May 15, 2019
We have a proverb in Ireland (and the UK) "April showers bring May flowers". April is quite a rainy month in Ireland / the UK and in May there is an abundance of flowers. Hence, the belief that the April rain showers bring the water for the flowers to bloom in May.
Thing is, in Japan April is actually rather dry, but we still get an abundance of flowers in May! I love the definitive flowering periods of Japan. Although annual climate and other external factors can influence the start and end date of flowers, it is usually only by a few days or a week at the most. So you know January will bring Winter-sweet, February will bring Plum Blossoms, March Cherry Blossoms and so on and so forth.
May is no exception. Every year, without fail, May brings with it some stunning cyclical scenery. This year we've been out and about, quite literally, smelling the roses. And the other blooms bestowed upon us during the month of May.
At the start of May the azalea are still in bloom. They start to bloom around the third week of April in the Kanto (Greater Tokyo) area. There are several places you can view Azalea in the Kanto plain. Possibly the most famous is the Azalea Park in Tatebayashi.
This year we went to a 300 year old azalea spot in Saitama, Godaison. It is an azalea park around a cluster of shrines in Ogose. We visited just outside the festival period which ended on May 6th this year. The majority of the azalea were still in bloom, but they were past their prime. It still looked stunning.
Season: mid April to early May
Address: 303 Kuroiwa, Ogose, Iruma-gun, Saitama 350-0411
Access: a fifteen minute walk from Ogose station
Cost: 300 yen park access, 500 yen parking cost (during the festival period only)
The peonies best season is mid to late April in the greater Tokyo area, but they bloom into early May usually. However, this year they were finished a bit early in our neck of the woods. Tsukuba in Ibaraki has one of the largest peony gardens in Japan misleadingly called Peony Garden Tokyo.
We visited the peony garden near Higashimatsuyama Station at Yakyu Inari Shrine. They have a peony festival there annually which is very popular, even though Botanen's, also in Higashimatsuyama, peony garden is much bigger.
Season: mid April to early may
Address: 2-5-14 Yakyucho, Higashimatsuyama, Saitama 355-0028
Access: minutes walk from Higashimatsuyama Station on the Tobu Tojo Line
Cost: Free and free parking
The roses are just coming into bloom this week in Saitama. There are of course several variations of roses and different blooming times. But the spring roses in the Kanto plain tend to bloom around mid May.
Yesterday, we went to visit the rose garden in Heisei No Mori Park. It was prime time for the smell, as roses smell there best just as they come into bloom. However, it will be another couple of days until the roses will be in their prime viewing wise. The rose festival at this park is quite small, but it attracts people from far and wide.
Address: 920 Shimoyatsubayashi, Kawajima-machi, Hiki-gun, Saitama 350-0122
Access: less than a kilometer from the Kawajima IC of the Ken-o expressway
Cost: free entry and free parking
Poppies bloom in April and May in the greater Tokyo area. Icelandic poppies bloom in April in Saitama, but you can see them in Tokyo until early May in Showa Kinen Park. In May you can see several variations of poppy throughout the country.
We went to the largest poppy field in the whole of Japan in Konosu yesterday to view poppies. We combined it with the trip to the rose festival (above). The two places are only 17 minutes apart by car. The Konosu Poppy Festival starts on Saturday the 18th and runs until May 26th.
Address: 555 Takimamuro, Konosu, Saitama 365-0044
Access: free shuttle bus (during the festival) from Konosu station on the Takasaki Line
Cost: free, but if you come by car you have to pay 500 yen for parking
Have you been out and about to smell the flowers this spring? Where did you go? Would you recommend it?
Level 8 LocalGuide with Google. Blogging about life in Japan as an Irish WAHM to 4 kids on insaitama.com.