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Where To See The Most Beautiful Wisteria In Tokyo

It’s purple season again! Yes, the wisteria are blooming, and (did you even have to ask?) of course Japan has over-the-top displays of the good purple stuff. Peak season is mid-April to mid-May, so get thee to these spots right now to see the most eye-popping ones around…

ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK

Because mother of all wisteria
Because mother of all wisteria magically lit up at night
Because rare pink wisteria conveniently next to a reflecting pool
Because mother of all wisteria in all shapes and colors
Because infinite halls of wisteria
Because tunnel o’wisteria
Because these would be the paparazzi-surrounded stars of any garden except the one where they have to compete with multiple mothers of all wisteria

I admit that even if you totally stretch the definition of suburb, this park isn’t actually in Tokyo, but it’s so amazing, it would be wrong if I didn’t tell you to hop on a train and daytrip it if you can.

Getting to Ashikaga Flower Park without a car takes about 2.5 hours by train. To get there, plug your nearest station into the Train Finder or download a free Japan Travel mobile app to your phone (I use Navitime Japan Travel) with Ashikaga Flower Park Station as the destination.

Open: Every day, 9:00-21:00 from mid-April to the end of May

Admission: ¥1700 for adults

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HITACHI SEASIDE PARK

While you’re out near Ashikaga, a little further northeast is Hitachi Seaside Park, where the Baby Blue Eyes are also in full bloom. Conveniently close to the rolling hills of blue is an amazing display of wisteria:

It’s incredibly long, and progresses from white to pink to purple, with all the colors in full bloom at the same time
Here it is, from the other end

Open: 9:30 – 17:00, closed Mondays

Admission: ¥410

Hitachi Seaside Park is about three hours northeast of Tokyo, near Mito. To get there, plug your nearest station into the Train Finder or download a free Japan Travel mobile app to your phone (I use Navitime Japan Travelwith Ajigaura Station as the destination. There’s a free shuttle bus that runs every nine minutes between Ajigaura Station and the park.

Of course, you don’t have to go that far to see wisteria extravaganzas. There are quite a few awesome displays right in Tokyo. For example…

KAMEIDO TENJIN SHRINE

Dishing up masses of purple flowers since Edo-era artists were inking their woodblocks (see below), the Kameido Shrine has acres and acres of the stuff. It all blooms at once, and…well, see for yourself.

As you can see, the purple is strong with this one (this photo only shows about a quarter of it)
Plus, it’s lit up at night until midnight and it’s FREE (how great is that?)
You can’t really escape the looming Skytree thing at Kameido Tenjin, so it’s best to just give in and let it photobomb all your pictures. (At least it’s lit up in purple in honor of The Season, but still.)
Purple haze, as far as the eye can see
The trunks are pretty picturesque too. Weirdly, the ponds surrounding these don’t work very well as reflecting pools, but they do make it necessary to have…
Bridges. Red ones. Which look awesome with the purpleness.
Especially after dark.
Whether you prefer your wisteria light or dark, there’s plenty to go around
As you can see, they’ve been at it for quite a while. “Wisteria at Kameido” by Hiroshige, 1856

Open: Every day, no closing hours. Lit up until 24:00

Admission: Free

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HIE SHRINE

Smack in the middle of boring, corporate Akasaka, there’s a venerable island of shrine greatness. The Hie Shrine sits on a hill by itself, magnificently attired in red and gold.

There’s just one rack o’wisteria at the Hie Shrine, but it’s a choice one.
I think the flowers look especially nice with red shrine buildings in the background
The sheer exuberance of these vines just makes me happy

Open: 5:00-18:00

Admission: Free

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NISHI-ARAI DAISHI TEMPLE

In the north end of Tokyo, Nishi-arai Daishi Temple is famous for its peony garden (which, if you’re lucky, will still be in bloom) but it also has an impressive pair of giant wisteria plants

Looks like a great spot to have lunch, doesn’t it?
It’s next to a nice pond with a waterfall
And because Boys’ Day is May 5th, the temple’s gigantic carp streamers will be waving in the distance

These next places have lovely displays of wisteria, set in gorgeous gardens.

KORAKU-EN

Two long trellises of wisteria sit between the iris ponds and the plum trees at Korakuen Garden

Open: Every day, 9:00-17:00

Admission: ¥300

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 HAMA-RIKYU GARDEN

View-worthy wisteria grows in two separate places at this huge stroll garden

The first is tucked into a beautiful piece of landscaping with a “stream” of iris running beneath it
And the second bunch is on the long bridge spanning the big pond
Nice view, don’t you think?

Open: Every day, 9:00-17:00

Admission: ¥300

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KYU SHIBA-RIKYU GARDEN

This garden is always uncrowded, even though it’s right next to Hamamatsucho Station. Although it just has one trellis of wisteria, it’s an especially nice one, and the peonies and early iris are also in full bloom right now. A stroll through the deep green of this exquisitely-designed garden is always soul-restoring.

The ancient vines at Kyu Shiba-Rikyu Garden shade a really nice picnic area right inside the gate, with a great view of the pond
This variety of wisteria isn’t just satisfyingly purple, the flower cascades are a couple of feet long, so they hang down inside the trellis too
Super nice scenery all around
Plenty of room for everyone to soak up the sweet fragrance and enjoy the wafting fronds

Open: Every day, 9:00-17:00

Admission: ¥150

MAP

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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly newsletter Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

7 thoughts on “Where To See The Most Beautiful Wisteria In Tokyo Leave a comment

  1. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing! You introduced us to Japan (10?) years ago and we love it! I have not been there in the Spring. fabulous! Phoebe

    • Phoebe! I remember those days together so fondly! It’s too bad I was such a newbie here myself then, and I didn’t realize how many great flower extravaganzas happen throughout the year. I’m happy we managed to see as much as we did, though. So happy I could bring a little flowery joy to your day. Hugs from me, across the sea.

  2. All these pictures make me sit here, thinking wistfully about coming back to Japan…

    Get it? Wistfully? Wisteria? Eh? Eh??

  3. Completely agree that Ashikaga is worth the trip! When I visited with my hubs 3 years ago there was a bus to take visitors to the park from the station, too. So, if you’re not up for the walk (I was ready-to-pop pregnant at that time) it is still very doable.

    • Good to know! I admit I’m unreasonably afraid of buses in Japan because of my uncanny ability to get on the wrong one and/or get on the right one going the wrong direction and end up in uncharted wilderness, but the ones that leave from the train station to destinations like the Ashikaga Flower Park are really handy and the easiest to take. Thanks for reminding me I ought to include them as an option!

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