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wisteria tunnelsThe Ultimate Guide to The Wisteria Tunnels of Japan

Click Here to Book A Tour to Ashikaga Flower Park

You may have seen photographs of that gorgeous garden of Wisteria or the Wisteria tunnels of Japan and wondered if this place exists on earth or not. The first time I ever saw a picture of these gardens, I gasped and exclaimed “I HAVE to go there!” Lucky for me, both of these places happen to be in Japan.

Just to be clear, there are TWO main different Wisteria garden parks in Japan, not one. It seems half the pictures I come across cite the wrong garden or assume there’s just one garden of Wisteria. So here’s a peek into both Ashikaga Flower Park & Kawachi Fuji Gardens. 

Traveling to both of these Wisteria gardens in Japan isn’t that hard, but it definitely requires some planning. However, only one of these has a wisteria tunnel.

Viewing Wisteria is one of my favorite things to do in Japan. Walking through these parks, one thing these photographs cannot capture is the incredibly beautiful smell of the garden. The scent is unreal.

In Japanese, Wisteria is actually called Fuji (藤) so you’ll hear this word used more often than Wisteria. Of course, these two places above are by no means the only spots to view Wisteria-trellis in Japan, but they are the most popular and the largest spots that I’ve found. The tree in the first picture is over 100 years old!

Depending on when you go in the season, the blooms always look different. I went in 2013 and snagged some great shots at Ashikaga of my favorite tree (the first picture on top of my blog), but then I returned this year at a different time and the scene looked completely different!! But there’s one important rule to remember when visiting these Wisteria parks: DON’T GO DURING GOLDEN WEEK!  

Golden Week (GW) is a Japanese holiday where essentially the ENTIRE country of Japan goes on holiday to popular spots around the country. As a general rule, it’s wise to not plan any vacation in Japan during GW. If you think Japan ordinarily has a lot of people, wait until you see it during Golden Week!! But Golden Week runs through Wisteria blooming season, so just make sure you plan your trip around this most popular Japanese holiday.

Trust me, it’s a lot more fun to enjoy the park when there are fewer people. The dates for GW range between the end of April and early May. Be sure to check on it each year.

Book a Tour From Tokyo To View the Wisteria

Viator offers a tour here that takes you to both Ashikaga Flower Park and to view the magical Hitachi Seaside Park. This is an awesome tour for people who want to maximize their trip, who love gardens, but are a little unsure about how to best get around Japan. The tour departs from Shinjuku and lunch is included!

Ashikaga Flower Park Tochigi, Japan

Ashikaga Flower Park

Ashikaga is the larger of the two parks and is a lot easier to get to from Tokyo. I ALWAYS use Hyperdia To Travel Japan to obtain train times. It’s the best resource, fully in English.

Time to Go
Wisteria blooms once a year from the end of April though the middle of May.The first year, I went during the last week of April on April 26th (a few days before GW) and it was a bit under-bloomed, but it was still beautiful. I went this year on May 7th and I think there was more green. They were both nice times.

Cost

Varies on the season but it’s around 1,000 yen.

Hours
 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Though during Wisteria season, they often keep the park open after 5:00 PM for a night-time viewing on certain nights.

Getting To Ashikaga Flower Park
 Use Hyperdia to input your designation to TOMITA STATION, depending on where you are leaving from. Without taking the Shinkansen, the trip is about 2 hours long. You will take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line or JR Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Oyama and then transfer to the JR Ryomo Line to Tomita Station. Get off at Tomita Station and walk about 15 minutes to the park. You can’t miss it (or just follow where everyone else is going). It was really quite easy to get there. I never take the Shinkansen, but it’s a personal preference depending on time.

Or you can skip the train and book a day tour here from Tokyo.

Food
 There’s plenty of food in the park, but it’s mostly all Japanese-style foods such as soba, yakitori, etc. But don’t miss out on the Wisteria flavored ice-cream!!

Tips
 It’s a very large park, you can spend HOURS here!! If you’re going on a tour group, make sure they spend at LEAST 2 hours at this park, preferably more if you’re into photography. It’s probably better to go yourself if it’s less time. Heck spend the day there, bring a hat, a book, and relax in the garden! Also, at Tomita station keep an eye out for coupons for the park.

Wisteria Tunnels of JapanWisteria Tunnels of JapanAshikaga Flower ParkWisteria Tunnels of Japan Wisteria Tunnels of Japan Wisteria Tunnels of Japan Wisteria Tunnels of Japan

The Wisteria Tunnel of Kawachi Fuji Garden Kitakyushu

Kawachi Fuji Garden

Tips to Remember

Kawachi Fuji Garden is in Kitakyushu but the locals there really don’t like to advertise this place. It was pretty hard myself to find information about when to go and apparently it’s for this reason. Kawachi is a smaller garden unlike Ashikaga, but it’s still impressive. However it’s mainly known for having the tunnel of Wisteria that’s ever so popular. The tunnel itself was really quite impressive and even longer than I ever thought it would be. And yes, the scent was like a fairytale. But here’s one thing. Everyone has seen that perfect picture of the tunnel without a single human being. But when you get there, it’s actually covered with people!! I made the huge mistake of not going early enough. If I had to do it over, I would have arrived around 7:30 or some time way before the park even opens. That way you’ll beat out the crowd for photographs.

Getting To The Wisteria Tunnel at Kawachi Fuji Garden 
Unlike Tokyo, this place requires you to fly to Kitakyushu. Although if you have a JR rail pass and don’t mind the longer journey, by all means save some money!! Your local hotel will be able to put you into a taxi that will take you right there. It’s a bit out of the way into the mountain-side but it only took about 30 minutes from Kokura.

Time to Go
It’s rather difficult to predict the perfect time to go but I went this year on May 2nd and it was actually too early. I think they said it was about 40% bloomed! I was a little saddened by this but as you can see, it’s a bit hard to tell because it’s still obviously very beautiful. But if you wait to go later in May, I’ve heard that the line to get into the park will be down the street. By all means, get there super early!!!

Cost
The cost varies depending on how bloomed the Wisteria is. So if you go at full bloom, expect to pay around 2,000 yen.

Hours 
The park hours are from around 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, but that can change. It’s best to ask your hotel concierge to confirm this for you before you head to the park. But if you want to beat out the crowd, again get there early!!!

Food 
Actually, there’s not any food in the park but if you wander around the small town you’re bound to come across some local cafes like the one I stopped at.

Wisteria Tunnels of JapanWisteria Tunnels of JapanWisteria Tunnels of JapanKawachi Fuji Garden Wisteria Tunnels of Japan Wisteria Tunnels of Japan Wisteria Tunnels of Japan Wisteria Tunnels of JapanWisteria Tunnels of JapanAfter a morning at the park, we walked around and found this soba noodle house down the street and had a nice hot bowl of soba. So refreshing!! I really love Japanese-styled cafes. You almost feel like you’re at grandma’s house because they have such a traditional feel.

Soba CafeGreat Soba Noodles

Enjoyed the Wisteria Tunnels of Japan? Let me know or give it a share!

P.S. Are we friends on Instagram? Find me @thepassportlifestyle and on Pinterest too! (see my sidebar)

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34 Comments

  1. Nadiya
    April 3, 2016 at 2:02 pm — Reply

    your pictures are amazing! and I love your post! One question, I might be going to wisteria and straight to Tokyo which means I will bring my baggage, is there a place where I can put my luggage there while I take a walk to Wisteria?

    • April 3, 2016 at 4:52 pm — Reply

      Thanks! Sounds fun. In Tokyo, most of the train stations and for sure the larger stations all have coin lockers you can use to store your baggage for a day. If you are just going to see the Wisteria for a day trip then go back, this could be an option. The train station for Ashikaga is a lot smaller so I’m not sure they have coin lockers there, but they may have them at Ashikaga. I would try contacting the park if you want to bring your bags with you. It’s a really small town and about a 15 min walk to the park so I don’t recommend taking your luggage to the park area if it’s super heavy. I think if they have coin lockers, they’ll be the smaller ones. At the larger train stations in Tokyo like Shinjuku, you can find larger coin lockers to store full-sized suitcases. Hope this helps!
      Stephanie recently posted…Cherry Blossom Season Japan: When Should You Visit?My Profile

      • Rohini
        April 24, 2016 at 11:59 am — Reply

        Hi Stephanie,

        Loved you detaile write up. I’ll be in Tokyo on 4th May and want to visit Ashikaga Flower Park on 6th May. Judging from the translations of whats been posted on their website, some wisteria are already in peak bloom. I don’t know the blooming duration of the wisteria. Will it be too late to visit? How long is the normal “best viewing period”. Please let me know

        Thanks heaps!

        • April 24, 2016 at 9:26 pm — Reply

          Hi Rohini! Sorry, I can’t tell you exactly about the viewing period this year because I haven’t been, but I did visit last year around May 7th and it was still nice. There was a bit more green but obviously it was still beautiful. I think the viewing period stretches from the end of April to the first week of May. You can search hashtags on Instagram for Ashikaga Flower Park, etc because people will post pictures daily from the park and you can actually see what the blooms look like. Maybe you can contact someone on Instagram who recently went and they’ll be able to inform you more. Hope this helps!
          Stephanie recently posted…How to Be A Better Photographer?My Profile

          • Rohini
            April 25, 2016 at 1:40 am

            Thanks Stephanie. Will check :)

  2. Maha
    March 22, 2016 at 5:17 am — Reply

    Hi thank you so much for the blog it’s very informative. We have actually booked holidays to see japan in august due to school. Does it worth visiting these beautiful parks in august??

    • March 26, 2016 at 1:57 am — Reply

      I haven’t been in August so I’m not sure as I’ve only viewed the Wisteria in April. Perhaps you can look on the park’s website and see if they have a calendar of blooms around the year. Good luck!
      Stephanie recently posted…On Getting Away & Disconnecting in YosemiteMy Profile

  3. March 4, 2016 at 11:52 pm — Reply

    Hi Stephanie,

    So I stumbled upon your blog today and saw this amazing article. I’ve been looking at Ashikaga Flower Park for a while now, however I am still undecided if I should make a trip there during my visit to Tokyo in end May (26 – 31 May). I wonder would you have any advice for me? Will the flower park be equally beautiful during this late of Spring? Also, I wonder do you have a rough cost for the journey to and back (from Tokyo)?

    • March 7, 2016 at 10:28 am — Reply

      Hi Paige,

      Thank you, I’m happy to hear you’ve found my blog and you are heading to Japan! As far as the Park, I know that the end of May is typically the end of Wisteria blooming season, however I can’t tell you what other flowers are there. One thing you can do is perhaps search Instagram tags around the end of April and through May, that way you can see regular pictures posted of the park to get an idea of what it currently looks like. Maybe contact someone on IG to ask if it’s past bloom, etc? It’s hard to predict blooming in Spring. If you decide to go, I’d suggest definitely going as early as possible in your trip for best chances to catch it.

      If you’re planning on doing a lot of traveling around the country you should think about getting a JR Pass before your trip. It only covers the JR line, which includes the Shinkansen. See my article on using Hyperdia http://www.thepassportlifestyle.com/hyperdia-train-times-japan/. If you plug in Tokyo to Tomita Station it will give you times and prices. Hope this helps!
      Stephanie recently posted…22 Badass Jobs That Involve TravelMy Profile

  4. Evelyn
    February 18, 2016 at 8:55 pm — Reply

    Hi Stephanie, love reading your blog post here. Do you think if I go on 17th May, the bloom is still there?

    • February 20, 2016 at 2:12 pm — Reply

      Hi Evelyn, that may be the end of its bloom but it depends on when the Wisteria starts. If it’s a later start to the spring then maybe! But if it blooms super early you may be too late. It’s hard to tell! Hope this helps!

  5. January 1, 2016 at 1:19 am — Reply

    Gorgeous! What a remarkable recommendation. I adore your blog posts and your travels. You’re a huge inspiration! Happy new year!
    Avery recently posted…The Food in VietnamMy Profile

  6. June 30, 2015 at 5:49 am — Reply

    A new travel blog for me to follow! Thanks for the information.

  7. Gift
    April 16, 2015 at 11:02 am — Reply

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thank you for a useful article here <3
    May I ask, I have a plan to visit Kyushu during 28th May – 2 June, is it too late to visit the Kawachi Fuji Garden?
    Due to the info I have found, recommend to visit it at early of May, but there are no further info for other time.
    Thank you!

    • April 16, 2015 at 11:33 pm — Reply

      Hi, honestly, it starts at the end of April and peaks in the beginning to middle of May. Towards the end of May and beginning of June, I’m afraid that may be too late. Like Sakura, here one week, gone the next….You’re welcome to always try though!

  8. Mèo Mkk
    April 15, 2015 at 11:56 am — Reply

    May I ask is it the good time to visit during summer ? ( like mid July and August) because that’s the only time I could travel to Japan TT___TT I have save so much money :( I googled it but there seem to be no answer, can you help me please?

    • April 15, 2015 at 6:37 pm — Reply

      Hi Meo, as mentioned in my article regarding the time to visit, the Wisteria peaks at the end of April early May. July and August unfortunately are too late!

  9. Ruby
    April 13, 2015 at 1:23 pm — Reply

    Hi Stepahnie.. M planning to visit Kawachi Gdns to see the amazing wisterias on the 28th April. Is there any way we can check/ enquire abt the blooms? I’ll be using making a day trip from Kyoto by train & it’s a rather long way so I’m hoping to c them in almost full bloom!!
    Tq

    • April 14, 2015 at 9:15 pm — Reply

      Hi Ruby, I’m actually not sure how you can inquire about the blooms, I never did and I don’t see a phone number for the park. But I went at around 35% bloomed and it was still very beautiful. I imagine a tour office in Japan will be able to help you. Or perhaps phoning or emailing a hotel in Kita Kyushu can assist you better with this information!

  10. Raquel
    April 7, 2015 at 10:10 am — Reply

    This is beautiful, awesome ! My next dream trip….maybe in 2016! I will have to shop around a travel agent who does group tour package covering this wisteria park. If you know of one or two, do share. Thanks and congratulations for this beautiful photos.

    • April 8, 2015 at 10:44 am — Reply

      Thank you!! I hope you can make it! Actually sometimes it’s better to go by yourself to these parks because groups may not stick around as long as you want. That happened to me my first year!

  11. Tim
    April 6, 2015 at 3:10 pm — Reply

    I LOVE your blog. I’m glad I found it

  12. Shuu Ying
    March 5, 2015 at 6:04 pm — Reply

    Wow! This is a great blog entry about the wisteria parks. I’ve been to the Ashikaga once. It’s just amazing. :) and your photos are awesome. And you are right about the GW crowd. It’s almost impossible to take a picture without anyone else photo-bombing it! Haha 😛

    And, the next time you visit Japan, do check out our website en.trippiece.com. We want people to see more of the authentic, local and off-the-grid Japan! :) Great way to experience the real Japan!

    • March 6, 2015 at 11:12 am — Reply

      Thank you! I love Ashikaga, it’s the best. I do live in Japan, I will check out your site :).

      • Shuu Ying
        March 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm — Reply

        Thank you! ^_^

  13. Nic
    February 24, 2015 at 5:16 pm — Reply

    This is really really helpful blog, thanks so much! I will report back once I’m back from Japan :)

    • March 6, 2015 at 11:11 am — Reply

      Thank you! Hope you enjoy :).

  14. billygoatsarah
    January 22, 2015 at 1:08 pm — Reply

    Thank you so much for posting this, this was the best guide I’ve seen for the wisterias so far. We are going this April for most of the month. If we had to chose only one wisteria park to go to, which one would you recommend? (We have limited time, since we are visiting Japan to go to a wedding.) Thanks again!

    • January 23, 2015 at 11:18 pm — Reply

      You’re welcome! As far as choosing a park to go to, honestly that kinda depends on where you are going to be staying in Japan. The Ashikaga Flower Park is an easy day trip from Tokyo, but the wisteria tunnel in Kawachi Fuji Gardens is in Kyushu so you’ll need to probably fly there. If you have a rail pass, them that can work too although it will be a longer journey and will cost more. It’s not particularly easy to get to from Tokyo. :) Both parks are great in their own way. If you go to Kawachi Fuji Garden then you’ll have to try to time it depending on the bloom. That said, when it’s at full bloom I heard that there’s a lot of people and can get overly crowded. The park is A LOT smaller than Ashikaga. The tunnel is really pretty but if there’s going to be a lot of people then it affects the experience. I went at around 50% bloom and it was still nice. If you’re going to be staying in Tokyo though, I’d recommend visiting Ashikaga. It’s just a lot bigger and closer.

  15. September 28, 2014 at 9:41 am — Reply

    Wow there are some beautiful photos on here! We can’t wait to get to Japan. We’ll have to make the Wisteria tunnels on top of our list!

    • September 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm — Reply

      Thanks! It’s a very beautiful sight. :)

  16. August 26, 2014 at 9:40 pm — Reply

    Thank you! So happy you enjoyed them :). Japan is really great during fall too with all the colors, but Wisteria blooming is pretty awesome. Cherry blossoms bloom a couple of weeks before Wisteria does but sometimes you can get lucky and still get to see some blossoms at the end of April. Love your style btw!

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