 hr 20 minutes, 1,480 yen). From the station, it’s about a 25-minute walk to the park.

 

What to See in the Area

After visiting the Hitsujiyama Shibazakura Festival, why not take the chance and spend the rest of the day exploring the surrounding Chichibu area? This area is known for its impressive shrines and beautiful nature, including mountains that are great for hiking. Mitsumine Shrine is an atmospheric shrine at the summit of Mt. Mitsumine and offers highly ornate buildings and a rare style of torii. Chichibu Shrine, located in central Chichibu City, is said to be over 1,000 years old. Here, you can see parade floats during the Chichibu Night Festival, one of Japan's top three festivals. If you are traveling with children, the nearby Moominvalley Park could also be a fun option to consider! 

 

Nearby Hotel: Miyabi Hotel

This hotel is a little more than an hour away from Tokyo and is surrounded by nature. The traditional Japanese design and modern amenities ensure your stay will be one of comfort. Around 11,000 yen for two guests per night.

Ushiku Daibutsu Park Shibazakura, Ibaraki

Ushiku Daibutsu Park in Ibaraki is a simple day trip from Tokyo. The 10,000 square meter park features various flowers all year round, including the beautiful pink carpets of moss in the spring. Another attraction at the park is the massive "daibutsu", or big Buddha statue. Strolling through fields of pink while gazing upon Japan's largest Buddha statue is quite the experience. The statue stands at an impressive 120 meters and held the world record for the tallest bronze statue until being taken over in 2018 by a statue in India! You can actually enter and tour the statue to learn more about Buddhism, and you can even take an elevator 85 meters up into the air to look out upon the beautiful flowers below.

While there is no specific festival for shibazakura at this park, the easy access and unique Buddha statue surely make this park worth a trip. A petting zoo where you can get to know different animals can also be found at the park.

 

When Do Shibazakura Bloom at Ushiku Daibutsu Park?

The shibazakura here bloom from mid-April to mid-May.

 

How to Get to Ushiku Daibutsu Park:

By train: Take the Joban Line from Nippori Station in Tokyo to Ushiku Station in Ibaraki Prefecture (one-way trip: around 50 minutes, 990 yen). From Ushiku Station, take a taxi (15 minutes) or a bus bound for Ushiku Park or Ami Premium Outlet. Get off at the Ushiku Daibutsu bus stop (one-way trip: around 30 minutes, 680 yen). 

 

What to See in the Area

After spending some time exploring Ushiku Daibutsu Park, head to Mito, the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture. The city is famous for the gorgeous Kairakuen Garden, which is considered one of Japan’s three great gardens. Mito was also home to the Kodokan Mito Han School, where the children of feudal lords studied fighting techniques, literature, and medicine. Another spectacular, easily accessible spot in the area is Oarai Isosaki Shrine. Take a detour to the small coastal town of Oarai and you will be able to witness the sheer beauty of the shrine's torii standing in the Pacific Ocean. 

 

Nearby Hotel: Hotel LifeTree Hitachinoushiku

Hotel Lifetree Hitachinoushiku offers a Japanese-Western style breakfast, gorgeous views (including the massive Buddha statue), Wi-Fi, and is just a convenient, 3-minute walk from JR Hitachino-Ushiku Station. Rooms start from around 6,000 yen per guest per night.

Tokyo German Village Shibazakura Festival, Chiba

Located in Sodegaura, Chiba, Tokyo German Village is a German-style theme park and home to one of the most popular viewing spots for shibazakura's pink carpets. Other flower exhibitions are held here throughout the year, but the shibazakura exhibition is one of the most popular, with nearly 250,000 pink moss flowers blooming in an area of 50,000 square meters. Other attractions such as a Ferris wheel, putt-putt golf course, and grass sledding are also popular at this park.

 

When Is the Tokyo German Village Shibazakura Festival?

The festival is held from late March to late April.

 

How to Get to the Tokyo German Village Shibazakura Festival

By bus: 30-minute bus ride from JR Sodegaura Station in Chiba Prefecture (530 yen), or a 40-minute express bus ride from Chiba Station (950 yen).

 

What to See in the Area

If you want to continue your exploration of Chiba Prefecture, Narita City is worth checking out for those interested in Japanese culture and traditions. The highlight of the city is the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, built in the year 940. Part of the fun of visiting the temple is its store-lined approach where old restaurants and stores have been selling traditional crafts and food for centuries. For other beautiful places to visit in Chiba Prefecture, check out these 20 Must-Visit Sightseeing Spots in Chiba Prefecture

 

Nearby Hotel: Okura Akademia Park Hotel

Okura Akademia Park Hotel is located just an hour outside of Tokyo and only 10km away from Tokyo German Village. Situated near golf courses and an abundance of nature, your stay here will be convenient and comfortable! Rooms available from around 13,000 yen per night.

Chausuyama Kogen Shibazakura Festival, Aichi / Nagano

Arriving in late May to avoid the Golden Week crowds? Worried your trip is well past the typical cherry blossom and shibazakura seasons? Chausuyama Kogen has got you covered!

Perched on a mountaintop that straddles the borders of Aichi and Nagano prefectures at an elevation of 1,358 meters, 400,000 pink, white, and purple shibazakura bloom in an area of 22,000 square meters during May and early June. This iconic photo spot can be enjoyed both on foot or from above by hitching a ride on one of the ski lifts. Food stalls, concerts, illuminations, and other events are also held during the festival season.

 

When Is the Chausuyama Kogen Shibazakura Festival?

The festival is held between early May and early June.

 

How to Get to the Chausuyama Kogen Shibazakura Festival

By train: Take the shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Toyohashi Station in Aichi Prefecture (one-way trip: 2 hours, 9,100 yen). From Toyohashi Station, take the JR Iida Line to Toei Station (one-way trip: 1 hr 48 minutes, 990 yen). From Toei Station, take a taxi or the Kyukamura Chausuyama-Kogen Resort pick up bus to the venue (one service a day, 1 hour, free, reservation required).

 

What to See in the Area

If you want to get off the beaten path, head to Nagoya! The capital of Aichi Prefecture has a rich samurai history and great food culture. Have an amazing time exploring the 400-year-old Nagoya Castle, then stroll around the peaceful Osu Kannon Temple area, as well as its neighboring shopping district, the Osu Shopping Arcade. If you want to discover more about Nagoya, have a look at these 22 Must-Go Places in Nagoya, An Underrated Food and Sightseeing Destination

 

Nearby Hotel: Kyukamura Chausuyama-Kogen Resort

This hotel located in a national park offers a break from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Western- and Japanese-style rooms are available, and the hotel price includes day baths as well as Japanese breakfast and dinner courses. Around 10,000 yen per guest per night.

Higashimokoto Shibazakura Festival, Hokkaido

While most shibazakura festivals on the main island of Japan are held from April to May, the cold climate of Hokkaido means shibazakura bloom later in the year. Shibazakura festivals this far north are typically held from May to June instead.

Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park is a 100,000 square meter paradise for nature-lovers. The park is situated between a number of stunning natural locations including Lake Abashiri and Mount Mokoto. Food stalls abound here just like at any good festival, but the shibazakura at this park come accompanied by some unique attractions, chief among which are go-kart racing and a pond in which you can fish.

This park also comes with a bit of unique history: just after World War II, a local man named Nakahashi Suekichi began to cultivate shibazakura here after his sister brought him some from a nearby town. Nakahachi, who passed away in 2009, didn’t stop taking care of the park until 1999. Decades of his labor helped develop the beautiful park we can now enjoy today.

 

When Is the Higashimokoto Shibazakura Festival?

The festival is held from early May to early June.

 

How to Get to the Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park Shibazakura Festival

By car: 45-minute drive from Abashiri Station, or 30 minutes by car or taxi from Memanbetsu Station or a 30-minute drive from Memanbetsu Airport.

By train: Take the shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hakodate Station (one-way trip: 4 hrs 10 minutes, 14,850 yen). From Shin-Hakodate Station, take the Limited Express Hokuto to Sapporo Station (one-way trip: 3 hrs 40 minutes, 1,580 yen). Take the JR Okhotsk Limited Express from Sapporo Station to Abashiri Station (one-way trip: 5.5 hours, 10,000 yen). From Abashiri Station, take a bus to the Higashimokoto bus stop. From there, take a taxi to the venue (10 minutes), or take the free shuttle bus to the park (available only during the shibazakura blossom period, seats must be reserved no later than 4:30 PM on the day prior to boarding).

By plane: Take a flight from Haneda Airport to New Chitose Airport (one-way trip: 1 hr 30 minutes, prices starting at 10,000 yen). From New Chitose Airport, take the Rapid Airport to Sapporo Station (one-way trip: 37 minutes, 1,680 yen).

 

What to See in the Area

Abashiri is a city located in one of the most northern parts of Japan. This means that it has a very unique feel! You can learn more about the local culture at the Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples. For local cuisine, head to the city's seafood market, where the freshest seafood from the Okhotsk Sea is sold. Another interesting museum you can visit here is the Abashiri Prison Museum, once Japan's most famous prison! If instead you are a nature lover and prefer to stay in the open air, don't fret! Abashiri is full of natural beauty and hiking trails you can explore, as the city is located near two lakes: Lake Abashiri and Lake Notoro. For other great experiences in Hokkaido, check out these 50 things to do in Hokkaido

 

Nearby Hotel: Hotel Higashimokoto

This hotel in Abashiri offers restaurants, free Internet throughout the building, and free parking for guests who drive. Around 12,000 yen per night for two guests.

Fairy Tale Village Takinoue Shibazakura Festival, Hokkaido

Located in Takinoue Town, Hokkaido, Shibazakura Takinoue Park is one of Japan's largest in terms of size. This park came to life in the 1950s when the people of Takinoue planted shibazakura from a cardboard box used for mandarin oranges. Year by year, the townspeople added on to the park, creating the now 100,000 square meter area. Aside from the flowers, visitors can enjoy visiting the Phlox House souvenir shop, light meals, and shibazakura soft-serve ice cream. Helicopter rides are also available to view the pink carpets from the sky for 5,000 yen per adult.

 

When Is the Fairy Tale Village Takinoue Shibazakura Festival?

The festival is held from early May to early June.

 

How to Get to the Fairy Tale Village Takinoue Shibazakura Festival

By car: 3.5-hour drive from Sapporo and a 2-hour drive from Asahikawa.

By train: Take the shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hakodate Station (one-way trip: 4 hrs 10 minutes, 14,850 yen). From Shin-Hakodate Station, take the Limited Express Hokuto to Sapporo Station (one-way trip: 3 hrs 40 minutes, 1,580 yen). Take the Limited Express Lilac from Sapporo Station to Asahikawa Station (one-way trip: 1 hrs 25 minutes, 5,220 yen). Take a bus from Asahikawa to Takinoue (about 2 hours), walk 10 minutes from the bus stop to the festival venue. Bus tours from Sapporo are also available.

By plane: Take a flight from Haneda Airport to New Chitose Airport (one-way trip: 1 hr 30 minutes, prices starting at 10,000 yen). From New Chitose Airport, take the Rapid Airport to Sapporo Station (one-way trip: 37 minutes, 1,680 yen).

 

What to See in the Area

Asahikawa is known for being the coldest city in Japan, so it is home to the unique Snow Museum and its real-life Disney-like atmosphere. The city is also the ideal place to try Hokkaido's delicious ramen at the Asahikawa Ramen Village. Eat a bowl of yummy local ramen and then visit the nearby Ueno Farm, a spacious garden where 2,000 types of plants bloom throughout the year. 

 

Nearby Hotel: Takinoue Hotel Keikoku

Stay in a Japanese-style room at this hotel featuring indoor hot springs. Rates include breakfast and dinner for guests, and rooms start from around 25,000 yen.

Mishima's Shibazakura Garden, Hokkaido

While this mountain may look like Mt. Fuji, it couldn't be further from it! This shibazakura festival is located in Hokkaido in Kutchan Town, featuring pink carpets set before a mountain known as Mt. Yotei, on a 3,000 square meter area. Yellow rapeseed blossoms, along with the red, white, purple, and pink moss flowers provide a colorful contrast and unforgettable sight. This garden is free for all visitors, and from late May to the flower season, a temporary parking lot will be set up within a 5-minute walk from the garden.

 

When Is Mishima's Shibazakura Garden Open?

The garden is open from mid-May to mid-June.

 

How to Get to Mishima's Shibazakura Garden

By car: 20-minute drive from Niseko or 1 hr and 30 minutes of driving from Sapporo. Park in the Wanpaku Square or Asahigaoka Park parking lot.

By train: Take the shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Shin-Hakodate Station (one-way trip: 4 hrs 10 minutes, 14,850 yen). From Shin-Hakodate Station, take the Limited Express Hokuto to Sapporo Station (one-way trip: 3 hrs 40 minutes, 1,580 yen). Take the Hakodate Line from Sapporo Station to Kutchan Station (one-way trip: 2 hours, 2,100 yen). Mishima's Shibazakura Garden is 15 minutes away on foot.

By plane: Take a flight from Haneda Airport to New Chitose Airport (one-way trip: 1 hr 30 minutes, prices starting at 10,000 yen). From New Chitose Airport, take the Rapid Airport to Sapporo Station (one-way trip: 37 minutes, 1,680 yen).

 

What to See in the Area

Niseko is appreciated for its stunning natural scenery. Being located near Mt. Yotei and Lake Toya, it is also considered a great location for indulging in some relaxing hot springs, which is an experience not to be missed while in Japan. If you are traveling around Hokkaido and want to know where the best onsen (hot springs) are, read our guide on the 10 Must-Visit Hot Springs in Hokkaido. If you want to learn more about the Niseko area, check out these 10 Beautiful Summer and Winter Spots in Niseko, Hokkaido.

 

Nearby Hotel: Lodge Cowbell

This reasonably priced lodge features free Wi-Fi and private parking. Rooms start from around 5,000 yen.

Want to See Some Beautiful Pink Flower Carpets in Japan? Visit a Shibazakura Spot!

While the cherry blossoms reign supreme as Japan’s most famous flower, shibazakura still offer their own stunning beauty. If you’re visiting between early April and early June, try visiting one of these parks or festivals to experience a unique part of Japanese nature!

Title Image: IamDoctorEgg / Shutterstock.com

*Please be aware that many of these festivals have been canceled for 2020 due to the effects of the coronavirus. For more information, check our article titled Latest Information Regarding Closures and Cancellations Related to Covid-19 before your trip.


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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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