Mar 21, 2018
Everyone is going gaga right now for all things sakura, but a post the other day on City Cost about peach blossoms and magnolias reminded me about one of my favorite spring blooms.
Up there with the best in my opinion have to be azaleas, and one of my favorite spots to check them out is at Shiofune Kannon, in Ome (on the outskirts of Tokyo prefecture). These are some pictures from when I went there last year, before the season was really in "full bloom", and you can see just how incredible it looks. These pictures were only taken with a phone camera too - wishing I'd taken better pictures because they truly are breathtaking! The fact that the azalea bushes are perfectly trimmed into round hedges makes them look almost other-wordly.
Usually the grounds of Shiofune Kannon are free to access, and it makes for a tranquil spot to stop no matter the time of year - however, during the time when the azaleas are in bloom there's a 300 yen admission fee for adults (100 yen for the kiddos!) but I think it's well worth it. If you do plan on visiting and can manage it, weekdays are absolutely less crowded than weekends. There's a small parking lot next to the grounds of Shiofune Kannon, but if you're headed there by train the closest stop is the JR Kabe Station on the Ome line. It's approximately half an hour on foot from the station. The best time for checking out all things azaleas tends to be from around mid April to mid May.
After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!