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Garden festival planner: Japan’s floral festivals

Once the cherry blossoms fall Japan bursts into colour with azaleas, peonies and wisteria.

This creates a crescendo of colour unknown to most international travellers - and not to be missed!


Shiofune Temple


Mount Fuji’s flowers

The iconic snow-topped mountain is a backdrop to a blanket of flowers - 800,000 annual phlox in a vibrant shade of lipstick pink. These ‘moss phlox’ are called shibazakura in Japan, and the Fuji Shibazakura Festival is a floral must-see just two hours from Tokyo.

Fujisan framed with fields of phlox.

Blue hills

In May at the Hitachi Seaside Park the curving pathway to a brilliant view of the Pacific Ocean leads up a hill turned palest blue, courtesy of four million Baby Blue Eyes, or Nemophila. Almost as good as the flowers - the locals bringing their dogs in prams for photo opportunities!

Hitachi park nemophila

Wisteria tunnels

The wisteria arches of Kawachi Fuji Garden draw millions of Japanese tourists for five days in May. They make the seven-hour journey from Tokyo to walk under the 200m-long arches, which are planted with 20 different varieties of Japanese wisteria - palest lilac, white, pink to deepest purple - that dangle and dance, offering up-close enjoyment of the blooms and their intense fragrance.

Multi-coloured wisteria

Peony float

The peony growers of Daikonshima Island in Shimane Prefecture grow more than two million peony blooms for the cut flower industry every year, and for one week in May, the pond in the beautiful Yushien Garden on Daikonshima is covered with floating peony blooms.

Peony at Lake Yushien

Azalea blast

Forty minutes north-west of Tokyo the 1300-year old Shiofune Kannon Temple sits in a secluded valley planted with 17,000 perfectly clipped azaleas. Every May the valley shimmers with iridescent colour as the azaleas bloom. Visitors can walk the zig-zagged pathways through the luminous maze of colour to the giant statue of Buddha on the hill for an incredible bird’s eye view down the valley.

Early spring Azalea at Shiofune Temple

Come with us

Graham and Linda Ross visit these festivals on our Spring Festival Tour of Japan. For more information go to or phone 1300 233 200.

About this article

Author: Linda Ross