Did you know that in Japan hydrangeas are almost as beloved as the cherry blossoms? While the cherry blossoms represent the beginning of spring, hydrangeas are inextricably connected to the rainy season in June. To celebrate the beginning of the new season, people venture to temples and parks to see the hydrangea flowers. If you find yourself in Tokyo in June, do it like the locals and keep your eyes open for these gorgeous flowers. Or, better yet, visit a hydrangea festival or Ajisai Matsuri as they are called in Japan.
Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri
One popular Ajisai Matsuri happens at Hakusan Shrine in Bunkyo every June. Thousands of hydrangea plants are on display and there are stalls selling drinks and food, as well as a couple of other festivities. I went there with a friend on a sunny Saturday in 2017. As you can see in the pictures below, we were in for a blissful sight. The huge bushes on the grounds of the shrine were in full bloom and many people were out and about, marveling at their beauty and trying to ban it on camera – just like me: