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Hydrangeas at Hakusan shrine

The entrance to Hakusan shrine in Tokyo's Bunkyo ward

Last week, I went to Hakusan shrine which is in Tokyo's Bunkyo ward to see the Hydrangea Festival.  It's a fantastic little place in a nice, quiet area.  The shrine and the area around it isn't that big, but big enough to get about 3000 hydrangeas in there.  Hydrangeas are really beautiful flowers and there are so many different species and colours.  From what I've read there seems to be two main types.  One is shaped like a pom-pom, or maybe a soccer ball?  The other is flat with a centre core surrounded by an outer ring of flowers.  Both are really nice.  Anyway, I really enjoyed seeing these flowers immensely.  

I got there rather early, before 8 am and even then, on an early weekday morning, it was quite busy.  There were a lot of people in business attire dropping in who had a quick look at the flower, pray at the shrine and then head off to work.  I also saw lots of cameras.  So many different types of cameras.  There were twin-lens reflex cameras, film cameras, medium-format cameras as well as little compact cameras and everything else in between.  It was like walking into a camera shop in the midst of the flowers.

Hakusan shrine isn't only about hydrangeas, there are some foxes there as well

If you ever go to Hakusan shrine during the festival make sure you check out the entire area.  There are a lot of flowers there of course, but just behind the shrine, and in a separate area you'll find a small hill covered with the flowers that is only open during the festival period.  Even the road that leads up to the shrine is interesting as it is lined with lots of little shops, restaurants and cafes.

Tokyo is such a good city for flower festivals with so many throughout the year.  Over the years I've been to quite a few, but after my visit to Hakusan shrine, the Hydrangea Festival is now firmly in my top five!  No need to worry if you missed it this year as it is an annual event and will return again in June next year.