| Jonh Asano

Brighten up the Rainy Season with the Hydrangeas of Gifu

Hydrangeas are considered the symbol of the rainy season in Japan with their vibrant colors bringing a bit of joy during all the rain. Called ajisai (紫陽花) in Japanese, hydrangeas are native to East Asia and typically bloom from mid to late June in central Japan. Gifu with its plethora of nature spots is one of the best places in Japan to enjoy their mystical beauty.

Symbol of the Rainy Season

The rainy season, known as tsuyu (梅雨) in Japanese is the best time to get out and experience the hydrangeas. In fact, the more rain the better! The rain is actually beneficial to the flowers, giving them a deeper color. It is also extremely mystical to see them with spots of rain on the flowers and in the morning mist. Here are some cool places in Gifu to admire the beautiful hydrangeas of central Japan.

Hydrangeas ~ the symbol of the rainy season

The Long and Colorful Hydrangea Road of Itadori

The picturesque Hydrangea Road along the Itadori River in Seki City is a 24-kilometer-long stretch of road that is lined with around 10,000 hydrangeas. A great starting point is the Itadori Ajisai Village.

Itadori Ajisai Village
Colorful hydrangeas near the Itadori Ajisai Village

The drive along the tight winding mountain road is breathtaking with stunning views of the turquoise blue Itadori River and the blue, purple, pink and white flowers of the hydrangeas creating a pretty picture.

The Itadori Hydrangea Road
Hydrangeas along the Hydrangea Road

Make sure you stop by Monet’s Pond which is a must-see attraction in the area.

How to Get There?

The best way to view the Hydrangea Road is by car. Take the Tokai Hokuriku Expressway to the Mino IC. It is around an hour from there to Itadori. You can find plenty of parking at the Itadori Ajisai Village.

Sankoji Temple in Yamagata City

Sankoji Temple in the Miyama area of Yamagata City in Gifu Prefecture is a mountain temple that comes alive with a splash of color during the rainy season with its beautiful hydrangeas. This temple is a little off the beaten track and mostly only known by the locals but is definitely worth a visit.

The main temple building at Sankoji Temple

The temple is called “Ajisai no Yamadera” in Japanese, which means mountain temple of hydrangeas, and it certainly lives up to its name with around 8,000 hydrangeas planted on its sacred grounds. The best time to see them is from mid-June to early July, when the hydrangea festival is on.

The highlights for me were the water feature with hydrangeas and the koi filled pond which is surrounded by colorful hydrangeas.

Water feature at Sankoji Temple
Beautiful hydrangeas floating in the water

How to Get There?

The temple is a little difficult to get to without a car, but you can catch a bus from Meitetsu Gifu Station on the Gihoku Line to the Tominaga Bus Stop, which is a five-minute walk from the temple. If you come by car, there is a small parking area at the temple which can accommodate around 20 cars. Parking is free.

The Sai River Embankment in Sunomata

Around 3,800 hydrangeas can be found along the Sai River embankment near Sunomata Castle in Ogaki.

The Sunomata Hydrangea Road
Walking along the hydrangea road

The road along the river from the castle is known as the “Sunomata Hydrangea Road” and is the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll amongst the beautiful hydrangeas. You will find a range of colors here from deep purple and blue to light pink and white. The hydrangeas are in full bloom typically from mid to late June.

Hydrangeas with Sunomata Castle
You can get some great views of Sunomata Castle

At the foot of Sunomata Castle near the Sai River is a wonderful collection of hydrangeas in a variety of colors.

Hydrangeas at Sunomata Castle

How to Get There?

Take a bus on the Obusa Sunomata Line heading towards Sunomata from platform 6 at JR Gifu Station in Gifu City. Get off at the Sunomata Bus Stop. It should take around 35 minutes and cost ¥510. If you come by car, there is a small parking spot right in front of the castle which can accommodate around 5 to 6 cars.

Tsukimi no Mori in Kaizu

Tsukimi no Mori in Kaizu is home to a 37.5ha nature park that is the perfect place to get outdoors and enjoy the seasonal flowers of Japan. Over 10,000 hydrangeas and cherry blossoms have been planted within the boundaries of the park.

Tsukimi no Mori in Kaizu
Map of the nature park

The name Tsukimi no Mori means “moon viewing forest” in English and the park is considered to be one of Japan’s Top 100 Moon Viewing Spots. The beautiful hydrangeas can be enjoyed in June at the stunning hydrangea garden, where you can walk around various nature trails which are located throughout the park.

Walking up the road from the parking area

The short uphill walk from the parking area is along a road lined with different colored hydrangeas. At the half-way point you reach a stunning water feature and an amazing set of steps that is the most instagrammable spot in the whole park.

Stairs lined with hydrangeas
Various colors along the path
Don’t miss the water features near the stairs

For a fantastic view, climb the 258 steps of the Stairway to the Moon to be rewarded with panoramic views of the Nobi Plain from the lookout deck.

Stairway to the Moon 

After all the walking, make sure you soak your tired feet at Suisho no Yu Hot Spring that is located within the park.

How to Get There?

The entrance to the park is about a 16-minute walk from Komano Station on the Yoro Railway. There is also plenty of free parking for anyone visiting by car.

Wrap Up

Rainy days in Japan don’t need to be dreary. Brighten up the rainy season by enjoying the beauty and mystery of the colorful hydrangeas of Gifu. Don’t let the rain put you off from visiting central Japan during this colorful time of the year.

The colorful hydrangeas of Gifu

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