Hydrangeas at Takahata Fudoson in 2018
Takahata Fudoson Kongo-ji is one of the oldest temples in Tokyo and is famous for its huge pagoda. Long associated with Shinsengumi, a special police force during the Edo period, the temple is now known for its hydrangea festival which is held in early summer. And that is why I made a visit there, not to see the temple, but to see its 7500 hydrangeas.
There are some carefully tendered flowers around the buildings, but most of the plants are up on a hill, behind the pagoda. And the way it is set up, is very fun. There are four paths: the Path of Four Seasons; the Path of the Hydrangea, and; the Path of the Pilgrim. The last one is of particular interest as it is a mini-replica of the buddhist pilgrim route, complete with pilgrimage sites, represented by jizo statues. The good thing is this Path of the Pilgrim, unlike the one in Shikoku, can be completed in a very short time.
You can have a really pleasant time there walking over the trails, as they aren’t difficult to navigate at all, while enjoying the flowers in a very natural setting. You can also get some nice views overlooking the pagoda, of Western Tokyo.
The temple, is a little far from the center of Tokyo, a little more than thirty minutes by express train from Shinjuku, is one of the best places in the city to see these lovely flowers. Have you been to Hakusan shrine in Bunkyo ward? If you haven’t you can see some pictures of it here from the 2017 festival. Hakusan is very different as it is in a central Tokyo distract and has a very compact hydrangea garden, about 3000 in number. It is very different.
If you are into flower photography, I think Takahata Fudoson would be a great place for you to visit (if you haven’t already that is) as it has so much to see. Not only are there the flowers, but so many interesting buildings and that huge pagoda to include in your pictures as well!
You can see Takahata Fudoson’s Japanese website here. One day, hopefully in the near future, I’ll put up a complete article just about the temple.