Japan in bloom

03 Apr 2020 in Discover Japan

Cherry blossom isn’t Japan’s only spring flower. Discover a wealth of kaleidoscopic floral experiences!

cover

Spring in Japan is synonymous with cherry blossom – and rightly so. No trip in March or April would be complete without visiting one of the country’s famous sakura hotspots. But Japan is also home to a wealth of spectacular spring flowers that are equally photogenic, yet well off the traditional tourist track.

_0004_AdobeStock_305917790

_0000_【トマム】花咲くストリート イメージ

_0008_AdobeStock_245706295

Head to Kyushu to walk through a carpet of bright pink azaleas on the slopes of Mt. Aso. Admire the vibrant purple-blues of over a million Japanese irises in Hamamatsu Flower Park.

_0004_【界遠州】浜名湖花フェスタ

_0001_AdobeStock_83351228

And discover the early-April Hana Matsuri (“flower festival”) all around the country!

Buddha flower celebration

Every year on April 8, the Japanese mark the birth of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha, with a fitting floral tribute. Held across the country, Hana Matsuri is a celebration of both religion and the coming of spring. If you’re in Japan for the cherry blossoms, make sure you check out these colourful flower festivities.

_0004_AdobeStock_136771409

During the event, temples feature a hana mido or flower temple, which is elaborately decorated with seasonal blooms and houses a small Buddha statue sprinkled with amacha sweet tea.

_0003_AdobeStock_277988503

_0009_AdobeStock_189816665

Beyond the flowers, you can expect music, colourful kimonos and children dressed in traditional costumes.

Aso azaleas

One of the most rewarding destinations for an alternative take on Japan’s spring flowers is the southern island of Kyushu. The rich volcanic hillsides of the Aso-Kuju National Park are an extremely fertile ground for all sorts of colourful blooms from March onwards. At

_0006_AdobeStock_162004290

_0006_AdobeStock_320733566

this time, the landscape transforms from black wastelands, created by the grass-burning tradition of noyaki, to fresh green pastures dotted with swathes of ebullient Alpine flowers.

Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso is an ideal base for exploring the area during the period of spring reawakening.

_0004_Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso Hot spring bath1

_0003_Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso Room2

Nestled in the heart of the National Park, this luxury ryokan is composed of stylish private villas, each with its own outdoor hot spring bath, and stands just 3 miles from a major trailhead – the perfect springboard for exploring the stunning scenery of this beautifully-preserved wilderness.

_0002_Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso4

One of the most iconic images of Kyushu in the spring is the tapestry of fresh pink and purple flowers weaved into green hillsides. These are Kyushu azaleas, a unique variety of the shrub known as Miyama Kirishima in Japanese, meaning “azalea that blooms high in the mountains”.

_0000_AdobeStock_42259584

_0002_AdobeStock_85363452

The northern foot of Mt. Aso is one of the best places to appreciate this seasonal phenomenon. The area, known as Sensuikyo, is a gorge created by lava flow during the volcano’s eruption. Every year from mid-May to early June, some 50,000 Kyushu azaleas cover the mountainside in a magnificent carpet of colour.

_0007_AdobeStock_332300568

_0001_AdobeStock_264108614

Walking paths around here are relatively easy, offering superb vistas on the outer rim of the Aso crater. And if hiking is not your thing, staff at Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso can organize a horseback trip, even for novice riders.

_0005_Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso Activity4

Another floral highlight 10 minutes by car from the ryokan is the Kuju Flower Park, a 49-acre site housing some 5 million flowers and 500 different varieties. Wide paths lead through vast fields of flowers, framed by the Kuju mountains. The ever-changing display of blooms begins mid-March with pansies, followed by tulips, poppies, roses, pink phlox moss, nemophila, lavender, salvia, lilies, hydrangeas and sunflowers.

_0002_hydrangeaAdobeStock_281439262

_0002_AdobeStock_267510953

In the summer, you can even pick your own blueberries.

Hamamatsu Flower Festa

Just over 2 hours by train from Tokyo, Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu is situated just minutes from the Hamamatsu Flower Park. The area is the heartland of Japanese green tea, and the lakeside ryokan is a great place to learn about both tea and Japan’s spring flowers.

_0000_Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu Japanese Style Room With Tea Corner 1

_0001_zXPSnM_y

The ryokan offers a special program to coincide with the Lake Hamana Flower Festa, which runs in the Flower Park throughout most of spring.

_0000_hahamatsu flower park

As a guest, you’ll get free entry to the festival and, if you’re there in early spring, you’ll be able to wander along the park’s mesmerizing mile-long stretch of cherry blossoms, lined with 30,000 tulips. From late April to early May, one of the highlights is a stroll under the 150-meter pergola of dangling wisteria flowers.

_0008_AdobeStock_189708426

_0003_AdobeStock_135892368

By late spring, you should head to the hydrangea garden, which boasts some 500 different varieties, as well as the iris gardens – where around 1 million hanashobu flowers add a touch of colour to Japan’s rainy season.

_0001_hanashobuAdobeStock_203742076

OTHER EXPERIENCES

cover

A drive on Hokkaido’s Flower Road

18 Jul 2018 in Discover Japan

Summer is the peak time to admire the floral fields of Japan’s northern island. A colourful experience! Read more

Sanshin instrument

Sanshin, the banjo from Okinawa

07 Oct 2016 in Discover Japan

Have you ever heard about sanshin, this unique traditional Japanese 3 strings banjo ? Read more

Japonais garden with water

The ancient art of Japanese gardens

22 Jul 2016 in Discover Japan

Find out about the art, history, and elegance of Japanese gardens which really inspires lovers of Zen-like nature. Read more

OTHER EXPERIENCES

nikko-park

4 estival festivals near Nikko

03 Aug 2018 in Discover Japan

Staying in Nikko or Kinugawa this summer? Find the right festival for you! Read more

goldenweek-flags

Your essential guide to Golden Week

27 Apr 2018 in Discover Japan

What is Golden Week? And is it a good time to visit Japan? Discover all! Read more

imperial-palace

The new Emperor’s parade

03 Oct 2019 in Discover Japan

As Japan’s new Emperor is publicly proclaimed, we take a look at the sights along the parade route. Read more

most popular articles