Japan’s celebrated sakura season may be on the wane, but as spring truly gets into swing there’s an abundance of flower festivals welcoming the season. From majestic fields of pink near Mount Fuji, to delicate wisteria in the city, here are the the floral events set to bloom throughout April and May.
By mid April a vibrant carpet of pink moss aka shibazakura appears at the base of Mount Fuji; the visual effect of the endless stretch of fuschia, set against the dark-green treeline and snow-capped peak is nothing short of spectacular. Celebrated at the Fuji Shibazakura Festival from 15 Apr to 28 May, Tokyoites flock to capture the 800,000-plus blooms, which in reality span powder-white and pink to light purple, and to sample an array of seasonal Fuji foods served at local restaurants, shops and food stalls during the fiesta.
Also outside of the capital, Hitachi Seaside Park is awash with nemophila (baby blue eyes) from the end of April. Admittedly it’s a bit of a schlep to get there – requiring a train then bus or taxi to do so – but persevere and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful vision of the prettiest of blue petals, exquisitely framed by the sky and sea.
Closer to home, delicate, fragrant wisteria is found hanging in all its picturesque glory at Kameido Tenjin – the temple’s pond reflects the glorious blooms, while the traditional arched stone bridge adds further aesthetic pleasure.
Meanwhile, the grounds around the Nezu Shrine burst with colour-pop azalea during spring; more than 3,000 plants are in this 300-year-old garden. Opening 7 April, the Bunkyo Azalea Festival also features an antique fair, plant sales and performances. Aim to go on a weekday if you can; the grounds get packed on weekends.
If all that horticulture has tickled your green fingers, head to Japan's Flower Dream (14-15 April), which offers everything from sales of rare plants to an exhibition on Edo-era flower culture. The Japan Cup also crowns the nation’s top florist. Bloomin’ marvellous!
Fuji Shibazakura Festival / Fuji Motosuko Resort / 212 Motusu / Fujikawaguchiko / Minamitsuru Yamanashi / +81 555 89 3031 / 15 Apr-28 May / shibazakura.jp
Nemophila Harmony Festival / Hitachi Seaside Park / Hitachinaka City Ibaraki Prefecture / +81 29 265 9001 / 21 Apr-13 May / hitachikaihin.jp
Wisteria Festival / Kameido Tenjin / 6-1 / Kameido / Koto-ku / Tokyo / +81 3 3681 0010 / 15 Apr-6 May / kameidotenjin.or.jp
Bunkyo Azalea Festival / Nezu Shrine / 1-28-9 Nezu / Bunkyo-ku / 7 Apr-6 May / nedujinja.or.jpFlower Dream / Tokyo Big Sight / +81 3 5496 0369 / 1pm-7pm Sat 14 Apr & 10am-6.30pm Sun 15 Apr / flowerdream-tokyo.net