Hydrangeas reach full bloom from mid-June to early July, adding bursts of color to temples, parks, schoolyards, and the gardens of many homes. These blossoms, with their small flowers bunched together like floral bouquets, bloom in a beauty pageant of pinks, blues and whites, beloved by women and men of all ages.
This season in Japan is humid and rainy, but the vibrant flowers that bloom this time of year lift our spirits. Here are three famous places in the Northern Hanshin area where hydrangeas can be enjoyed to the fullest. Let their botanical beauty take your mind off the discomfit and blow away the dampness of the rainy season.
Aino Hydrangea Garden (Sanda City) / hydrangea from all over the country gather in a competition of colors!
Opened in 1985, Aino Hydrangea Garden brings together the best varieties from across the nation. Entering this fantasy land surrounded by blue, pink, and white hydrangeas blooming brightly, blending into the mountain village of the Aino area, is like stepping into another world. Currently, altogether 20,000 flowers from 100 species are cultivated here allowing us to explore a great diversity of shapes and colors. So why not come find your favorite hydrangea?
Address: 373 Kamiaino, Sanda, Hyogo
Access: 10-minute walk from JR Aino Station
Raikoji Temple (Kawanishi City) / A serene space known as “Hydrangea Temple”
At Raikoji Temple in Kawanishi City, 100 hydrangea plants donated by the Tourism Association in 1974 have been carefully raised by the resident priests. Now about 500 hydrangeas are here for your enjoyment, creating many photogenic spots such as the vivid hues on both sides of the stone stairs and the collaboration with the Nose Electric Railway passing by. This popular stop for any hiking course around Kawanishi City attracts crowds of visitors during the flowering season.
Address: 2-17-2 Higashi-uneno, Kawanishi City, Hyogo
Access: 5-minute walk from Nose Electric Railway Uneno Station
Oya Alps Land (Inagawa Town) / Find enchantment in the blue world of the Lover’s Sanctuary at the highest peak in the Hanshin area.
Located on Mt. Oya at an altitude of 753m and equipped with an observatory and a campsite, Oya Alps Land is a place to enjoy the charm of the four seasons throughout the year.
Around the observatory near the top of the mountain, the area is blanketed with hundreds of hydrangea blooms.
After frolicking in the refreshing blue carpet of flowers, stay to enjoy the starry night view. Oya Alps Land has also been selected as a “Sanctuary for Lovers,” so take the one you love here and revel in the romance of flowers and stars.
Address: 1-1 Onogadake, Kashihara, Inagawa-cho, Hyogo
Access: Shin-Meishin Expressway → Kawanishi IC → 30 minutes by car
*Due to deer feeding damage, hydrangeas in the area just below the mountain top (back of the campsite) cannot be seen as they normally are in each year.
This has been an introduction to a few hydrangea spots where the botanical beauty might give some relief from the heat and lift your spirits. Don’t let the rain stop you from venturing out to find the brightly blooming hydrangeas that only come this season.