Hunting for Hydrangeas: Where to See Hydrangeas in Kyoto

By Annika Hotta
Updated: April 15, 2024

Hydrangeas, also known as ajisai, are the underrated cousin of cherry blossoms. These majestic flowers line parks and pathways all across Kyoto — a city filled with spots to see them. 

With far fewer crowds and more varieties, a summer trip to Japan wouldn’t be complete without a hunt for hydrangeas in Kyoto, and here’s where you’ll find them!

Heading to the capital? Find Tokyo's best hydrangea spots, too!

When is hydrangea season in Kyoto?

A close-up shot of blue and pink hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas begin blooming from late May in the southern regions, blossoming in June throughout Honshu and in early July in Hokkaido — this follows the path of Japan’s tsuyu rainy season, so remember to bring an umbrella with you!

If you’re planning a trip to Kyoto, mid-June is going to be your best bet for seeing the peak of hydrangea season! 

Where to see hydrangeas in Kyoto 

A flowering of hydrangeas in a green bush. They are a bright pink with splashes of blue flowers.

Since blooming time for hydrangeas coincides with the rainy season in Japan, the great news is that you won’t have to deal with the same crowds as you would for cherry blossoms! 

Whether you want to stroll along a hydrangea-lined path for photo ops or set up a covered picnic at a local park, there are plenty of spots where you can enjoy hydrangeas in the historical city of Kyoto. 

  1. Yoshimine-dera Temple 
  2. Umenomiya Taisha Shrine 
  3. Fujinomori Shrine 
  4. Maizuru Nature and Cultural Park 
  5. Hydrangea Temple (Kannonji Temple)
  6. Mimurotoji Temple 
  7. Yokoku-ji Temple (Yanagidani Kannon)
  8. Gansen-ji Temple

1. Yoshimine-dera Temple 

Pink hydrangeas flowering at Yoshimine-dera, which can be seen in the background.

Tucked away on the western mountainside of Kyoto, Yoshimine-dera offers the perfect escape from the busy city while still being easily accessible by bus. In the summer, the entire slope is lined with hydrangeas ranging from purple to white. You can explore the spacious grounds while taking in views of the city in this quiet, scenic location.

2. Umenomiya Taisha Shrine 

A small blue hydrangea flowering at Umenomiya Taisha Shrine.

If you enjoy plants of all varieties, head to the pristine pond and gardens at Umenomiya Taisha in the Ukyo district of Kyoto. In mid-June, you can see not just the magnificent hydrangeas, but colorful irises as well. There are up to 140 varieties of hydrangea alone! 

The entry fee is ¥550 yen for adults and you can enjoy the scenery from 9am to 5pm.

3. Fujinomori Shrine 

Deep blue and purple hydrangeas flowering at Fujinomori Shrine.

For the hydrangea fanatics, Fujinomori Shrine holds an annual festival celebrating the beautiful plant. Over the course of a month, you can partake in the festivities, which include Taiko drum performances, sports games, tea ceremonies, and hydrangea-themed food. 

Check the shrine’s event calendar so you can plan your hydrangea hunting accordingly! 

4. Maizuru Nature and Cultural Park 

Hydrangeas surrounded a bench at Maizuru Nature and Cultural Park.

To live out the hydrangea picnic of your dreams, visit Maizuru Nature and Cultural Park. Home to 100,000 hydrangea bushes, you can spend the day away spotting all the different varieties. 

With an entry fee of ¥500 per adult and ¥250 per child, you gain access to both the hydrangeas in all their glory and the camellia forest. Hidden away from the city, you can truly embrace nature here! 

5. Hydrangea Temple (Kannonji Temple)

Purple and pink hydrangeas blooming at Hydrangea Temple (Kannonji Temple), which can be seen in the background.

Named for the plant itself, Hydrangea Temple is what cottage-core dreams are made of. With 100 varieties and 10,000 hydrangea bushes, it’s no surprise that this is a hotspot for hydrangea lovers. 

Visit on the fourth Sunday in June for the annual Hydrangea Festival, which may include seasonal exhibitions like tea ceremonies and poetry readings. 

6. Mimurotoji Temple 

The arched roof of Mimurotoji Temple, overlooking a foreground of blooming pink hydrangea.

In the sleepy historical town of Uji lies Mimurotoji Temple, whose landscape is truly breathtaking. Boasting the largest collection of hydrangea plants at 20,000 bushes, Mimurotoji Temple’s grounds are not to be missed. Stroll through the rock garden, along the pond, and down to the expansive fields of hydrangeas. 

What makes Mimurotoji Temple’s hydrangea viewing special is the light-up ceremony from 7-9pm — perfect for enjoying hydrangeas on a cool summer night! 

7. Yokoku-ji Temple 

Hydrangeas floating in the water at Yokoku-ji Temple.

Located close to the famous bamboo groves of Otokuni, Yokoku-ji Temple, also known as Yanagidani Kannon, is an impressive sight with 4,500 hydrangea plants along the path. Head indoors to see the statue of the bodhisattva Kannon with its awe-inducing eleven faces and 1,000 arms at this mountainside retreat. 

8. Gansenji Temple

Blooming hydrangeas of pink, purple, and blue in front of a bright red pagoda, surrounded by nature.

Jutting out of this garden with 5,000 hydrangea flowers is a bright red, three-storied pagoda that will immediately draw your eye. Beautiful in any season, Gansenji Temple offers a stunning scene of hydrangeas, water lilies, and crape myrtle flowers in the summer season, making it an excellent southern destination for hydrangea enthusiasts. 

So what are you waiting for? It’s never too early to start planning your hydrangea-themed itinerary, and we hope this article gave you some ideas on where to spot hydrangeas in Kyoto.

Looking for more ideas on what to do while in Kyoto? Check out these articles:

Or, if you find yourself on the hunt for hydrangeas in Tokyo, we've got you covered.

Hydrangeas in Kyoto FAQs

A blend of blue and pink hydrangeas blooming together.

How many types of hydrangeas are there? 

Sources differ in how many varieties of hydrangeas there are, but the consensus is that there are around 70 species native to Asia and the Americas. The color depends on the pH of the soil. Since the original flower in Japan was blue, that’s the most common pigment to see nowadays, although purple, red, pink, and yellow can also be seen regularly.

Does Kyoto have hydrangeas? 

Yes! Hydrangeas are plentiful across the prefecture and the city. As listed above, there are dozens of parks, botanical gardens, shrines, and temples where you can see hydrangeas in Kyoto. 

When do hydrangeas bloom in Kyoto, Japan? 

The hydrangea season begins in early June and peaks around mid-June, making it the best time to see hydrangeas in Kyoto. 

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Annika Hotta
After studying abroad in Shiga prefecture in 2019, Annika moved to Japan in 2021. In her writing, she highlights the best dishes and places to eat in Japan for both the picky and the adventurous.
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