You haven’t seen wisteria until you’ve ogled the giant purple vines of Tokyo. Not only is each plant astoundingly huge and lush with garlands of blooms, the streamers of flowers can be nearly a meter long! Here are my favorite places to see them in Tokyo:
NISHIARAI DAISHI TEMPLE
This year is the first time I’ve been to the Nishiarai Daishi temple when their wisteria is in full bloom, and all I can say is that I have REGRETS that I haven’t been visiting it every year to bask in it glorious enormousness.
Before now, I thought we had to trek all the way out to the Ashikaga Flower Park to see single plants of this size, but Nishiarai Daishi is just a fifteen minute train ride from Kita-Senju Station.
How big is it? It’s THIS big:
Here’s what it’s like to walk inside it!
As a bonus, it grows right beside a nice little koi pond with greenery, so it’s a very pleasant place to sit and enjoy the purple goodness.
If you want to enjoy it without the crowds, all you have to do is go early-ish. These photos were taken at peak season around 8:00 a.m., and I had the place nearly to myself until 9:00.
And amazingly enough, it’s open 24/7 and it’s FREE (although it’s polite to make an offering at the box in front of the main sanctuary with the big striped awnings). Once you’re there, the wisteria isn’t the only thing worth seeing at Nishiarai Daishi—it’s also home to the Wart Shrine, a lovely garden with a school of colorful koi fish, and other worthy attractions.
KAMEIDO TENJIN SHRINE
This wisteria spot has been attracting visitors since the samurai era (it’s even immortalized in a famous woodblock print!) and it has two claims to fame:
First, it’s got lots and lots of wisteria plants. How many? Let’s just say they go on for trellis after trellis of different varieties.
And second, it has gorgeous red lacquered moon bridges that look awesome with the purple:
There are so many ways to combine the bridges…
…and the red railings
With the grandeur of the purple.
As a bonus, if you’re a Skytree lover, it’s omnipresent from this shrine, especially when viewed from the top of one of the bridges, so you can see the wisteria trellises spread out below.
This spectacular place is also open 24/7 (and before the pandemic it was lit up at night until 21:00, but now there’s no mention of that on the shrine’s Japanese-only website, so I’m not sure if they’re still doing it or not).
It’s also FREE (although once again, it’s polite to make an offering at the box in front of the main sanctuary at the end of the central promenade). And again, if you’d like to see it sans crowds, go early. The daytime photos were taken around 7:30 a.m.
I haven’t had a chance to visit all my favorite wisteria hotspots this season, but they are also well worth checking out! Here’s where to find more pix and info on the rest of the most beautiful wisteria in Tokyo…and beyond
The other post includes:
Smack in the middle of boring, corporate Akasaka, there’s a venerable island of shrine greatness that’s also home to some snap-worthy wisteria
KOSHIKAWA KORAKU-EN GARDEN
View-worthy wisteria grows in two separate places at this huge stroll garden
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 beyond Tokyo…
ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK
HITACHI SEASIDE PARK
Famous for their Baby Blue Eyes (which are in full bloom at the same time) this park has an unusual display of many colors on the same long trellis
If you could use more flower extravaganzas in your life…
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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had