For those who want to travel somewhere during Golden Week (a national holiday in Japan where people take time off to travel with family and friends), there’s nothing better than immersing yourself in nature. This annual holiday coincides with spring, so the beautiful and unique flower gardens of Japan are a perfect choice.
From the pink moss fields (also known as shibazakura) that stretch to the foot of Mount Fuji, to the stunning 160-year-old wisteria tree, here are the seven most impressive places to visit in Japan every spring.
Ashikaga Flower Park, Tochigi
Stroll under a 160-year-old wisteria tree at Ashikaga Flower Park
Just 20 minutes by car from Tokyo (a little longer by train), Ashikaga Flower Park is not only a wisteria paradise but also hosts a festival every spring. The park has about 1,000 azalea trees and many other types of flowers that bloom at different times, ready to welcome visitors all year round. Take a leisurely stroll through unusual flower tunnels adorned with wisteria blossoms (called fuji in Japanese) that hang down from arched wooden trellises. From the 80-meter-long white wisteria-covered path to the flower-covered bridge and other colorful paths of yellow, purple, green, and pink, there’s a myriad of flowers to explore.
Some wisteria trees are litup at night, including the star of the park, the 160-year-old wisteria tree. The reflection of colorful flowers and the broad, 1,000 square meter tree canopy on the water surface creates a magnificent sight. When you return to Tokyo, you can stay overnight at the MIMARU TOKYO GINZA EAST hotel near the train station.
Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki
Admire the baby blue flowers in the fields at Hitachi Seaside Park
Located on the coast of Ibaraki prefecture, Hitachi Seaside Park is not only vast and picturesque, but also famous for its nemophila flowers (also known as baby blue eyes). When they bloom in the spring (usually from mid-April to early May), the rolling hills are covered in a clear blue hue, blending into the sea and sky to create a spectacular view. In the summer, sunflowers, cosmos flowers, and roses decorate the park with vibrant colors. In the fall, the countless kochia bushes (also known as summer cypress) turn the lush green hills into a bright red.
Even in the winter, the park is filled with yellow and pink hues from Japanese plum blossoms. You can walk along winding paths through the forest or rent a bike to explore the nearly 11-kilometer route specially designed for this mode of transportation. The park has paths for wheelchair users and a small train that runs around the park for visitors to explore varioussights. If you’re looking for more adventure, check out the amusement park with rides like the high-speed roller coaster and Ferris wheel that offer panoramic views of the park and the sea. End a perfect day with a picnic in the BBQ area, then stay overnight at the highly-rated HOTEL R9 The Yard Hitachinaka, just a short drive from the park.
Hitsujiyama Park, Saitama
A carpet of flora at Hitsujiyama Park and the distant Buko Mountain
Hitsujiyama Park is a national treasure located on a hill above the city of Chichibu and not far from Tokyo. Surrounded by the Buko Mountain and cedar forests, the fields of moss pink flowers transform into a sea of pink, purple, and magenta in the spring. From mid-April to early May, this stunning view attracts many tourists and local residents.
Over 400,000 beautiful flowers are planted in rows covering the hills, creating a breathtaking flower bed that shines even brighter under the sun. From the peaceful Shomarutoge Garden House, you can enjoy a distant view of Tokyo and reach the park in just a 23-minute drive.
Tonami Tulip Flower Park, Toyama
A small stream and water wheel run through the Tulip Tonami flower park
Just three hours away from Tokyo by Shinkansen train, Tonami is a small city with an impressive tulip flower park of the same name. Not to mention the annual Tonami Tulip Festival (coinciding with Golden Week 2023) is an event not to be missed. During the two weeks, visitors can enjoy the park’s three million tulip flowers, planted in rows of rainbow colors, from yellow and orange to bright red.
Don’t forget to visit the observation tower in the shape of a tulip flower.From there, you can see the entire park. Additionally, there is a pond with sculpted flower beds, a small stream running through the park, charming water wheels, a series of bridges, and walking paths that meander through fragrant fields. The Guesthouse Kazura is an excellent accommodation option, located just a 25-minute drive away and designed with traditional Gassho architecture, receiving high ratings.
Fuji Shibazakura Festival, Yamanashi
A carpet of moss pink flowers with Mt. Fuji in the background
With a surreal backdrop of Mt. Fuji’s snow-capped peak and stretches of vibrant moss pink fields that seem to extend to the horizon, the Fuji Shibazakura Festival is a breathtaking sight that should not be missed every spring. The event takes place in the stunning Fuji Five Lakes region, at the foot of the majestic volcano. The festival runs from April 15th to May 28th, but the ideal time to see the flowers in full bloom is typically the first three weeks of May – the perfect time to travel during Golden Week.
The festival booths sell small, lovely moss pink plants and various souvenirs related to the flower theme. You can also taste and buy some local products and specialties at the Mt. Fuji Food Festival that takes place at the same time, which honors some of the region’s delicious dishes, such as Fujinomiya yakisoba. You can also enjoy a hot spring bath and a lake view at the HotelAsafuji if you choose to stay there.
Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park, Hokkaido
Take in the panoramic view of the moss pink flowers from the hill at Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park
On the beautiful and sparsely populated island of Hokkaido, the Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park is another fantastic destination to enjoy this type of flower. Every year, in mid-May, the entire slope of this large park lights up as the hanging lantern flowers show off their colors, adorned with a pink torii gate on the hilltop. This gate is also the entrance to the Yamatsumi Shrine in the park, where the gods of the mountain are worshipped.
You can also visit the observation deck with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, a go-kart track, a campsite, and a fishing pond for Yamame Trout. If you want to relax in a luxurious setting, the Hokuten no Oka Abashiriko Tsuruga Resort is an excellent option, with an outdoor hot spring bath and just a half-hour drive from the park.
Nishiyama Park, Fukui
Nishiyama Park is one of the most beautiful places in Japan to see the azalea flowers
Located in the Fukui province on the coast of the Sea of Japan, Nishiyama Park was established in 1856 by a local lord as a placeof recreation for the people. Today, it attracts visitors from all over the world because of its stunning natural beauty, including 1,600 maple trees that turn bright red in the fall, and 1,000 cherry blossom trees that paint the area pink in the spring (typically blooming in early April).
But it’s the 50,000 blooming azalea flowers in early May that make this place a perfect destination for Golden Week vacation. Don’t miss the traditional Japanese garden with a koi fish pond, or the observation deck where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Hakusan mountain range. Finally, the highly-rated Dormy Inn Fukui Natural Hot Spring is an excellent place to stay, just a half-hour drive or train ride from the park.