- Japan's wisteria is a uniquely magical experience. Here's what you need to know about planning a visit.
The Ultimate Guide to the Wisteria Japan Gardens
Are you curious about how to travel to the wisteria Japan gardens? This article goes into detail about where you can find the two major wisteria gardens in Japan. Visiting the wisteria gardens outside of Tokyo and the tunnel is one of the most interesting travel experiences. Here, you’ll find a guide for how to get to both Ashikaga Flower Park & The Kawachi Fuji Garden Wisteria Tunnel.
What You Should Know About Wisteria Japan Gardens
So, 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 that 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 Japan gardens isn’t that hard, but it requires some planning. Only one of these gardens has an actual wisteria tunnel, and this is located in Kitakyushu.
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.
Depending on when you go in the season, the blooms always look different. I went one year and snagged some great shots at Ashikaga of my favorite tree (the first picture on top of my blog), but then I returned the next year at a different time, and the scene looked completely different.
But there’s one important rule to remember when visiting the Wisteria gardens of japan: TRY TO PLAN AROUND GOLDEN WEEK.
What is 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 not to 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.
When’s the Best Time to See Wisteria in Japan?
Japanese wisteria blooms once a year from the end of April through the middle of May.
How to Travel to Ashikaga Flower Park to See Wisteria in Japan
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.
Ashikaga is the larger of the two parks and is a lot easier to get to from Tokyo. It’s a doable day trip either by yourself or with a tour.
Traveling to Ashikaga Flower Park From Tokyo
I always use Hyperdia To Travel Japan to obtain train times. It’s the best resource, fully in English.
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 quite easy to get there.
I never take the Shinkansen, but it’s a personal preference depending on time. Your JR Pass will cover this trip since it’s on the JR line. Purchase your rail pass here. I’m a trusted partner with this company, and they offer an excellent selection of passes for a range of dates with a reliable delivery service.
Things to Know About Traveling to Ashikaga Flower Park
Park Hours, Food & Info
The cost varies but is generally around 1,000 yen
The hours are generally 9:00 am to 5:00 pm but check the times because it stays open later for certain night illuminations.
The park food is mostly all Japanese snacks such as yakisoba, etc., but don’t miss the wisteria flavored ice cream!
It’s a very large park, and you can spend HOURS here. If you’re going with 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 alone if it’s less time & it’s not enough for you. Spend the day there, bring a hat, a book, and relax in the garden and inhale the wondrous aroma of wisteria in the air.
Also, at Tomita station keep an eye out for coupons for the park.
Tour Options to Ashikaga Flower Park
If you don’t want to travel here by yourself, 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.
The Wisteria Tunnel of Kawachi Fuji Garden Kitakyushu, Japan
About Kawachi Fuji Wisteria Japan Garden
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 wisteria 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 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 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.
How to Get to Kawachi Fuji Garden
Unlike Tokyo, this place requires you to fly to Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture. Although if you have a JR Rail Pass and don’t mind the long journey, by all means, save some money and take the train!
When you arrive, your local hotel will be able to put you in 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.
The Best Time to Visit The Wisteria Tunnel at Kawachi Fuji Garden
The cost varies depending on how bloomed the Wisteria is at the moment. So if it’s full bloom, expect to pay at least 2,000 yen.
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 out. But if you want to beat out the crowd, make sure you get there really early.
There’s not really any food in the park, but if you wander around the small town, there are some cute Japanese cafes serving soba dishes, etc.
It’s rather difficult to predict the perfect time to go, but I went this year on May 2nd, and it was 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!
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The Scent of the Park is Incredible
Don't Go During Golden Week
Ashikaga Requires a Full Day