Sakura may be Japan’s most famous blossoms, but that doesn’t mean its other petal-y compatriots should be overlooked! Many places in Japan come alive with color during springtime, and different festivals are held to celebrate the beauty of the flowers. Here are some blossoms worth checking out, and where to see them. Note that some locations here are about 1-2 hours away from Tokyo, so schedule a day trip if you want to make the most of your time.
1. Shibazakura (Moss Phlox)
Where to see them: Mt. Fuji and Chichibu
Blooming from mid-April to late May, these pink, white, magenta, or light purple flowers thickly cover the ground like a carpet. This year, Mt. Fuji’s shibazakura festival is from April 14-May 27, from 8:00 am-5:00 pm, at the Fuji Motosuko Resort. Entrance is 600 yen for adults, and 250 yen for children. There are multiple ways to get there, the most convenient of which is by taking a bus that departs from Shinjuku and arrives at the festival site in about 2 and 1/2 hours. Aside from the shibazakura, other attractions and activities are a food festival, photo contest, and souvenirs.
If Mt. Fuji is too far, try visiting Saitama Prefecture’s Chichibu for their shibazakura festival, which takes place from April 13th to early May 6th. Specifically, the place to check out is Hitsujiyama Park’s Shibazakura Hill, which has about 400,000 shibazakura flowers. Also from 8:00 am-5:00 pm, the event costs 300 yen for adults, 250 yen for senior citizens, and free for junior high school students and younger. Shibazakura Hill is a 15- to 20-minute walk from Yokoze or Seibu-Chichibu Station, both of which are less than 2 hours away from Ikebukuro Station, with a ride costing at least 740-780 yen one-way.
2. Nemophila (Baby Blue-Eyes)
Where to see them: Hitachi Seaside Park
From late April to mid-May, the Miharashi Hills of Ibaraki Prefecture’s Hitachi Seaside Park transform into fields of blue, in a sight that some have described as something to definitely see before you die. This festival, dubbed Nemophila Harmony, takes place from April 22-May 14 this year, and involves 4.5 million nemophila—no wonder the hills turn almost completely blue! Open from 9:30 am-5:00 pm, Hitachi Seaside Park is about 2 hours away from Tokyo, and entails a pricey and complicated ride (at least 2,840 yen one-way) involving trains, then your choice of a bus, taxi, or getting there on foot. To save time and money, why not join a bus tour (such as a tour offered by tour booking site Japanican) combining Hitachi Seaside Park and Ashikaga Flower Park?
3. Fuji (Wisteria)
Where to see them: Kameido Tenjin and Ashikaga Flower Park
The best place in Tokyo to see these hanging blossoms is Kameido Tenjin, which is a 15-minute walk from Kameido Station on the Sobu Line. This shrine has a pond, which reflects the wisteria beautifully. It also has an arched bridge known as a “drum bridge,” making it a scenic spot. The wisteria festival here runs from April 15th – May 6th.
If you want to go a little farther, Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture is an even bigger ground for wisteria from mid-April to mid-March. Not only do they have the usual light purple wisteria, but they also have ones in the same shade as cherry blossoms, as well as white, yellow, and green ones. The park is also known for having a long wisteria tunnel. This year’s Fuji Monogatari, the name for their wisteria festival is open from 7:00 am-9:00 pm every day (with the trees being illuminated from 5:30-9:00 pm).
Admission fees vary depending on the blooming status of the wisteria, but the price range listed on its website is 300-1,700 yen for adults, and 500-800 yen for children. Fees for nighttime entry range from 600-1,400 yen for adults, and 300-700 yen for children. The park is a 15-minute walk from Tomita Station, which is about 70 minutes away from Tokyo or Asakusa.
Where to see them: Showa Memorial Park
Showa Kinen Koen, or Showa Memorial Park, is a huge park located in Tachikawa in suburban Tokyo (about 30 minutes away from Shinjuku). The annual flower festival starts March 24th and will run until May 27. The festival isn’t for any particular flower, as there are many, but the tulip season starting mid-April is particularly stunning. You should also be able to catch some other blossoms, including field mustard and poppies (in May). The park is open from 9:30 am-5:00 pm, and entrance is 410 yen for adults, 210 yen for senior citizens, and 80 yen for children.
Where to see them: Kyu-Furukawa Teien
Kyu-Furukawa Teien, near Komagome Station, is famous for its vibrant roses. Its rose garden is slightly shaped like a maze, which makes for good photos with the Western-style residence. Its rose festival is from mid-May to early June, quite close to summer already. The park is open from 9:00 am-5:00 pm, and admission is 150 yen.
6. AzaleasWhere to see them: Nezu Shrine, Tokyo
They may not be the flower that springs to mind, but azaleas are bright and beautiful, especially when they carpet the grounds of a traditional shrine in central Tokyo. Nezu Shrine holds their annual flower festival in their 300-year olf Azalea garden which is home to over 3,000 plants of 100 different species. During the festival, there are antique fairs, plant fairs and more. The well-maintained plants are a beautiful site and will whisk you away from the busy streets of Tokyo, and the red tori gates will transport you to Kyoto. The festival is from April 7th to May 6th and is very busy at weekends so try weekdays if you can! It is free to view the azalea plants from the regualr grounds, and 200 yen to walk into the azalea garden itself.
This article is updated annually. Last update: February 2018.