Best Places to See Hydrangea in Japan

Exploring the top Hydrangea sights across Japan

 Few seasons are probably as polarizing in Japan as summer. Many are looking forward to summer break but the dreaded rainy season and the hot and humid weather is definitely a challenge. As a sort of compensation, the arrival of summer also means the flourishing of hydrangeas, or ajisai in Japanese, turning many outdoor spaces into picturesque scenes with beautiful shades of white, blue, violet and pink. 

Fun fact: Did you know these colors are related to the ph in the soil for most hydrangea varieties? Acidic soil below ph of 6 will usually result in blue flowers while alkaline values above a ph of 7 will result in pink or darker hues. So naturally, neutral soil will generally result in something in between like violet shades or even a mix of pink and blue. The exception being the white varieties, which will remain white regardless ph values.

Well anyway, we’re not here to just nerd out about herbology but to provide you with the greatest excuse to get your umbrella and go out to enjoy some of the prettiest sights of the rainy season! With this in mind, here we go with the best places to see Hydrangeas in Japan!

Check also 5 Best Spots for Hydrangeas Viewing in Tokyo!

1. Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival at Hakusan Shrine, Tokyo

Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival at Hakusan ShrineThe Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival (文京あじさい祭り), held at Hakusan Shrine (白山神社), is one of Tokyo’s cherished rainy season spectacles. For over three decades, this festival has drawn visitors to admire the beautiful assembly of approximately 3,000 hydrangea flowers, showcasing around 20 distinct varieties. 

Scheduled in early to mid-June, the festival also features engaging events and stalls offering local delicacies and products, besides celebrating the beauty of hydrangeas. This festivity is a splendid opportunity to visit a shrine with over 1,000 years of history amidst a sea of stunning hydrangeas.

More information: Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival

2. Showa Memorial Park, Tokyo

Hydrangeas at Showa Memorial ParkShowa Memorial Park (国営昭和記念公園) is a vast haven of natural beauty in Tokyo’s western suburbs. Celebrated for its diverse flora that blooms throughout the year, the park becomes a special attraction during the rainy season with its spectacular display of hydrangeas. With approximately 9,000 hydrangea plants dotted across the park, you can wander along the designated “Ajisai Road” to soak in the vibrant hues.

The park’s expansive layout helps with keeping a peaceful ambiance, even during peak visiting times. The park’s premises also have ample spaces for picnic and even barbecue so it’s an excellent choice for a fun summer outing with family or friends.

3. Kamakura, Kanagawa 

Hydrangeas at Meigetsu-in and Hasedera in KamakuraKamakura, a coastal town renowned for its historical significance and scenic beauty, transforms into a hydrangea paradise during the rainy season. Meigetsu-in (明月院) and Hasedera (長谷寺) are two temples that stand out for their breathtaking hydrangea displays. 

Meigetsu-in, affectionately known as “The Hydrangea Temple,” boasts around 2,500 baby blue hydrangeas, creating a soothing sight amid the lush greenery. Hasedera, perched on a hilltop, presents a vibrant array of thousands of hydrangeas of various kinds, complemented by panoramic views of Kamakura city and Sagami Bay. 

Both temples attract numerous visitors during the hydrangea season, which is a lot to say for a destination that’s already popular year-round. Totally worth it though!

▽More information about hydrangeas in Kamakura!▽

3 Best Temples in Kamakura for Hydrangea Viewing

4. Hakone Tozan Railway, Kanagawa

Hydrangeas at Hakone Tozan RailwayThe Hakone Tozan Railway (箱根登山鉄道) is affectionately known as the “Hydrangea Train” because of its unique and picturesque feature during summer. As the train meanders through the mountains in Hakone, passengers are treated to a stunning display of hydrangeas during the peak blooming season between June and July. 

The experience is further enhanced during the evening hours when the hydrangeas are beautifully illuminated, creating a magical and enchanting atmosphere (check the official website for updated illumination schedules. This seasonal event draws visitors from near and far, eager to witness the vibrant blues, purples, and pinks that adorn the railway’s tracks. 

5. Michinoku Hydrangea Garden, Iwate

Michinoku Hydrangea Garden, IwateNestled within a vast cedar forest, Michinoku Hydrangea Garden (みちのくあじさい園) in Iwate is a spectacular sanctuary home to approximately 40,000 hydrangea plants spanning over 400 varieties. Recognized as one of Japan’s most extensive hydrangea collections, the garden blooms vibrantly from late June to late July. 

There are three distinct walking trails – the Crimson Course, the Princess Course, and the Trail for the Strong-legged, each with unique vantage points of the colorful spectacle. The Michinoku Hydrangea Festival is held during the peak blooming season, attracting crowds with its stunning “Hydrangea Pond” feature, where myriad hydrangea hues float on the water’s surface, adding to the already breathtaking floral displays.

6. Unshoji Temple, Akita

Hydrangeas at Unshoji Temple, AkitaUnshoji Temple (雲昌寺), in the coastal town of Oga, Akita, is renowned for its expansive hydrangea garden, meticulously cultivated over 15 years by the temple’s deputy chief priest. During peak bloom in late June, the garden transforms into a sea of blue, with over 1,500 hydrangea plants enveloping the temple grounds. 

The priest’s cultivation methods result in an extraordinary number of blooms per plant, creating an immersive blue landscape. The backdrop of the North Ura port town and the Oga Sea adds a scenic contrast, making this view exclusive to Unshoji. The temple, dating back to 1624, is a site of historical and spiritual significance that’s now celebrated as well for its breathtaking hydrangea display that draws visitors from across Japan.

7. Izu Shimoda Park, Shizuoka

Hydrangeas at Izu Shimoda Park, ShizuokaIzu Shimoda Park (下田公園), with its panoramic views of Shimoda city and port, is celebrated for its Hydrangea Festival, where approximately 3 million hydrangeas bloom, captivating visitors with their beauty. The park, known for its extensive variety in Izu, hosts over 100 named species of hydrangeas, including Kashiwaba Hydrangea, Uzu Hydrangea, and Annabelle, creating a kaleidoscope of colors along its pathways. 

During the festival, the park encourages visitors to enjoy the blooms on foot due to limited parking, and even offers cart services for those with mobility issues, ensuring everyone can experience the floral spectacle. 

8. Katahara Onsen Ajisai no Sato, Aichi

Hydrangeas at Katahara Onsen Ajisai no Sato, AichiKatahara Onsen Ajisai no Sato (片原温泉 あじさいの里), nestled at the foot of Mikagene Mountain and surrounded by lush forests in Aichi, is a peaceful hot spring area revered for its smooth, alkaline waters. This serene location comes alive during the Hydrangea Festival in June, when 50,000 hydrangea plants across the scenic area bloom in a riot of color.

The festival attracts around 100,000 visitors annually, with the area illuminated at night to present a different, enchanting view. Activities like exhibitions and photo contests are held, enriching the experience. The local cuisine, featuring fresh seafood from Katahara Fishing Port, offers a perfect complement to the breathtaking natural beauty, making Katahara Onsen Ajisai no Sato a must-visit for both relaxation and cultural immersion.

9. Kazahaya no Sato, Mie

Hydrangeas at Kazahaya no Sato, MieKazahaya no Sato (かざはやの里) is a remarkable hydrangea paradise in Mie, boasting 77,700 plants across 40 varieties, spread over a vast 33,000 square meter area with stunning views of the Kasahaya Pond. The hydrangea festival held here until mid-July transforms the area into a colorful spectacle, with some unique species that can only be found in Kazahaya no Sato. 

The garden is designed to offer breathtaking views from every corner and boasts facilities catering to families, couples, and nature enthusiasts alike, so it’s a good destination as a day-trip for a tranquil retreat.

10. Maizuru Nature and Cultural Park, Kyoto

Hydrangeas at Maizuru Nature and Cultural Park, Kyoto
© 舞鶴市役所

Maizuru Nature and Cultural Park (舞鶴自然文化園) in Kyoto becomes a vivid spectacle with about 100 varieties and 100,000 hydrangea plants during its peak season from June to July. The park, surrounded by rich natural beauty, showcases a wide range of species from domestic to rare varieties. 

One of the park’s most popular features is the heart-shaped hydrangeas, a rare find that has become a sought-after sight among visitors. Along with hydrangeas, the park is also known for other seasonal attractions, like captivating views of camellias in March and a sea of autumn leaves in November, so it’s a year-round worthwhile destination.

11. Sanuki Manno Park, Kagawa

Hydrangeas at Sanuki Manno Park, KagawaSanuki Manno Park (国営讃岐まんのう公園) in Kagawa is known for its Hydrangea Festival, where 40 varieties and 20,000 hydrangea plants bloom in splendor from early to late June at the park’s Hydrangea Garden. The festival highlights include both common varieties like Hydrangea macrophylla and rare species, offering a great opportunity for enthusiasts.

During the festival visitors can also enjoy various events and workshops, including the availability of cute and colorful japanese umbrellas for rent, parasol making or learning how to do cuttings to propagate plants, adding a fun and educational aspect to the experience.

12. Nagasaki Huis Ten Bosch

Hydrangeas at Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki
© Huis Ten Bosch Co., Ltd.

Huis Ten Bosch (ハウステンボス) in Nagasaki, known for its Dutch-themed architecture and attractions, hosts Japan’s largest Hydrangea Festival from late May to late June. With over 1,250 varieties of hydrangeas, the festival transforms the park into a vibrant and colorful haven, where visitors can explore several dedicated areas, including the Flower Square and Hydrangea Canal. 

Besides showcasing an extensive range of hydrangeas, the park also offers themed shows, menus, merchandise, and decorations during the festival. The night illumination is one of the most popular events, especially among couples.

More information: Huis Ten Bosch Hydrangea Festival

You can enjoy a wide variety of flowers in Japan throughout the year. Check out our ultimate guide to flowers in Japan and find the best seasonal blooms!

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Written by

Photographer, journalist, and avid urban cyclist, making sense of Japan since 2017. I was born in Caracas and lived for 14 years in Barcelona before moving to Tokyo. Currently working towards my goal of visiting every prefecture in Japan, I hope to share with readers the everlasting joy of discovery and the neverending urge to keep exploring.