Hydrangeas, or ajisai in Japanese, herald the arrival of the rainy season, bringing vibrant hues of blue, purple and sometimes pink to the otherwise dreary period from late May to early July. Celebrated even in the Manyoshu, Japan’s oldest and most esteemed poetry anthology, hydrangeas hold a special place in Japanese culture. Here are our top picks for the best places to admire these stunning flowers in central Tokyo and a few gems just beyond the city limits.

best hydrangea spots in tokyo

1. Hakusan Shrine

Hakusan Shrine, one of Tokyo’s esteemed 10 Shrines, was established during the Tenryaku period (947957). In June, the shrine transforms into a vibrant oasis with around 3,000 hydrangea bushes blooming in a dazzling array of colors. This annual spectacle has earned it the affectionate nickname of the Hydrangea Shrine. Despite its proximity to the station, the shrine is tucked away in a tranquil spot off the main road, providing a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Don’t miss the Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival from June 8 to 16, which extends from the shrine grounds to the nearby Hakusan Park.

best spots in tokyo for hydrangeas

2. Takahata Fudoson Kongoji Temple

Just a five-minute walk from Takahatafudo Station on the Keio Line and Tama Toshi Monorail Line, Takahata Fudoson Kongoji Temple is a must-visit during hydrangea season. As one of the three Great Fudo temples of the Kanto region, its vast grounds are home to valuable cultural assets and an impressive display of hydrangeas. From early June to early July, over 7,500 hydrangea bushes, spanning about 200 varieties, burst into bloom, creating a breathtaking spectacle. Recent improvements to the walking paths and an expanded mountain hydrangea garden add to the temple’s allure. The temple’s annual Hydrangea Matsuri is held throughout June. 

3. Showa Memorial Park

Showa Memorial Park, created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Showa’s reign, is a vast green oasis stretching over an area equivalent to 39 Tokyo Domes. The park is a floral paradise with around 9,000 hydrangea bushes that come alive during the rainy season. Besides hydrangeas, visitors can also admire irises and water lilies in full bloom. From June 8 to July 7, the park is hosting the Hydrangea Walk 2024. Highlights include the enchanting floating hydrangea flowers, where hydrangeas float gracefully in the canal fountain. The event also offers hydrangea-patterned umbrella rentals and picturesque photo spots, perfect for capturing the beauty of the season.

best spots in tokyo for hydrangeas

4. Hamarikyu Gardens

Hamarikyu Gardens, established in the Edo period (16031867), is a historic garden featuring Tokyo’s only seawater pond, multiple teahouses and duck hunting sites. It also offers various attractions and provides a striking contrast to the surrounding skyscrapers. From May to June, approximately 175 hydrangea bushes, including varieties such as hon-ajisai and Kashiwaba-ajisai, are in full bloom. At the same time, about 1,000 irises also reach their peak, making it a perfect time to enjoy the beautiful collaboration of hydrangeas and irises.

best spots in tokyo for hydrangeas

5. Shiofune Kannonji Temple

Known as the temple of flowers and history, Shiofune Kannonji Temple is famous for its colorful display of approximately 20,000 azaleas in red, white and pink. The peak season for hydrangeas is in June. Along the path from the main gate to the Amida Hall, white Annabelle hydrangeas bloom. In the garden behind the main hall, these rare flowers, as well as mountain hydrangeas and oakleaf hydrangeas, blossom, beautifully coloring the slopes.

6. Mukojima Hyakkaen Gardens

Mukojima Hyakkaen began as a plum garden during the Edo period and later became known as hyakkaen, meaning garden of a hundred flowers, due to the planting of not only plums but also various historic plants and the seven flowers of spring and fall. This garden features lacecap hydrangeas, affectionately nicknamed the “Fireworks of Sumida.” During the hydrangea season, visitors can use brochures to guide them to the various locations of hydrangeas within the garden. There are also many areas to enjoy the tunnel of bush clover and irises, making it a delightful place to visit year-round.

best spots in tokyo for hydrangeas

7. Tamagawadai Park

Tamagawadai Park is a vast park near the Tama River. It offers stunning views of the Tanzawa Mountain range and Mount Fuji in the distance. The park is conveniently located near Tamagawa Station, with the hydrangea garden just a short walk away. From early to mid-June, approximately 4,000 hydrangea bushes of around seven varieties reach their peak bloom, creating a picturesque scene perfect for photographing.

8. Kodaira Ajisai Park

Kodaira Ajisai Park was established in 1973 with the aim of becoming a renowned hydrangea viewing spot. The park is home to approximately 1,500 hydrangea bushes, including lacecap and mophead varieties, which bloom in vibrant colors in June. The Kodaira Ajisai Festival is held in mid-June, featuring a special illumination event. The lit-up hydrangeas are perfect for capturing beautiful nighttime photos.

9. Ueno Toshogu Shrine

Located in Ueno Park, Ueno Toshogu Shrine is another fantastic spot to enjoy hydrangeas during the rainy season. The shrine’s garden features a beautiful display of hydrangeas alongside its historical structures, providing a perfect blend of nature and culture. Ueno Station, served by multiple train lines, is just a few minutes away on foot.

best hydrangea spots in tokyo

10. Rikugien Gardens

Rikugien is a stunning Japanese garden that can be found in central Tokyo. From now until June 23, the garden is celebrating the arrival of summer with approximately 1,000 hydrangeas spanning 15 different varieties, including the elegant mountain hydrangeas that have flourished in Japan since ancient times. Though they differ from typical hydrangeas in appearance, their modest size and subtle colors exude a unique charm. The garden also features vibrant pink Satsuki azaleas, also native to Japan’s mountainous regions.

Bonus: Heavenly Hydrangea Spots Near Tokyo

Gongendo Tsutsumi (Satte, Saitama Prefecture)

Gongendo Tsutsumi, part of Gongendo Park, is bustling in spring as a famous cherry blossom viewing spot. In June, it transforms with the bloom of 10,000 hydrangea bushes across 100 varieties, celebrating the Hydrangea Festival. The white Annabelle hydrangeas create a breathtaking sight resembling a snow-covered mountain. It’s a perfect spot for a stroll during the breaks in the rain.

best hydrangea spots tokyo

Meigetsuin (Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture)

Meigetsuin, famously known as the Hydrangea Temple of Kamakura, is renowned nationwide. In June, thousands of Princess hydrangeas (hime ajisai) bloom, transforming the temple grounds into a stunning blue gradient. This iconic spot is perfect for a romantic date on a rainy day or a serene stroll amid nature’s beauty.

best hydrangeas

Hasedera Temple (Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture)

Hasedera Temple, founded in 736, is celebrated as the “Western Paradise of Kamakura.” Known for its year-round floral beauty, the temple becomes particularly enchanting during the rainy season. The hydrangeas blooming on the slopes behind the Kyozo (sutra repository) offer a picturesque and tranquil scene. If you’re exploring Kamakura during the rainy season, Hasedera Temple is an essential stop to fully experience the city’s charm.

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