Are Hydrangeas Worth the Hype? 8 Places to See Hydrangeas in Tokyo

By Annika Hotta
Updated: April 15, 2024

Hydrangeas, or ajisai, as they are known in Japanese, sprout up in Japan during the rainy season, making them an underrated alternative to the crowded, expensive cherry blossom season. 

If you’re planning a summer trip to Japan, be sure to add these places to your list so you don’t miss out on the hydrangea hype.

We'll be taking you on a tour of Tokyo's best hydrangea spots (including easy day trips from the capital), but you may also want to go hunting for hydrangeas in Kyoto.

When is hydrangea season in Tokyo? 

A grouping of purple hydrangeas in full bloom.

Hydrangeas begin blooming from late May in the southern regions, blossoming in June throughout Honshu and in early July in Hokkaido. 

If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo, mid-June is the optimal time to observe hydrangeas at their peak!

Where to see hydrangeas in Tokyo 

A woman in a white dress with long brown hair has her back turned to the camera, looking closely at a bloom of hydrangeas.

Whether you opt for a chill park or a pristine botanical garden, there are countless spots to view hydrangeas in the nation’s capital. Pick any one of these places (or several!) to spend the day with a picnic or a stroll. 

  1. Ueno Park 
  2. Hondoji Temple 
  3. Fuchu City Local Forest Museum 
  4. Hamarikyu Gardens 
  5. Hydrangea Park 
  6. Hasedera Temple, Kamakura
  7. Meigetsuin Temple, Kamakura
  8. Hydrangea Train, Hakone 

1. Ueno Park 

In sweeping pond of water lilies, pink hydrangeas are in full bloom. In the background, Ueno's skyline.

As famous as Ueno Park may be for a hanami cherry blossom viewing picnic, it’s also great for hydrangea viewing. Bring a blanket and some snacks from the konbini for the ultimate hydrangea experience. 

For the photographers, you can get some great shots at the temple in the center of the lake. 

2. Hondoji Temple, Chiba 

Hondoji Temple in Chiba can be seen in the background, partially covered by blooming hydrangeas.

Known as the “Temple of Seasonal Flowers,” Hondoji Temple is the Mecca of flower-viewing year-round. In the early summer months, Hondoji has it all: hydrangeas, irises, and the towering pagoda with its five stories. 

Don’t forget to bring your camera because you’ll want to capture the beauty on display here! And for the stamp collectors out there, you can also get a limited-edition temple stamp with a hydrangea or iris design if you have a goshuin-cho, referred to as an “honorable red stamp book,” which you can purchase at most temples or shrines. 

The entry fee is ¥500 for middle school students and above, and free for children.

3. Fuchu City Local Forest Museum 

Three hydrangea in full bloom, captured from above a trickling stream.

Hosting an annual hydrangea festival from May 27 to July 2nd, Fuchu City’s Local Forest Museum is the place to go to celebrate all things hydrangea. Bask in the scent of Annabelle hydrangeas as you explore the impressive 140,000-square-meter garden. 

It’s unlikely you’ll get bored here, but if you’re looking for more to do for yourself or your family, the museum also has old farmhouses, townhouses, and other historical buildings to walk through! 

The entry fee is ¥300 for adults, ¥150 for school-age children, and free for kids aged four and younger. 

4. Hamarikyu Gardens 

A wooden bridge at Hamarikyu Gardens. Leading up to it, there are hydrangea bushes on either side.

For a zen nature escape right in the heart of the city, head to Hamarikyu Gardens over in the Tokyo Bay area. This relaxing spot boasts both hydrangeas and irises, which you can stroll through on a sunny day or enjoy from one of the few tea houses if it’s raining. 

The entry fee is ¥300 for adults and free for children of elementary school age and younger. 

5. Hydrangea Park 

A blue hydrangea seen after rain, with water still on its petals.

Tucked away in Kodaira city is Hydrangea Park, a local summer hangout since its opening in 1973. Covering 2,800 square meters and including more than 1,500 hydrangeas, this spot is perfect for a slow-paced morning or afternoon! 

6. Hasedera Temple, Kamakura

A lantern at Hasedera Temple in Kamakura, hanging in front of many hydrangea blooms.

For a day trip from Tokyo that’s dedicated to hydrangeas, look no further than Hasedera Temple in Kamakura. The picturesque landscape is home to 2,500 hydrangea plants coming in over 40 different varieties! 

You can walk along the Ajisai Scenic Trail or go out on the observation deck for unmatched views of Kamakura. 

Please note that you will need to pay the entry fee, which is ¥400 for adults and ¥200 for elementary school children, as well as an additional ¥500 ticket for the scenic walk. Trust us when we say it’s worth it for the views!

How to get to Kamakura from Tokyo: By train, it’ll take between 1-2 hours to get to Kamakura from Tokyo, depending on where you’re coming from and whether you’re taking a direct train or need to make multiple changes.

Tokyo Station to Kamakura Station (Zushi): Just over an hour, direct, around ¥950.

Shinjuku Station to Kamakura Station: Just over an hour, two changes, 

7. Meigetsuin Temple, Kamakura

A staircase at Meigetsuin Temple, Kamakura, where blue hydrangeas are in full bloom on all sides.

If you love blue ajisai flowers, Meigetsuin Temple is the place for you. Out of its 2,500 hydrangea bushes, most of them are of the blue variety, which offers a stunning contrast to the green forest that surrounds this temple. 

Feel like you’ve stepped into a painting when you stroll through the temple grounds, which can be finished with a stop at the Gesshoken teahouse for refreshments. 

The entry fee is ¥500 for high school students and above and 300 yen for younger children.

8. Hydrangea Train, Hakone

In the foreground, bright pink hydrangeas, in the background, the Hydrangea Train in Hakone, coming towards the camera.

The mountains of Hakone are truly a sight to see when they’re covered in hydrangeas indigenous to the rough terrain. On hot and rainy days, this beloved 40-minute train ride is the perfect way to enjoy them in comfort. 

For a unique experience, book the “Night Hydrangea Train” to see the hydrangeas illuminate the dark mountainside.

How to get to Hakone from Tokyo: Depending on whether you travel by train or highway bus, traveling from Tokyo to Hakone will take about 1.5-2 hours and cost between ¥1,200-¥2,000 each way.

Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus from Shinjuku Station to Hakone: Operating every 30 minutes from Shinjuku Station to the Hakone area, you should get there in about two hours (depending on traffic), costing about ¥2,000 each way.

Odakyu “Romance Car” from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station: Taking the "Romance Car" limited express takes about 1.5 hours and costs ¥2,470 yen, or slightly cheaper at ¥2420 yen if you buy an e-ticket.

We hope this list helped give you some inspiration for places to spot hydrangeas in Tokyo. Looking for more ideas on what to do while in Tokyo? Browse these:

Or, if you find yourself in the ancient capital of Japan, go searching for hydrangeas in Kyoto instead!

Hydrangeas in Tokyo FAQs

Brilliant blooms of hydrangeas in blue, purple, and pinks.

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.

When do hydrangeas bloom in Japan?

Hydrangeas begin blooming from late May in the southern regions, blossoming in June throughout Honshu and in early July in Hokkaido. 

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

Are hydrangeas native to Japan?

Yes, there are records of hydrangeas, or ajisai, being grown in Japan as far back as the 8th century. They were brought to Europe in the 20th century, where different varieties were developed. 

There are two main types of hydrangeas in Japan: the gaku hydrangea and the hon hydrangea. For a deep dive into the hydrangea species, visit Zekkei Japan’s excellent blog post on them! 

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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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