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

Hydrangeas at Ukima Park in 2020

When the hydrangeas come into bloom, the first place I go to see them is usually Hakusan Shrine. The shrine has a really good garden, filled with them.  This year though, I wanted to find a new place. I checked out the internet and found a few options, but one place that caught my eye was Ukima Park in Itabashi ward.  Judging from the pictures I saw, it seemed like a good place, so off I went.

I live in Suginami ward, and the park is in Itabashi ward, so that meant I had to go into Tokyo, Shinjuku in this case.  From there I caught the Saikyo line, took it north to Ikebukuro and then north-west to the closest station, Ukimafunado. From that station, the park was just over the road.

Ukima is a great park.  It’s a not a Shinjuku Gyoen or Hana Rikyu. This is more of a family park, a recreation park. In the middle it has a huge pond and around it you can find a windmill, a baseball ground, kid’s playground, people enjoying fishing and lots of benches to enjoy a picnic.  And the benches make a great place from which to enjoy watching flowers.

For this visit, I think I was a little early in the season.  Many flowers were in good condition, but many of them were yet to bloom.  Concentrated on the east side of the pond, the hydrangeas are mostly situated along the paths, not placed in a garden like Hakusan shrine.  So it was something a little different for me.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed with Ukima.  I know that I was early, but as the plants are spread out, the park does look a little sparse.  But then again, considering that there are only about 300 of them compared to say the 3000 found at Hakusan, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Still, it is a good place to enjoy a walk and in other seasons you can find other flowers like cherry blossoms in spring.  I think the cherry blossoms around Ukima’s pond might look very good. Hopefully I’ll be able to go again in 2020 to see them. You can see its (Japanese) website here.