Japan’s most beautiful hydrangeas can be found in the many temples and shrines of Kamakura and Enoshima Island.
As summer draws near, you can feel the plants reaching towards the sun and putting out new leaves and blossoms. For lots of humans, the heat isn’t always welcome, but you can tell the plants are ready for the warmth and sunlight! So we might as well appreciate all the hard work they’re putting in.
In Japan, early summer means appreciating hydrangeas! The country is far more famous for its ubiquitous cherry blossom gardens, which blossom in spring and can be found drawing huge crowds all over the islands. But their flower admiration doesn’t end with those dainty pink petals; Japan’s beautiful hydrangea bushes also attract lots of attention, and one of the best spots for hydrangeas is Kamakura! We’ve mentioned before that you can charter a travel taxi to get you to the best flower viewing spots all over Kamakura and Enoshima Island, but no matter how you get there, it’s worth a trip!
This temple and its famed grounds are sprawled along a hillside that reaches far above the city of Kamakura, with panoramic views of the streets below. It’s a bit of a climb to get up all the stairs, but it’s worth the effort when you see what awaits in the temple gardens: more than 500 colorful hydrangea bushes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The hydrangea garden is lined with narrow paths, and for a limited time at the peak of the season, it’s even lit up after dark.
Hasedera Temple (長谷寺)
3-11-2 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Admission Fee: adults 400 yen / children 200 yen
Official Website (en)
② Meigetsuin Temple
Meigetsuin is almost less temple than garden, with more than 2,500 hydrangeas surrounding a maze of paths and staircases throughout the temple grounds. And the thousands of plants at Meigetsuin are known for one thing in particular: their color. Just about all of the hydrangeas in this temple garden are a brilliant blue, and they’ve been given the name hime-ajisai (ヒメアジサイ), literally “princess hydrangeas”!
Meigetsuin Temple (明月院)
189 Yamanouchi, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Hours: 8:30 – 17:00
Admission Fee: 500 yen
③ Jojuin Temple
Jojuin has a history reaching back almost 800 years, but these days visitors tend to come for the flowers more than anything else. A long staircase reaches from the beaches of Kamakura up to the temple and up beyond, all lined with colorful hydrangeas. There’s no better place to snap a picture of the flowers in front of Kamakura’s white sand!
Jojuin Temple (成就院)
1-1-5 Gokurakuji, Kamakura, Kanagawa
Hours: 8:00 – 17:00
Official Website (jp)
④ Engakuji Temple
The places we’ve mentioned so far are all great for seeing spectacular floral displays, and are certainly worth a trip for anyone willing to put up with the crowds of people. If you’re not sure you want to deal with that level of crowding, though, you might be interested to hear about Engakuji Temple! This temple has beautiful hydrangeas, lovely old temple buildings and courtyards, and (importantly) plenty of space to move around in.
⑤ Enoshima Shrine
Enoshima Shrine is popular throughout the year, thanks to its reputation for granting good luck, which stretches back to the days of samurai. To this day, visitors arrive to pray for health and (particularly) wealth, but in the summer they also come for the flowers! Admire the view of colorful hydrangeas as you climb all the way up the shrine’s many stairs.
Enoshima Shrine (江島神社)
2-3-8 Enoshima, Fujisawa, Kanagawa
Hours: 8:30 – 17:00
Official Website (jp)
Kamakura is known for being such a scenic area that it’s constantly used a backdrop for momentous scenes in Japanese dramas, or as a setting for movies. It’s worth visiting year-round, but if you appreciate the beauty of bushes full of blooming flowers, then early summer is the time to go!
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