5 magnificent hydrangea gardens on the Kanto Plain

Image: PIXTA
Image: PIXTA

5 magnificent hydrangea gardens on the Kanto Plain

by Clink
Live Japan

During the rainy season of late May to July, the wet gardens of Japan come alive with the color of hydrangeas! From the temples of Kamakura to month-long flower festivals, there are loads of hydrangea gardens you can see on a day trip from Tokyo.

Here we’ll share 5 famous spots in Kanto brimming with thousands, if not tens of thousands of beautiful hydrangeas. With plenty of walks encompassed by these vivid balls of color, you can relish the beauty of Japan’s endless summer rain as it provokes a melancholic yet nostalgic sense of contentment.

1. Hasedera Temple: Stunning Hydrangea Gardens with Ocean Backdrops (Kamakura)

The sides of Kannonyama boast a huge assortment of hydrangea.

Known as the ‘Temple of Flowers’ due to its magnificent year-round gardens, the grounds of Hasedera Temple provoke a thorough appreciation for the dynamic changing of the seasons.

A 5-minute walk from Hase Station on the Enoshima Electric Railway Line, which is reachable after a 70-minute train ride from Tokyo, Hasedera Temple bursts with a delightful assortment of over 2,500 hydrangeas of 40 different species.

Blooming at various times in different shapes and colors from late May, the temple grounds become engulfed in hydrangea, allowing devotees to pray surrounded by incredible scenery.

The temple will distribute 300 yen “hydrangea viewing tickets” alongside regular entrance tickets for a 3-week period during the peak flower blooming to prevent overcrowding.

Those who possess both tickets can enter the premises multiple times on their chosen day, allowing one to avoid crowds while slowly taking in the sights of the ‘Ajisai Walk.’

You can view 4 original species of hydrangea that were named at Hasedera Temple.

There is also an observation platform with sweeping views of the Kamakura township and ocean, with Izu Oshima Island appearing on particularly clear days.

As you ascend the walking trail, you’ll eventually come across a jaw-dropping panorama of the trendy beach town of Yuigahama. Spend enough time here, and you’ll surely feel yourself slipping into a world of bliss and tranquility!

In addition to the hydrangea, Hasedera also boasts an assortment of other attractions worth checking out. For example, to celebrate 1,300 years since the construction of the temple’s deeply revered 11-faced Kanzeon bodhisattva statue, this usually-hidden holy object has been completely unveiled for public viewing, with a special event allowing worshipers to pray while touching the statue’s feet held daily.

Hydrangea + ocean + the streets of Kamakura = the ultimate Japan views!

Best Viewing Period: Late May - early July

Temple Entrance/Hydrangea Viewing Ticket Information
*Still expected to go ahead in 2021
・Hydrangea Viewing Ticket Period: 3 weeks during peak bloom (generally June, but will be decided based upon the flowers)
・Viewing Time:
- 8:00am - 5:00pm (closed 5:30pm)
- Saturdays/Sundays in June: 7:30am - 6:00pm
Temple Admission:
- Adults: 400 yen
- Elementary school: 200 yen
・Hydrangea Viewing Ticket: 300 yen
*Details are subject to change, check the official homepage before visiting

Special Viewing: Miashimairi
・Open: All year 9:00am - 4:30pm (admission: 9:00am - 4:00pm)
・Admission: 1,000 yen (includes a commemorative hand towel and gift)

*Visitation is not possible between 9:00am - 11:00am on the 18th of every month along with days where the Kannon-do hall is in use.
*To prevent the spread of COVID-19, please use the commemorative hand towel to touch the statue

COVID-19 Countermeasures:
Sanitizer installed/ Restriction on number of guests/ Masks required/ Temperature check enforced


2. Meigetsuin: Charming Blue Hydrangeas! (Kita-Kamakura)

The walkway is lined on both sides by an eye-popping assortment of stunning hydrangea.

A 10-minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station, accessible after a 50-minute ride on the JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station, Meigetsuin Temple boasts an extraordinary assortment of hydrangeas.

Nicknamed the ‘Kamakura Hydrangea Temple,’ over 2,500 hydrangea flowers light up the gardens from late May and peak between mid to late June. The most prominent species here is the revered himeajisai hydrangea, which has existed in Japan since ancient times.

Crowds of sightseers flock to view the bold contrast between the gentle blue flower, nicknamed “Meigetsuin Blue,” and the vivid greenery of the surrounding forest.

The mountains of Meigetsuin can be explored quietly and slowly if you arrive early during a weekday!

Complementing the hydrangea are blooming Japanese irises spotted at the beginning of summer. To celebrate this wondrous time, the normally out-of-bounds Hondo Ushiro Garden will be open to the public.

Framed like a masterful painting, the beauty of this exquisite garden is best appreciated from the round window in the main temple building. The Hondo Ushiro Garden is only open for the irises of early summer and foliage of autumn, so don’t miss the chance to witness this rare gem of Kamakura.

During your strolls, we recommend taking a breather at the ‘Gesshoken’ teahouse, where you can relish matcha and sweets while soaking in the surrounding garden. Those who take the time to spend a few hours embraced by this pristine natural beauty will leave with deeply nourished hearts and souls.

The soft and delicate texture of Meigetsuin Blue.

Best Viewing Period: Mid to late June

Viewing Information:
・Viewing Time: 9:00am - 4:00pm (June: 8:30am - 5:00pm)
*Depending upon the situation, temporary closures and shortening of hours may occur
- High-school and over: 500 yen
- Elementary and junior-high: 300 yen

Hondo Ushiro Garden Special Opening
・Opening Period: During the blooming of the Japanese iris (generally late May - early June)
・Opening Time: 10:00am - 3:00pm
・Admission: 500 yen
*Details are subject to change, check the official homepage before visiting

COVID-19 Countermeasures:
Sanitizer installed/ Restriction on number of guests/ Masks required/ Temperature check enforced


3. The Ajisai Train: A Journey Through the Mountainside Hydrangea (Hakone)

The hydrangeas are so close, you could almost reach out and touch them!

Located just an hour and a half away from ShinjukuHakone is one of Tokyo’s most popular holiday destinations. Running through this lush, mountainous region is the Hakone Tozan Line, adorned by over 10,000 hydrangeas seen on the 40-minute “Ajisai Train” between Hakone-Yumoto and Gora Station.

As the train runs 4 times per hour during the afternoon, you can check out the hydrangea while exploring local sightseeing spots at your leisure.
*The night-time Ajisai Train has been canceled in 2021

As the train chugs slowly through the mountain, passengers can thoroughly absorb the medley of flamboyant hydrangea from the wide, open windows while avoiding the rain of the wet season. It’s also worth hopping off the train to watch it weave through the forest from afar.

The red train, blue and purple hydrangea, and fresh greenery makes for amazing photography! Photo: PIXTA

The track-side hydrangea blooms for a month from mid-June until mid-July. As this region is full of mountains, the higher altitude flowers bloom later, allowing a larger window for viewing than most places.

After leaving Hakone-Yumoto Station, the train performs a “switch-back” in three different locations, forming a zig-zag path as it ascends the mountains of Hakone.

One of the switch-back locations is Ohiradai Station, which is known as a famous hydrangea hotspot with lots of photo opportunities. Providing a completely different view from the way up, the return ride is also extremely popular, making purchasing a two-way ticket worthwhile.

No reservations are required and all seats are unreserved. Photo: PIXTA

Best Viewing Period: Mid-June to early July

Best Viewing Period for Each Location:
Hakone-Yumoto Station: Mid to late June
Ohiradai Station: Late June to early July
Miyanoshita Station: Late June to early July
Chokoku-no-Mori Station: Late June to mid-July
Gora Station: Late June to mid-July
Along the Cable Car Line: Early to late July

COVID-19 Countermeasures:
Sanitizer installed/ Facilities are thoroughly ventilated/ Plastic partitions installed/ Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature/ Guests are required to wear masks

Hakone Tozan Train (Hakone-Yumoto Station)


Address: 707-1, Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 250-0311

TEL: 0465-32-6823 (Ajisai Train Inquiries: Hakone Tozan Line Railway Department 9:00am - 5:00pm weekdays)


4. Hondoji Temple: Colorful Hydrangeas with a 5-story Pagoda (Matsudo)

Blue and purple hydrangeas and a 5-story pagoda - a sight unique to Hondoji Temple!

Chokokuzan Hondoji Temple, also known as the “Temple of Seasonal Flowers,” is favored for its remarkable gardens blooming throughout the year. The temple can be accessed via a 15-minute walk from Kita-Kogane Station after a 30-minute train ride from Ueno Station on the JR Joban Line. Over 10,000 hydrangeas of 10 different varieties decorate the temple grounds from early June, with their peak beauty occurring later in the month.

Alongside the hydrangea gardens, Chokokuzan Hondoji Temple is known for its towering 5-story pagoda, creating a dynamic backdrop presenting the pinnacle of Japanese beauty.

Early June will also see the blooming of over 5,000 Japanese irises. For the best experience, try to aim for a time when both flowers are at their peak!

The hydrangeas burst with energy when it rains.

Every year during this time, a limited-edition seasonal temple stamp featuring hydrangea and iris designs is available. To get it, however, you’ll need a “goshuin-cho,” a special notebook used for collecting temple stamps available for purchase at most staffed temples and shrines.

The colorful irises at the central promenade.

Best Viewing Period: Early June to early July

Spring Temple Visitation Information:
・Opening Time: 9:00am - 4:30pm (last admission 4:00pm)
- Adults (Junior-high and over): 500 yen
- Children: Free
・Inquiries: 047-341-0405 (Flower/Foliage Telephone Inquiry Service, available in June/November only)

COVID-19 Countermeasures:
Sanitizer installed/ Plastic partitions installed/ Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature/ Guests are required to wear masks

Hondoji Temple
長谷山 本土寺
63, Hiraga, Matsudo-shi, Chiba 270-0002
Nearest Station: 15-minute walk from Kita-Kogane Station on the JR Joban Line
TEL: 047-346-2121(8:00am - 5:00pm)
Open: 5:00am - 5:00pm (last admission 4:30pm)
*During paid admission periods: 9:00am - 4:30pm (last admission 4:00pm)
Admission: Free (paid admission periods occur, such as the flower event above)


5. Gongendo Park: Over 16,000 Hydrangeas of 100 Varieties! (Saitama)

The sloping hills are totally engulfed by the white “Annabelle” hydrangea.

For a fix of hydrangeas in Saitama Prefecture, look no further than Gongendo Park in the city of Satte. This spacious park acts as a haven for locals to unwind in nature and escape the everyday. With a massive assortment of 16,000 hydrangeas of 100 different varieties, it is also one of Kanto’s biggest hydrangea hotspots.

Coinciding with their blooming in June, the annual Satte Hydrangea Festival is held in Gongendo Number  4 Park (Gongendo Park Sakurazutsumi) to celebrate this incredible natural wonder.

You can see rows of hydrangea along the Omide Hiroba.

A remarkable diversity of hydrangea can be found inside the park, including the elegant “Annabelle” hydrangea by the car park, the “Dance Party” and “Future” hydrangea in the Omide Hiroba, along with “Sumida Fireworks,” “Blue Sky,” and plenty of others with equally tantalizing names.

The gardeners, who are all volunteers, have done a commendable job crafting this definitive hydrangea showcase. We recommend visiting when the 3,000 Annabelle hydrangeas are in full bloom, covering the hills in a luscious, pristine white!

Gongendo Park also boasts a teahouse selling drinks, homemade bread, bento boxes, and souvenirs. What better way to enjoy nature than a bento box picnic amongst the blooming flowers and rolling hills! Just keep an eye on the forecast for rain!

The “Dance Party” hydrangeas have delightfully cute pink petals.

Best Viewing Period: Early/mid to late June

The 16th Satte Hydrangea Festival
*Scheduled to run in 2021
・Date: June 12 - 30, 2021 (planned)
・Time: 8:30am - 5:00pm
*may change in accordance with flower conditions
・Place: Gongendo Park Number 4 (Gongendo Park Sakurazutsumi)
・Admission: Free
・Inquiries: 0480-44-0873 (Gongendo Park office)
*Event may be canceled or altered. Confirm the latest information on the official homepage.

COVID-19 Countermeasures:
Guests are required to wear masks/ Guests are requested to only use the park for walking/ Walking paths are one direction only/ Large-scale gatherings are not allowed

Gongendo Park
887-3, Uchigouma, Satte-shi, Saitama 340-0103
Nearest Station - Train: A 30-minute walk or roughly 1,000-yen taxi ride from the east exit of Satte Station on the Tobu-Nikko Line.
- Bus: 15-minutes from Satte Station on the bus heading to Gokamachi Yakuba-mae. Get off at the Gongendo Park bus stop and the park is an 8-minute walk from there.
- Car: A 5-minute drive from the Satte Interchange on the Ken-o Expressway
Phone Number: 0480-44-0873

Temples, trains, parks, and mountains - the Tokyo and Kanto area brims with dozens of fantastic spots to check out the wonderful colors of the blooming hydrangea. Add a little life to the gloom and gray of the rainy season with a fun and relaxing hydrangea garden day trip from Tokyo!

*The condition of the hydrangea will depend upon weather and climate; flower blooming periods will change depending upon the year
*Due to the current situation, event times and details may change. Please avoid crowds and practice COVID 19 protective measures.


Via Live Japan

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