Tokyo Festivals: Hydrangea in bloom at the Hakusan Shrine (白山あじさい祭り) - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tokyo Festivals: Hydrangea in bloom at the Hakusan Shrine (白山あじさい祭り)

Hydrangea in bloom at the Hakusan Shrine
Photo: Anette

Summer is peak season for festivals here in Japan, and those of you who stop by Tokyo in June might just be in time for festivals related to the hydrangea flower, known in Japanese as Ajisai (紫陽花). You can find various flower festivals held throughout the year in various places in the country, with the most popular ones being related to the cherry blossom, sakura. But other flowers like the hydrangea are also becoming increasingly popular, and just last week I went to check out the festival held at the Hakusan Shrine in Tokyo's Bunkyo-ku area.
The Hakusan Shrine has a that goes back to around year 950 in the Heian period (平安時代), but it was only after 1655 that the shrine finally came to stay at its current location. 2018 marked the 34th year that the festival has been taking place at the shrine, and in recent years it has become known as one of Bunkyo-ku's 3 largest flower festivals.
Entrance to the festival is free of charge, and inside the shrine area there is a stage set up for the occasion where visitors can enjoy various performances.
An overview of the shrine and surrounding hydrangea parks

In recent years the festival has gotten a slightly international atmosphere as well, with hula dance as a part of the entertainment program.
Besides the show taking place at the stage visitors are welcome to walk around the shrine area and enjoy the view of the beautiful hydrangea flowers in full bloom.
The park surrounding the Hakusan shrine is said to be home to around 20 different types of hydrangea, and around 3,000 flowers in total! So if you like hydrangea you'll definitely not regret taking the trip to Bunkyo-ku for this festival.
At the festival they have activities for kids as well
One of the most popular places to visit is a small hilltop behind the shrine where you can see numerous beautiful hydrangea flowers in bloom. There was a long line to get up the hilltop and I'm not a huge fan of lines. And as you can see from my photos below, there are a lot of flowers to see even without going up that hilltop...
At Japanese festivals it is often common that the locals carry a Mikoshi - (お神輿) a portable Shinto shrine. We were lucky with the timing, and left the shrine just as the crowd passed by with a Mikoshi decorated with hydrangea flowers.

The hydrangea festival at Hakusan Shrine is of smaller scale, and not very touristy (we only saw a few tourists while we were there). If you want to experience a Japanese festival while in Tokyo in the vicinity this might be a good option for you. The Koishikawa Botanical Garden is also just a small stroll away from the shrine, so you could always combine the two for a fun day of activities.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
- Anette

 ◆Basic Info

  • Hakusan Shrine (白山神社):
    Hakusan Hydrangea Festival
    Time Period:
    June 7th - 17th
    〒112-0001 Tokyo, Bunkyō, Hakusan, 5−31-26

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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