Rainy Season Summer Travel Guide

10 Best Places to see Hydrangea in Japan

What to do in Japan in early-summer? Places to visit and attractions for tourists are abundant here in Japan. If you plan on visiting Japan in June, be sure to explore some of its amazing hydrangea gardens.

The rainy season (tsuyu) hits the country around this time of year. Japan is geographically diverse and the season can start at various times depending on location. It lasts from the beginning of June to mid July.

With so many beautiful temples and shrines, no visit to Japan would be complete without visiting one of its traditional gardens. In fact, that’s where tons of hydrangea and irises bloom at the begging of the rainy season. For locals, visiting hydrangea (ajisai) garden is one of the most popular things to do in Japan in early summer.

While the rainy season can be very annoying, it is also the best time to see hydrangea bloom in Japan. The blue, pink, and white blooms are a sight to behold, on par with the country’s better-known spring cherry blossoms and the autumn leaf colors.

They’re also a great counter to the seemingly endless rainy days of the rainy season, which tend to make even the locals feel gloomy.

If you’re in Japan during June and July, you should take the time to go see these summertime flowers at the 10 best places to see hydrangea in Japan.

1) Yatadera Temple in Nara

Hydrangea at Yatadera temple, Nara Prefecture. Photo Credit: Yamato Koriyama City Office.

There are around 60 species of hydrangea at this temple and over 10,000 hydrangea plants on the grounds. There is even an area dedicated to viewing hydrangea in bloom, called the “Hydrangea Flower Garden”, fittingly enough.

There is a trail that takes you through numerous hydrangea blooms and an observatory. It is a wonderful place to take a stroll. If photography is your hobby, it is also a wonderful place to get some incredible shots of hydrangea plants in bloom!

From Nara Station, Koriyama Station is a 17-minute train ride. From there you have to take a walk to Kintetsu Koriyama Station (12 mintues).

Kongosenji Temple is a 20-minute bus ride from Kintetsu Koriyama Station.

2) Hasedera Temple in Kamakura

These hydrangeas look so pretty, Hasedera in Kamakura! Photo Credit: HASEDERA.

Hase-dera in Kamakura is a temple famous for its eleven headed statue of the goddess of mercy, Kannon. It is also one of the most beautiful places to see hydrangea in bloom.

There are over 40 different species of the flower on the grounds, coming out to a total of about 2,500 hydrangeas. They are blue, purple, red, and pink.

The colors will vary with the weather, thanks to the humidity in the air. That means every year and even every day is a little different.

As you view the hydrangeas here, you’ll also get a wonderful view of the southern coast of Hunan and the ocean.

3) Mimurotoji Temple in Uji, Kyoto

Visitors can see Hydrangea at night here. Photo Credit: Mimuroto-temple.

Mimurotoji Temple is also known as the flower temple for good reason. Its vast grounds have large gardens that are planted with seasonal flowers of every variety.

This makes it one of the best places in Japan to view hydrangea flowers. The best time to see the colorful flowers in bloom is in June.

There are many other things to do on the temple grounds, including visiting the stone statues of an ox and a rabbit.

Supposedly, touching the stone ball held in the ox’s mouth will lead to victory in your endeavors, while reaching into the stone sphere in front of the rabbit may grant you a wish.

Within the temple perceived boundaries is a statue of Ugajin, a local deity that has the body of a snake and the head of an old man.

Patting this statue is said to bring good luck and fortune. The other things that you can discover are the Amida Buddha Hall and three storied vermilion pagoda, which looks pretty impressive in the fall!

4) Meigetsuin Temple in Kamakura

It’s very nice roaming around the temple grounds in June. Photo Credit: Kakidai at Wikimedia Commons.

This template was built by Rinzai Buddhist sect in 1160 and it’s known as Ajisaidera because hydrangea flower bloom in abundance during the rainy season.

The steps leading up the temple are surrounded by hydrangea blooms on both sides, making the walk up a magical experience.

The hydrangeas here are primarily blue. They give the temple a calm and mystical air, adding to the sense of peace and quiet evoked by the temple’s architecture and décor.

Even on gloomy and rainy days, this is a wonderful walk that will help brighten your mood and achieve a sense of inner peace. It is a uniquely beautiful and spiritual experience.

5) Hakusan Shrine in Tokyo

During the ajisai matsuri, Hakusan Shrine. Photo Credit: Bunkyo City.

The Bunkyo Aijisai Maturi, which literally means hydrangea festival, is held here in mid-June. There are open air concerts and other events every weekend.

The hydrangeas in bloom span the full range of the flower’s colors and have been carefully tended.

Visitors can walk through rows and rows of the flowers while enjoying many sights and sounds from both traditional Japanese arts and more contemporary performances.

There are also many food and shopping stands, making this a delightful weekend trip during a season known mostly for its gloom. Even if you miss the height of the festival, you can still see the hydrangea blooms for a few days after the festival ends.

6) Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki

Hydrangeas at Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki. Photo Credit: huistenbosch.co.jp.

Home to a number of popular flower festivals, this local Aijisai Matsuri (hydrangea festival) here showcases 1,250 varieties of hydrangea plants from June 2 to July 1.

There are many popular spots to view hydrangea here, including Hydrangea Road. There is a Hydrangea Wall where a room has been specially set up to have an entire wall covered in hydrangea blooms.

The festival is all about showing off the area’s hydrangea flowers, including torus by hydrangea experts, a hydrangea light show at night, and even a market where you can buy any hydrangea varieties that you’re interested in planting.

Please note Huis ten bosch in Sasebo city, Nagasaki Prefecture is one of the best places to see tulips in Japan.

7) Hakone Tozan Railway in Hakone

Hakone Tozan Train and Hydrangea. Photo Credit: Odakyu Electric Railway Co.,Ltd.

This 40 minutes scenic tram ride runs from Hakone-Yumoto Station to Gora Station. There are over 10,000 hydrangea plants along the route.

If you want a more sedate and relaxed experience, a ride here is going to provide it. This train is set up specifically to allow for the best viewing of the hydrangea blooms along the tracks.

The Hakone Railway has a temporary train that only runs from mid June to mid July between Hakone-Yumoto Station to Gora Station for the viewing of the illuminated flowers during the evenings

There are only reserved seats available on this specialty train, so be sure to make a reservation in advance if you want to take a ride!

Around the middle of June is the best time to see hydrangeas, now you know the exact period of time when to take a ride, right?!

8) Shimoda Park (Shiroyama Park) in Shizuoka

Colorful hydrangeas at Shimoda Park. Photo Credit: Fuji Travel Guide.

Shimoda Park sits on the cape that overlooks Shimoda Bay. It was built around the ruins of Ushima Castle. There is a pleasant walking path that leads through old pine trees and a riot of hydrangea blooms.

The park is a delight to visit in just about any time of year, but the hydrangea season paints it blue.

Approximately 150,000 hydrangea plants bloom in June that brings a lively flower festival to experience in Shizuoka Prefecture.

When you are in Tokyo in June, you can think of visiting this natural park. Taking a day trip from Tokyo to Shizuoka is possible, and you can easily get there by JR Tokaido Shinkansen (Hikari train). The ride is fast and only takes an hour.

9) Fujinomori Shrine in Kyoto

What a brilliant color of hydrangea! Photo Credit: Yoko Nekonomania at Wikimedia Commons.

This imperial shrine was founded before 700. It has a month-long hydrangea festival that starts at the beginning of June.

It features a number of musical performances, rituals, and even sports demonstrations. This includes a number of traditional Japanese events, like ritual tea offering and traditional dance displays. All of this is done against backdrop of hydrangea blooms.

If you plan on visiting Kyoto in June this year, be sure to take a trip to this historical shrine and enjoy its rainy season by marveling at the stunning hydrangea blossoms.

10) Hondoji Temple in Matsudo City, Chiba

Five-storied pagoda and some hydrangeas. Photo Credit: Gideon Davidson at Flickr.

This temple sees over 10,000 hydrangea plants of over 10 varieties bloom every June. It is much less crowded than many other hydrangea viewing spots.

The hydrangeas provide an amazing addition to the temple grounds, which include a lovely five-storied pagoda and numerous lush gardens.

If you visit the temple in early June, be yourself ready to see thousands of stunning irises around the temple’s pond.

The longevity of these flowers is shorter than hydrangeas. So, you may not see them alongside the hydrangeas if you are late to visit the temple in June.