May 20, 2017
Japan’s Golden Week is celebrated every year from the end of April to the beginning of May. A lot of people have days off and so many places are super crowded. However, this season is also a good time to see a lot of different flowers which are blooming right now. I visited some of these this year.
No. 1 – SHIBAZAKURA
Shibazakura (芝桜) is a small flower growing on the ground mostly in a lawn covering a big area. The English name is moss phlox, however the Japanese name including sakura comes from the shape of the flower petals which look like cherry blossoms. The colors differ but mainly are pink, violet and white. Blooming time is from mid April to late May.
Around Tokyo you can find two big Shibazakura Festivals. The better known one is the Fuji Shibazakura Festival (富士芝桜まつり) which is held close to Japan’s famous mountain. Here you have the chance not only to see the colorful ocean build out of over 800,000 flowers, but also Mount Fuji in the background. They even built a small mountain out of flowers and you can enjoy the view from a panorama bridge. The festival is located around 3 km away from Lake Motosuko (本栖湖), one of the Five Fuji Lakes, and might be best reached by bus. A shuttle bus is available while the festival time from Kawaguchiko station.
The second festival Shibazakura-No-Oka (芝桜の丘) is celebrated at Hitsujiyama Park in Chichibu (Saitama prefecture). On an area of around 1.8 hectars you can find an even huger variety of this cute flower. The train ride from Tokyo takes you around 80 minutes.
No. 2 – NEMOPHILA
Changing to blue, we go on with a flower called Nemophila (ネモフィラ), also known as Baby Blue Eyes. At Hitachi Seaside Park a whole hill is filled with these light blue flowers. Around 4.5 millions are blooming from the end of April to mid May, but according to the season you can find a lot of other flowers, too. Hitachi Seaside Park is located at Ibaraki prefecture and can be reached from Tokyo in around 90 minutes by train and bus.
No. 3 – WISTERIA
There are actually many places in Japan where you can find Wisteria, called Fuji (藤) in Japanese. The flowers with its long strings are blooming from mid April to mid May in different colors.
One of the most famous places to see Wisteria is the Ashikaga Flower Park (あしかがフラワーパーク) in Tochigi. There you can find an over 150 years old wisteria tree and an 80 meter long white wisteria tunnel. But also many more wisteria trees and around 5,000 azalea bushes are planted inside the park. While the full bloom period the wisteria are even lighted up at the evening. You can reach it within 90 minutes by car from Tokyo, the train ride takes a bit longer.
You also can find Wisteria at various shrines and temples around Japan. Especially the Kameido-tenjin Shrine (亀戸天神社) in Tokyo and the Mandara-ji (曼陀羅寺) in Aichi prefecture are well known for it. If you come up being around Kyushu while blooming time, visit the Kawachi Fujien (河内藤園) in Fukuoka which is a private garden exclusive for wisteria which only opens while this period.
There is a lot to see while Golden Week, but notice you often need to share these places with many people. Try to enjoy it anyway ♥
Young German woman who made several trips to Japan, did one year Working Holiday and started living in Japan again since Oct' 2016. Love music, cats, traveling and food.
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