The Ultimate Travel Guide For The Wisteria Japan Gardens
- 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
Thanks for this post on the wisteria gardens. I’ve been wanting to see the cherry blossoms for so long but every trip to Japan has been at the wrong time. But I’m going to have a day free during a trip in the first week of May, which looks like it will be right in the middle of the wisteria flowering, so at least I will be see those. The cherry blossoms will have to remain on my bucket list for the time being. Yes, I know the first week of May is the Golden Week, but not much I can do about that.
The information on the train travel was very helpful, but when I looked up the timetable from Yokohama (from where I will depart) to Tomita Station, I see there are only 3-4 minutes between trains at the two transfers. So how do you buy tickets for each journey when time is so short? Are there ticket machines on the platforms for each line or can you buy a through ticket at the departing station. Sorry for my ignorance on that point but all my travel in Japan to date has been by car or bus. I tried looking for the answer on the web but not had much luck. And it seems that you can’t buy through rail tickets online for travel in Japan like you can in Europe.
Found this info very helpful for my trip to Tokyo in a couple weeks. I hope it’s the right time to hit the wisteria! Seems like it will be. The train info was VERY helpful! Thank you!
Lovely photos! 🙂 i stumbled upon your blog when i searched about Wisteria season in Japan. Me and my small family (one 2yrs old and one 12years old) are suppose to travel to japan end of March til April first week, but we had to rebook our flights for some reason. I was really looking forward to see the Cherry Blossoms, but i dont think we woul see much if i rebook it around the second week of April. So i was hoping to see the Wisteria tunnels instead of the Cherry blossom. When do you think is the best time to book our flight for Wisteria blooms? 🙂
Sending love all the way from the Philippines 🙂
Hi, i’m from jakarta, find your blog, and really helpfull to make my itinerary. ?
It said there’s lighting at night in park. If i finish alpine route, then stay night @ hotel near ashikaga area, is the train still operate after we sightseeing in the park ? And is there any resto in ashikaga flower park ? Thank you so much
Hi, yes there are some night illuminations of Wisteria. I’m not sure about the train times, but check out http://www.hyperdia.com to look up times! Hope this help!
Hi Stepahnie.. Thank u so much for posting d information so precisely.We r planning to visit Japan in 2017 and it’s going to be a group tour as i m not confident of going alone.Now i m in double mind as there r two tours,one is Cherry Blossom ( end of March-beginning of April) and another is Alpine route Ashikaga ( First -second week of May). I know it’s absolutely foolish on my part to ask which one to choose since both r going to be awesome and i m crazy about d flowers n in general Nature.Since i can’t afford both d tours due to financial constraints,i have to fix on one.In India,we have these golden colour Laburnums like these Ashikaga (Fuji) flowers and I go mad when i see them in full bloom.Stepahnie,pl.help me to make choice – Cherry blossom or Ashikaga ? Is it that I’ll be seeing more varieties of flowers in Ashikaga Park? Waiting for ur advice as i have to do d bookings.
Sorry you are torn on which flower to see! To be honest, that’s a very difficult situation. I mean, the Cherry Blossoms in Japan are THE thing to see. There’s a huge culture built around Sakura season so in a way, I’d recommend experiencing this. Also, with cherry blossoms, there are TONS of places to see them bloom all over Japan. Many different parks all over the city host cherry blossoms. As far as the Wisteria goes, you can ONLY see it at Ashikaga. SO you’ll probably just be going to Ashikaga. Ashikaga is a BEAUTIFUL garden. BUT, there are MANY beautiful gardens all over Japan to see Cherry Blossoms.
One thing I mentioned in my blog post is to be aware of GOLDEN WEEK. This is a national holiday when EVERYONE in Japan is on holiday which means everyone will be at the gardens. If you think Japan is normally crowded, this is just crazy! I would try to avoid going to Japan during Golden Week as it’s just more frustrating getting around.
http://www.officeholidays.com/countries/japan/2017.php This website seems to show Golden Week may fall on the Alpine route. You may want to double check your dates with Golden Week.
But, also keep in mind that it’s not always possible to predict when the Cherry Blossoms will bloom and peak but it seems your tour at the end of March beginning of April should be a good bet. If your Alpine Route is smack in the middle of Golden Week, I’d personally recommend going earlier to avoid the crowds and seeing the Cherry Blossom! Hope this helps!
Thanks a lot for ur prompt reply.I think I should opt for Cherry blossom rather than Ashikaga (although I m saying this with heavy heart.).
As long you know Golden Week might affect your trip in some ways! But if Ashikaga is really so important to you then perhaps you should go. You just might need to make sure you stay long enough at Ashikaga or go early enough to beat the crowds.
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?
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!
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
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!
Thanks Stephanie. Will check 🙂
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??
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!
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)?
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 https://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!
Hi Stephanie, love reading your blog post here. Do you think if I go on 17th May, the bloom is still there?
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!
Gorgeous! What a remarkable recommendation. I adore your blog posts and your travels. You’re a huge inspiration! Happy new year!
Thank you! Happy near year!
A new travel blog for me to follow! Thanks for the information.
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.
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!
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?
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!
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!!
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!
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.
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!
I LOVE your blog. I’m glad I found it
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 😛
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Thank you! I love Ashikaga, it’s the best. I do live in Japan, I will check out your site :).
Thank you! ^_^
This is really really helpful blog, thanks so much! I will report back once I’m back from Japan 🙂
Thank you! Hope you enjoy :).
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!
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.
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!
Thanks! It’s a very beautiful sight. 🙂
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!