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Flower Power in Tokyo- Blooming Marvellous All Year Round

June 1, 2020 Visit North Asia No Comments Email Email

Tokyo’s annual Cherry Blossom season is showstopper of a natural event, but if you can’t make it for late March next year do not fret, Tokyo has a bloom for all seasons. The Japanese attach much significance to the changing seasons and honouring the flowers that bloom throughout the year. Here are some of the highlights of the floral calendar starting with what’s in bloom right now.

Iris: Flowering May-June 

If you like Irises don’t miss the Japanese Water Iris (Hana shobu). They have a long, significant history in the capital and Iris gardens can be found throughout the City. Some of the highlight viewing locations include:  Meiji Shrine Inner Garden, accessed from the walkway towards the Meiji Shrine near Harajuku Station; Koiwa Shobuen on the banks of the Edogawa River with over 50,000 blooms;  Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, right next to the Tokyo Dome Stadium; Imperial Palace East Garden, free of charge and just walking distance from Tokyo’s business centre Marunouchi and Otemachi Station. Smaller, but stunning beautiful stands of this romantic flower can be seen in the ponds of Nezu Museum Gardens in Minami Aoyama and Arisugawa Park near Hiroo Station.

Hydrangea: Flowering Mid June – Mid July

Sighting bountiful blooms of Hydrangea (Ajisai) generally means the rainy season has arrived and they certainly brighten up a grey day. There are plenty of Hydrangea festivals in June and July in Tokyo.  Some of the highlight viewing spots are: Asukayama Park near Oji Station where over 1,000 plants can be seen; Hakusan Shrine in Bunkyo-ku where a festival is held from early to mid-June. If you are a big fan of the Hydrangea we also recommend making a day trip to Kamakura’s Hase Temple or to Hakone Lakes where thousands of blooms can be seen from the Hakone Tozan Railway.

Lotus: Flowering Mid-July – Mid-August

Lotus (Hasu) blooms herald the end of the rainy season and the beginning of Summer. Known as a symbol of purity, enlightenment, rebirth and regeneration they are often found in ponds and waterways around temples. The most stunning place to see them in abundance in Tokyo is the Shinobazu Pond at Ueno Park.

Chrysanthemum: Flowering September – Mid November

Much loved by the Japanese people the Chrysanthemum (Kiku) flower has many auspicious meanings longevity, rejuvenation and nobility, flowering in Autumn it also symbolises the harvest and goodwill. The flower is the Imperial Family’s Emblem and a national symbol used often in decorations and motifs; it is even the mark on the front of the Japanese Passport. One of the best places in the capital to see them is at Yushima Tenmangū Shrine in Bunkyo-ku, where a Chrysanthemum festival is held in November.

Winter PeoniesFlowering Late November – February

Winter is not the time you would expect to see colourful blooms but Peonies (Botan) are treasured for this reason. To see some of the best head to Hamarikyu Gardens near Shidome Station and Toshogu Shrine in Ueno Park which hosts a Spring Peony Festival April-May and Winter Peonies Festival in January and February.

Plum BlossomFlowering February -March 

When the Japanese plums (Ume) start to blossom it is the first sign of Spring approaching.  From white, all hues of pink through to reddish pink blossoms their appearance is a welcome sign of seasonal change. You can see Plum blossoms all over Tokyo with some particularly special viewing at:  Yushima Tenmangū Shrine in Bunkyo-ku, Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens and Kameido Tenjin Shrine a 17th Century Shrine in Koto-ku where the “Ume” Festival is held from mid-February through to early March. 

Cherry Blossom: Flowering Late March  

The most anticipated floral event of the year, delicate light pink cherry blossom (Sakura) can only be enjoyed for a short time making them a treasured spectacle in Tokyo and throughout Japan. The viewing of Cherry Blossoms (Hanami) is a big deal in Japan, with a buzzing festive feel there are many night time illuminations (Yozakura) to be enjoyed in the capital  You can enjoy yozukura from a boat, cruising along the Chidorigafuchi moat or admire the blossoms in Tokyo Midtown Sakura-dori street. For an extra festive experience, head to the trendy Nakameguro neighbourhood for the Sakura-matsuri festival where, in addition to the illuminations in a beautiful setting by the river, paper lanterns and food stalls add to a magical atmosphere.  For more information on Sakura season, see the complete ‘Hanami Guide’ here. 

WisteriaLate April – Early May 

Kameido Tenjin Shrine is one of the best places to view spectacular wisteria in full bloom. The shrine, known for year-round garden delights holds a wisteria festival each year to honour the blooms. Reflections of the hanging wisteria in the pond from the full moon bridge have been a magnet for artists and now photographers for centuries.  Showing the contrast of old meets new you can see Tokyo’s Skytree from this shrine’s garden.  Admission is free of charge.

Azalea: Flowering Early April- Early May 

Azaleas (Tsutsuji) are at their best in Tokyo. The way they are sculptured and grown into magical tapestries by centuries old gardening techniques make their colour and vibrance all the more prominent. Biggest draw card in Tokyo is the Nezu Shrine Bunkyo Azaela Festival (Tsutsuji Matsuri), near Nezu Station. Each year their 300-year-old azalea garden with over 3,000 plants of 100 different species draws a big crowd. The Festival is a big local community event. If you are lucky you will hear the local Taiko Drummers perform.

Note: * All flowering periods are given as indicators for optimum viewing and are subject to change according to nature and climatic conditions.

**In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), various facilities around Tokyo may change their operating days or hours. In addition, some events may be cancelled or postponed. Please check official facility or event websites for the latest updates and information.

◆Official Information Coronavirus (COVID-19) from Tokyo Metropolitan Government

https://www.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/tosei/tosei/news/2019-ncov.html#Eng

◆Coronavirus (COVID-19) advisory information by JNTO

https://www.japan.travel/en/coronavirus/

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