The Top Five Areas for Azalea Viewing in and Around Tokyo


2023.05.01

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

The Top Five Areas for Azalea Viewing in and Around Tokyo

As the last of the cherry blossoms fall after their brief blooming across Tokyo and the rest of the country, nature enthusiasts are left looking to what’s next on Japan’s floral calendar. Thankfully, with azalea season beginning almost immediately after the sakura have finished, we aren’t left waiting long for another dose of beautiful blooms.
Similar to the cherry blossoms, azaleas, known as tsutsuji in Japanese, have a long and storied history in Japan. With many varieties specifically native to Japan, there are references to these flowers dating back as far as the year 759, where they are mentioned in the Man’yoshu; a collection of traditional Japanese poetry that today is still regarded as one of Japan’s greatest literary anthologies.
Cultivated into rolling fields of multiple colours, azalea viewing has become popular across Japan amongst both locals and tourists alike. Rounding up places to enjoy these flowers at their best, here are the top five areas in and around Tokyo for viewing azaleas.

  • 01

    Nezu Shrine

    Located in Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward, Nezu Shrine is often regarded as one of the city’s most beautiful shrines, believed to have been first established almost 2000 years ago in a nearby neighbourhood before being relocated to its current location in 1705. Since then, the shrine has been listed as one of Japan’s National Important Cultural Properties and today plays host to the annual Bunkyo Azalea Festival.

    A mixture of traditional architecture and nature makes Nezu Shrine’s azalea garden a unique spectacle
Photo courtesy of Nezu Shrine

    A mixture of traditional architecture and nature makes Nezu Shrine’s azalea garden a unique spectacle Photo courtesy of Nezu Shrine

    Running all throughout April, the Bunkyo Azalea Festival sees Nezu Shrine’s hillside gardens turned into a sea of white, red, purple and pink as the Azaleas reach full bloom throughout the grounds of the shrine in an incredible display.

    Entry to Nezu Shrine is free, but access to the hillside gardens where the azaleas are located is 300 yen per person. Tickets are available upon entry.

    Address: 1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0031

    Nezu Jinja Shrine
    place
    Tokyo Bunkyou-ku Nedu 1-28-9
    phone
    0338220753
    opening-hour
    [Karamon Gates shut Hours] […
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  • 02

    Shiofune-kannon

    Another location with deep historical ties, Shiofune-kannon is said to have been first established around the year 650 A.D. by a Buddhist nun who was rumoured to have lived for 800 years after consuming mermaid flesh. Today, the Shingon Buddhist complex is located in a kind of natural basin, surrounded by one of Tokyo’s most famous azalea plantations.

    M's photography from Tokyo, Japan, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

    M's photography from Tokyo, Japan, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

    Located within a natural basin, visitors to Shiofune-kannon are surrounded by walls of azaleas in every direction

    Located within a natural basin, visitors to Shiofune-kannon are surrounded by walls of azaleas in every direction

    From mid-April until mid-May, the Shiofune-kannon Azalea Festival sees the valley of almost 20,000 azalea bushes burst with a variety of eye-catching colour. During the festival, food stalls set up on the surrounding streets offer plenty of traditional festival cuisine to choose from, making Shiofune-kannon perfect for a day out with family and friends during spring.

    Admission to Shiofune-kannon is normally free throughout the year, but during the azalea festival, entry is 300 yen for adults and 100 yen for children.

    Address: 194 Shiobune, Ome, Tokyo 198-0011

    Shiofune Kannonji temple
    rating

    4.0

    86 Reviews
    place
    Tokyo Oumeshi Shiobune 194
    phone
    0428226677
    opening-hour
    8:00-17:00
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  • 03

    Hotel de Yama

    For those travelling outside of Tokyo in search of azaleas, there’s really no going past the almost secret azalea garden of Hotel de Yama, tucked away amongst the rolling hills of Hakone.

    Located right beside the vast Lake Ashi, the views from Hotel de Yama’s azalea garden are one-of-a-kind

    Located right beside the vast Lake Ashi, the views from Hotel de Yama’s azalea garden are one-of-a-kind

    Reminiscent of a scene from a Wes Anderson film, the azalea garden located on the grounds of Hotel de Yama offers not only an incredible array of colour during the azalea’s blooming season, but also pairs it with stunning views of the nearby Lake Ashi and even Mount Fuji on a clear day.

    While visitors do have the option to book a stay at Hotel de Yama, the gardens are open to the general public between late-April and late-May to celebrate the blooming of the azaleas. Admission to the garden during this time is priced at 1000 yen per person.

    Address: 80 Motohakone, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0522

    小田急 山のホテル
    place
    神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町元箱根80
    phone
    0460836321
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    no image
  • 04

    Komuroyama Park Azalea Festival

    Also offering views of Mount Fuji while situated more than 300 metres above sea level and spanning an enormous 3.5 hectares, Komuroyama Park is a sight to behold any time of the year, but is particularly special during azalea season.

    Also illuminated at night, the Azalea Tunnel of Komuroyama Park is unlike any other azalea arrangement

    Also illuminated at night, the Azalea Tunnel of Komuroyama Park is unlike any other azalea arrangement

    Celebrating the arrival of the azaleas, the Komuroyama Park Azalea Festival takes place from the 29th of April until the 5th of May. During this time, visitors can explore not only the vast fields of colour created by the 100,000 azaleas throughout the park, but also the one-of-a-kind Azalea Tunnel located in the middle. Here, large azalea bushes congregate to form an incredible tunnel of deep red, which is also illuminated at night time to create a truly unique viewing experience.

    Admission to Komuroyama Park during the azalea festival is free of charge, but those with cars will have to pay for parking.

    Address: 1260-1 Kawana, Ito, Shizuoka 414-0044

    Komuroyama Park
    place
    Shizuoka Pref. Itoushi Kawana 1260-1
    phone
    0557451444
    opening-hour
    [Chair lift]9:30-16:00
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  • 05

    Azaleas of Yahata

    Saving the biggest for last, the Yahata Azalea Park is nothing short of spectacular during full bloom. Designated by the Ministry of the Environment as one of the top 100 most beautiful flower views in Japan, Yahata Azalea Park is home to an incredible 200,000 azalea bushes, spread across an area of 23 hectares.

    Located amongst the Nasu Highlands, Yahata Azalea Park offers natural views impossible to find in any city.

    Located amongst the Nasu Highlands, Yahata Azalea Park offers natural views impossible to find in any city.

    Designed to take visitors on an intimate journey through the rolling fields of flowers, the Yahata Azalea Park features wooden walkways that wind their way through the azaleas, immersing you in a sea of colour in every direction. Suspension bridges also offer breath taking panoramic views from above the natural valleys and ravines of the landscape.

    While there is no specific festival that takes place, the Yahata Azalea Park is open every day and free to enter, with the azaleas typically blooming throughout May.

    Address: Yumoto, Nasu, Nasu District, Tochigi 325-0301

    Yahata Azalea Park
    place
    Tochigi Pref. Nasugunnasumachi Yumoto
    phone
    0287762619
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