Tokyo in Pics


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

Hydrangeas at Hakusan Shrine in 2018

Today I went to Hakusan shrine again to see the Hydrangea Festival for my third, or maybe forth second time?  I got up incredibly early, before 6 am, thinking that if I got to the station before 7 am I could miss the morning rush hour.  Well, how wrong I was. The trains, from Takaido to Jinbocho, even well before 8 am were incredibly packed. Still, it was worth it as I did get to the shrine early enough to avoid the crowds there.  However, my bad luck continued, as it was an incredibly overcast day. During my visit I didn’t see one patch of blue sky.

Hakusan Shrine, home to Bunkyo's Hydrangea Festival

There is a hill very close to Hakusan shrine covered in hydrangeas

If you don’t know anything about Hakusan Shrine, it is a tiny little place but it does have 3000 hydrangeas there, which should be enough to satisfy everyone.  And there is even a hill dedicated to them (only open from 9 am). The shrine literally has the plants all around it.

A komainu (lion-dog guardian deity) atop some hydrangeas

However, once again, I had to shoot under a completely overcast sky.  Clouds do diffuse the light, but I think shooting the hydrangeas under a blue sky at the shrine would be good for a change.  The pictures would look a little more attractive. The pictures in this article, I honestly feel, are a little lacking. You also might notice that in some of my pictures, the flowers were definitely starting to wilt.  I just got there too late in the season.

To enter the hill area, you pass under this torii (gate)

It would be nice to be fully professional and get to these events in a timely manner, but when you have to work for a living, it is certainly a problem.  Still, we have to make do with what we are given.

The path that leads up to the top of Hydrangea Hill

I had a good time there with my camera, just no chats to people like I had last year.   If you are looking for places to see hydrangeas in the inner city area, Hakusan shrine is probably the best place to go.  But if travelling to see them is not a problem, then I’d probably chose Takahata Fudoson, in Hino City. Both are excellent, but so different to each other.

Taken from behind the shrine, in a small park

If you don’t know anything about hydrangeas, they come in blue, red, white, pink or purple.  There are two types, one is roughly ball-shaped and the other is rather flat centre core, surrounded by an outer ring of flowers.  Both are very attractive. You can see Hakusan Shrine’s website here.