Holy Hydrangea Spot: Kamakura’s Temples and Shrines
In Japan, the original species of hydrangea – the lacecap hydrangea – and the selectively bred western hydrangea are two of the many varieties of this flower growing in every region of Japan. In particular, the temples and shrines of Kamakura are a fantastic place to take a leisurely stroll while hydrangea viewing.
From Tokyo station take the JR Yokosuka Line approximately 55 minutes to Kamakura station. Once you arrive, board the charmingly retro Enoden Line tram and get off at Hase station and walk roughly ten minutes to Hasedera Temple. Here, you can walk through the temple’s sloping precincts and find yourself surrounded by thousands of multi-colored hydrangea. Inside, you can trace images of Buddha and sutra texts as a uniquely calming cultural experience.
After you leave Hasedera Temple, walk along the Enoden Line tracks approximately 10 minutes and you’ll arrive at Goryo-jinja Shrine. Just ahead of the shrine, the Enoden Line travels straight through vividly colored hydrangea bushes flanking either side of the tram. Your next great Instagram photo awaits.
Another 10 minutes further along and you’ll find Jojuin Temple. The paved approach to the temple is adorned with lush hydrangea and offers a perfect elevated view of Yuigahama Beach in the distance.
Address: 4-9 Sakanoshita, Kamakura City
Buddhist Cuisine and Beautiful Hydrangea
Aside from taking in the architecture, history and flowers of Kamakura’s temples and shrines, visitors can eat authentic Buddhist cuisine known as “shojin ryori.” This devotional food is prepared from specific vegetables and beans.
One temple offering such cuisine is Komyoji Temple, located just 10 minutes by bus from Kamakura station. Enjoy lunch while viewing the precinct’s hydrangea.
Restaurants in town such as “Hachi no Ki” also serve shojin ryori.
Take in Hydrangea While Attending Events
Some of the best hydrangea sightseeing spots can be enjoyed while attending events in Metropolitan Tokyo and Kanagawa.
At Hakusan Shrine in Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward, a sweep of approximately 3000 hydrangea shrubs adorn the shrine precinct to connected Hakusan Park. From early to mid June, visitors can attend the “Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri” (Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival) and enjoy a variety of food stalls. Local residents carrying an “omikoshi” (portable shrine) on their shoulders is an archetypal cultural sight in Japan.
Venture further out to western Tokyo’s Hino City and you’ll find a grand display of 7500 hydrangea shrubs boasting 200 varieties of flower at Takahata Fudosan Kongo-ji Temple. From Shinjuku station take the Keio Line approximately 30 minutes to Takahatafudo station and walk three minutes. On the third Sunday of every month, the “Gozare Ichi” flea market is held in the temple precincts. Browse the wares of over 100 sellers offering food, household goods, dolls, and ever-popular kimono.
Further afield in Kanagawa’s Hakone region, Hakone Gora Park offers tea ceremony and ceramic pottery experiences against a backdrop of hydrangea. During the local bloom, rare breeds of hydrangea from other regions are put on display – from pure white to deep red. Purchase some flowers to spruce up your accommodations in Japan or offer to a friend!