Kansai Rainy Season Travel Guide

10 Best Places to See Hydrangea in Kansai: Kyoto, Nara, Osaka

In Japan, hydrangeas bloom during the rainy season in June and July. Though, you can see hydrangeas until early-August in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan. 

Where to see hydrangea in Kyoto, Osaka, and in Nara? There are many places to see hydrangea in the Kansai region of Japan, but we are here to showcase the most notable ones that are sure to impress you.

The region boasts beautiful floral displays throughout the year including gorgeous autumn leaves in the fall. It is true that Kyoto is one of the best places to see red maple leaves in Japan.

If you are planning a trip to the Kansai region during the rainy season, consider visiting some of these hydrangea viewing spots. We believe the following hydrangea gardens deserve a spot on every traveler’s bucket list.

1. Mimurotoji Temple in Kyoto

Heart-shaped hydrangea at Mimurotoji, Kyoto. Photo Credit: mimurotoji.com.

Mimurotoji Temple is often known as the “temple of flowers” because visitors there can see a wide variety of seasonal flowers on its grounds. This ancient temple is located on the hillside in Uji city, Kyoto.

This is the most famous hydrangea viewing spot in Kyoto and one of the most popular in Japan. In early summer over 10,000 hydrangea plants of 50 different kinds come into bloom, making it truly a great sight to behold!

Visit the garden in June, and enjoy the magnificent shades of pink, white, blue, purple hydrangeas. Would you mind finding some Heart-shaped hydrangeas there? I like the way it looks when most of the plants are in full bloom. 

Apart from viewing hydrangeas, be sure to check out the temple’s main hall, thousand-armed Kanon statue, three-storied pagoda, and other tangible cultural properties and statues.

You can reach Mimurotoji on foot from Uji Station (Keihan). It will take about 20 minutes. Take a walk at a leisurely speed so you can enjoy the surroundings along the way.

We recommend this place for anyone visiting Kyoto at any time of the year. This place is a great spot to witness many kinds of seasonal flowers and autumn leaves throughout the year.

2. Kazahaya no Sato in Mie

Hydrangeas at Kazahaya no Sato. Photo Credit: www.kazahayanosato.com.

Want to experience the best of Mie? Indeed there are many interesting things to do in Mie Prefecture. One of the best attractions you can visit in Mie is Kazahaya no Sato, located in Tsu city.

If you like flowers, Kazahaya no Sato comes highly recommended. It is a beautiful flower garden with many plum (ume), wisteria and hydrangea plants. Whatever you love to do, you can find lots of ways to fill your time in this garden.

Experience its hydrangea festival that is celebrated from late May to mid-July every year. About 77,000 hydrangea plants of over 30 different kinds can be found here. How cool is that!

You can walk around and explore at your own pace. In the rainy season when hydrangeas bloom in abundance, this garden becomes one of the very best places to take photographs in the Kansai region.

3. Yatadera Temple in Nara

Yatadera Temple’s hydrangeas. Photo Credit: Yamato Koriyama City Office.

Now, let me introduce to you the most popular hydrangea spot in Nara, and it is Yatedera Temple. This historic hilltop Buddhist temple in Nara Prefecture features about 10,000 hydrangea bushes in 60 different varieties.

Once you enter the garden, take a leisurely stroll in the spacious temple grounds and then you would understand why the temple is often regarded as “Hydrangea Temple”. The collection of hydrangeas here would definitely overwhelm you.

Every year in June and July, many hydrangea bushes impress thousands of visitors there. It’s worth planning your day around this garden as you won’t just admire the beauty of colorful hydrangeas but also the temple’s main hall, the Jizo Bosatsu statues, and the other cultural assets including, statues and houses.

Please note Kongosenji Temple (Yatadera) is a 20-minute bus ride from Kintetsu-Koriyama Station.

4. Hasedera Temple in Nara

What an incredible scene! Photo Credit: 長谷寺

Nara Prefecture has a lot more important Buddhist temples than anywhere else you find in all over Japan.

Kyoto has the same reputation, but most of the Buddhist temples in Nara are significantly unique for many reasons. For example, the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha sits in the main hall of Todaiji.

Hasedera Temple is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains in Sakurai city, to the southeast of Nara City. Don’t be confused by its name because there is another Hasedera Temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, which is also renowned for its beautiful ajisai (hydrangeas).

Nara Hasedera indeed is a four-season destination in Nara, featuring tons of cherry blossoms in spring, and hydrangeas during the rainy season. In fact, autumn foliage here is pretty gorgeous, though, don’t underestimate its hydrangeas.

While sakura and autumn leaves can be enjoyed from the main hall’s observation deck of the temple, it is best if you explore the grounds on foot and enjoy beautiful displays of colorful hydrangeas in all their glory.

Hasedera Temple is a 20 minute walk from Hasedera Station on the Kintetsu Osaka Line.

5. Kannonji Temple/Ajisaidera in Kyoto

You will see many hydrangeas at Ajisaidera in Fukuchiyama, Kyoto. Photo Credit: 補陀洛山 華觀音寺

This Buddhist temple in Kyoto was founded in 720, by the Indian monk named Hodo Sennin. Kannonji is also known as Ajisai dera or Hydrangea temple.

About 10,000 hydrangea bushes of 100 varieties bloom in every June and they can be viewed until the first week of July. Just take a peaceful stroll around the temple grounds and have an unforgettable day spotting those beautiful hydrangeas and relax among the blooms.

This temple enshrines the Kanzeon Bodhisattava, eleven-faced, thousand-eyed, thousand-handed Kannon, worshiped by many devotees and is famous for healing, good fortune, traffic safety, and happy life. So, before you leave the temple, make sure to pray for your good fortune.

Visitors can reach the temple from JR Isa Station on foot, which would take about 15 minutes.

6. Sanzenin Temple in Kyoto

Beautiful display of Ajisai. Photo Credit: Sanzen-in Temple.

Kyoto’s major sightseeing attractions are always packed with many visitors. Most of the temples and shrines located in and around Kyoto city can be crowded, especially in spring and autumn.

If you want to escape the crowds and are looking forward to spending your time in a tranquil place, we recommend visiting Sanzenin Temple, a temple of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism.

It is located in Ohara, a rural town in the mountains of northern Kyoto. This is possibly one of the best Japanese countryside you will experience in Kyoto. 

It is renowned for its beautiful traditional gardens. Besides, you will find many beautiful temple buildings and impressive walking paths.

The temple grounds showcase a beautiful moss garden, where you can find a number of stone statues, hydrangea garden, treasure house, halls, Buddha statues, rows of miniature statues of Kannon, and important cultural properties.  

There are around 3,000 hydrangea plants in the ajisai garden that bloom from mid-June to July. If you think that Kyoto during the rainy season has nothing much to offer, then you are wrong. In fact, the stunning view of colorful hydrangeas is only possible in this season!

You can easily reach the temple on foot from Ohara bus stop. It is a 10-minute walk.

7. Kyuanji Temple in Osaka

Want to walk along this path? Photo Credit: ©KYUANJI

Where to see hydrangea in Osaka? We have two places to feature in this post.

No matter what the season is, you will always see something beautiful at Kyuanji Temple. If you plan on visiting Osaka in mid-June, make sure to explore this temple. It is worth a visit!

The temple was founded by Gyoki Bosatsu in 721. It is the 12th site on the Kansai Flower Temple Pilgrimage. You can see the full list here.

When thinking of hydrangeas in Osaka, Kyuanji Temple immediately comes to mind. Surrounded by natural beauty, visitors here can see seasonal flowers throughout the year and gorgeous autumn foliage in fall.

From mid-June to early-July, the temple offers beautiful collections of hydrangeas for its visitors. The best time to visit the temple to see hydrangeas is between the third and fourth week of June.

Feel the great peaceful atmosphere as you keep strolling around the temple and take photos of hydrangea gardens and of course the floating hydrangea flowers that you will encounter.

In addition, check out the Romon (two-storied tower gate), which has been designated as an Important National Cultural Property, the Main Hall, Pagoda, Buddha Statues, gardens, and other temple buildings.

8. Expo’70 Commemorative Park in Osaka

Photo Credit: expo70-park.jp.

Here comes the second spot!

This site is a popular hanami spot in Osaka for the locals and tourists alike. This large park in spring highlights thousands of sakura trees and they are usually in full bloom in late-March.

In summer, the park is filled with lush greenery and many kinds of flowers bloom. You will be quite impressed seeing thousands of hydrangea bushes (approximately 4,000) there. They start blooming in early-June and can be enjoyed until late-June every year.

Within the park grounds you will find many interesting attractions, including museums, traditional gardens, lawns, theatre, shopping centre, aquarium and more.

Expo’70 Commemorative Park is located next to Bampakukinenkoen Station along the Osaka Monorail.

9. Yokokuji Temple (Yanagidani Kannon) in Kyoto

Photo Credit: yanagidani.jp

Yokokuji Temple/Yanagidani Kannon in Kyoto is famous mostly for its hydrangeas. Fall foliage in autumn here is appealing too! But we believe a stroll around the temple is an absolute blessing, and a great way to escape the city and clear the mind.

Built on the side of a mountain, Yanagidani Kannon is a hidden scenic spot in Kyoto. About 5,000 hydrangeas bloom on its grounds in June, attracting many locals and international tourists every year.

Alongside viewing a wide variety of hydrangeas, we recommend visiting its Main Hall, Sanmon (the Temple Gate), Pure Land Garden (Jodoen), Kobo Daishi Statue and his footprint, Bell Tower, Treasure House, and other temple buildings.

Please note the Pure Land Garden of the temple is a Kyoto Prefecture Designated Place of Scenic Beauty.

There is no direct public transport to this temple. Therefore, you can reach the site by taxi (10 minutes) from Nishiyama-Tennozan Station on the Hankyu Kyoto Main Line.

10. Kobe Municipal Arborentum in Hyogo

These white hydrangeas are quite eye-catching. Photo Credit: 神戸市立森林植物園

Capital of Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe is one of Japan’s ten largest cities. It is famous for Kobe beef!

Kobe Municipal Arboretum is a green oasis in the city. We believe spending a morning or an afternoon here away from the hustle and bustle of the city is a real blessing.

This large botanical garden is located at west of Rokko Mountains. It is a perfect place for family picnic, and boasts about 1,200 kinds of plants including 500 foreign species.

Stroll through the vast garden filled with a wide variety of plants including many seasonal flowers to see, especially hydrangea in early-summer.

Hydrangeas in the gardens begin to bloom in early June and you can spot them until late July. View the stunning trees and hydrangea bushes, and If possible, make sure to plan a trip here in autumn.

You will be very impressed seeing many Japanese maple and ginkgo trees are ablaze with color in autumn. It is worth returning for!     

There is also a cafe on site just in case you don’t get a chance to pack your own picnic. But it is always better to bring some food from home.

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