Rainy Season Flowers: The Best Places to See Hydrangeas in Japan
Japan is known for having four distinct seasons, but not included in those is the widely accepted “rainy season,” called tsuyu in Japanese, which generally lasts from early June through mid-July. The rainy season is characterized by lots of, you guessed it, rain, but also high humidity and fog. Despite (or perhaps thanks to) the rather gloomy weather, however, vegetation and plant life are especially lush during the rainy season. Most famous for blooming at this time are hydrangeas.
While native to many places in Asia and the Americas, Japan has some of the greatest species diversity of the flower in the world. Regardless of the variety, hydrangeas in Japan generally begin to bloom in mid- to late May and continue to flower through July, peaking in mid- to late June. Hydrangeas come in a variety of shades of blue, purple, pink, and white, the color depending on the soil and amount of rain.
So where can you see hydrangeas? In Japan, the flowers are often found on temple and shrine grounds as well as in parks, gardens, and on riverbanks. While there are any number of places to enjoy the colorful blossoms, we’ve collected a few of our favorites to introduce.
Unshoji Temple (Akita Prefecture)
There are so many of the flowers there that Unshoji Temple is known as one of Japan’s many Hydrangea Temples! The priests of the temple maintain the flowers, and the beautiful temple grounds are one of the most popular places to visit in Oga City. The hydrangeas come into full bloom in late June, and the flowers are spectacular not only during the day, but also at dusk.
Unshoji Temple, located in Oga City, Akita, is well-known for its abundant hydrangeas, leading it...
Hattori Farm Hydrangea Mansion (Chiba Prefecture)
There’s no better place for hydrangea photography than the Hattori Farm Hydrangea Mansion in Chiba Prefecture. Over 10,000 hydrangea plants in a variety of colors are spread out over the grounds, surrounding the walking paths. It’s a bit out of the way, but this quiet space surrounded by nature is the perfect spot for an outing with friends or family, a date, or a refreshing day to yourself.
The Hattori Farm Hydrangea Mansion, located on the mountainous slopes of rural Chiba Prefecture, ...
Takahata Fudoson Kongoji Temple (Tokyo City)
If you’re in the mood for a hydrangea festival, then Takahata Fudoson Kongoji Temple is the place to go! Held for the entire month of June, the festival is centered around the some 7,500 hydrangeas of over 200 varieties. During the festival, there is also a photography contest as well as a haiku and tanka poem competition, so make sure not to miss out.
Takahata Fudoson Kongoji Temple in Hino City on the west side of Tokyo is one of the three major ...
Meigetsuin Temple (Kanagawa Prefecture)
Meigetsuin Temple in Kamakura is another of Japan’s Hydrangea Temples. The hydrangeas at this temple are an ancient species called “princess hydrangeas,” which are a cross-breed between two different types of hydrangeas and do not occur naturally in the wild. They are a particularly beautiful shade of blue, and the some 2,500 that grow on the temple grounds has led the view to be known as “Meigetusin blue.” The princess hydrangeas bloom from late May to early July, but they are usually at their peak during mid-June.
Meigetsuin Temple is a historical Zen Buddhist temple founded in 1160 and located in the northern...
Hasedera Temple (Kanagawa Prefecture)
Hasedera Temple in Kamakura is quite possibly the most famous place to see hydrangeas in Kanagawa, if not the entirety of Japan. The grounds of the temple have a meticulously maintained “flower walk” during the blooming period, which is extremely popular with tourists and locals alike. The hills surrounding the temple are covered with hydrangea plants of many different varieties, including the familiar round clusters as well as those with scattered buds, so visitors will get to see a wide variety of both colors and flowers.
Hasedera Temple in Kamakura City, Kanagawa, is an ancient temple with a long history. From the fl...
Are you ready to go see some hydrangeas yet? The rainy season may dampen your spirits, but the more rain they get, the healthier and more beautiful the flowers will be! So go ahead and check for hydrangea gardens and festivals near you and don’t be afraid to brave the weather. Just make sure not to forget an umbrella!
Due to COVID-19, some events and admission restrictions have been canceled or changed. Please make sure to check the official websites for each location before visiting and be extra cautious during your travels.