Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Hydrangeas at Hakusan Shrine in 2017

Today I went to Hakusan shrine which is in Tokyo's Bunkyo ward to see the Hydrangea Festival for my second time.  I never used to like hydrangeas, but the more I go the more they grow on me.  This time though, I couldn’t get up early like I did last year so I got there much later than I had planned.  And most unfortunately, it was quite a cloudy day with blue sky glimpsed through the clouds only once or twice while I was there.  Well, at the time I thought it was unfortunate but my mind soon changed.

If you look at my pictures on Tokyo in I think you’ll see that the overwhelming majority were taken on fine days OR more preferably fine days with that had a few clouds in them.  Most people, I think, prefer blue skies.  Blue skies just look better, but blue skies with a few clouds in them are definitely best.  However, when the sky is blue it allows a lot of light through which can make photographing flowers difficult as they can be quite reflective, which is obviously problematic.  Too much light and it’ll blow out your pictures.  With an overcast sky, the clouds act like a diffuser making the light softer, which is a huge plus.  It’s pretty good, as long as you focus on the flowers and don’t include the ugly grey sky.

I had a great time there with my camera, had a few chats with a couple of people and of course enjoyed the flowers.   When the hydrangeas are in bloom at Hakusan shrine it is such a beautiful place and I would really urge anyone who visits Tokyo to visit it.  Depending on what you day go and what time of day you go it can get quite crowded, but that is okay as it is still pretty local.  The shrine and the area around it isn't that big, but it has about 3000 hydrangeas.

The main hall of Hakusan shrine seen from the rear

If you don’t know anything about hydrangeas, they can be blue, red, white, pink or purple and there are two types.  One is roughly ball-shaped and the other is rather flat with a centre core surrounded by an outer ring of flowers.  I like them both.  They are great to both look at and photograph.

Anyway, that is it from me for the moment.  Not sure where my next article will be from, so if you have any ideas please let me know by leaving a comment.