You can’t beat a more beautiful experience than sitting down under a blooming cherry blossom tree and having something to eat and drink with friends, or just to sit there and admire all of the beautiful trees. It is also a wonderful time of the year, when the cherry blossoms arrive it heralds the beginning of spring which means the days will get warmer and the landscape will be transformed into one of green and other colors. There is no doubt that Japan is famous for sakura cherry blossoms, along with the whole concept of hanami (having a picnic and seeing cherry blossoms), so many tourists try to visit Japan to see them – however there are other beautiful flowers in Japan, and they blossom at different times.
Flowers have a lot of meaning in this lovely country, ikebana or flower arranging is one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement while rather surprisingly Japan has a long history in tattooing, and Japanese flowers are a popular tattoo. Clearly, there is something quite special and beautiful about Japanese flowers. It is perhaps an indicator of how deep flowering plants have penetrated into the culture that visitors to Japan will try to visit a traditional Japanese garden, perhaps go to a flower park or festival, eat a sakura flavored KitKat or other sweet, and even a sakura flavored sake. Now that you know how important flowers are in Japan you must be intrigued to know which flowers you can see in which season, but never fear we have gathered all the information we could so that you can know exactly when which flowers are blooming!
Plum season in Japan: Late February - Early March
The first blossoming flower of spring is not actually cherry blossoms, but ume (plum)! So when Japanese plum trees start to flower it is a large announcement that spring has arrived, and in many areas of Japan there are ume festivals where local people admire the flowers. Normally occurring in February and March, a couple of locations for seeing ume blossoms is Kairakuen (Ibaraki Prefecture - Mito Station, JR Joban Line),Yushima Tenjin Shrine (Tokyo – Yushima Station) and Atami Plum Garden (Atami - JR Kinomiya Station).
Sakura cherry blossoms
Sakura season in Japan: Mid-Late March
Any list of Japanese flowers wouldn’t be complete without mentioning sakura cherry blossoms! This flowering tree has become so famous that the news reports on the blossom forecast across Japan, and people across the whole country find time to go enjoy hanami. There are beautiful locations everywhere, but two good spots include Shinjuku Gyoen and Yoyogi Park – however hanami is very popular so it will be busy!
Wisteria season in Japan: Late April - Early May
Wisteria plants produce a tress of flowers up to 50cm long and with upwards of 100 flowers on just one tress. Normally a pale blue color, the Japanese wisteria is enjoyed by gardeners around the world, and in Japan you can find really stunning displays of wisteria. Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture is perhaps one of the best displays, and is around 90 minutes from Tokyo, but you can also see a smaller display at Kameido-tenjin Shrine near Kinshicho Station.
Ashikaga Flower Parkあしかがフラワーパーク
- Address 607 Hasama-cho, Ashikaga-shi, Tochigi 329-4216, Japan
- Phone Number 0284-91-4939
Hours: 10AM - 9PM
Tulip season in Japan: Late April - Early May
Beautiful tulip fields are normally associated with the Netherlands, but in Japan too you can see some really special tulip vistas. As a romantic flower it is certainly one to take a date to see! Tonami Tulip Park in Toyama Prefecture is perhaps the most famous place in Japan to see tulips as there are two million of them! However, as it is around 8 hours from Tokyo, if you want somewhere closer to Tokyo then get the JR TOKYO Wide Pass and go to Sakura Furusato Hiroba in Chiba Prefecture.
Sakura Furusato Hiroba佐倉ふるさと広場
- Address 2714, Usuita, Sakura-shi, Chiba 285-0861, Japan
- Phone Number 043-486-6000
Canola season in Japan: Mid March - Early April
March is the best time for seeing rapeseed blossom, a flowering plant which has a long history in Japan – it is mentioned as a food source over two thousand years ago, and it is perhaps the oil from rapeseed that lit up Edo (Tokyo) not too long ago! It is normally in full bloom by the end of March.
One of the more famous places to see it is the Rape Blossom Festival in Yokohama – unfortunately this isn’t Yokohama near Tokyo but Yokohama Town in Aomori Prefecture! A rather surprising place to see a yellow carpet of rape blossoms in Tokyo is near Shimbashi Station, in Hamarikyu Gardens, where tens of thousands of plants can be seen.
Season in Japan: April - May
Creeping Phlox blooms from April to May, and provides a really lovely vista of pink! Native to America, this plant grows close to the ground and can be seen in
Hitsujiyama Park in Saitama Prefecture, or alternatively for a really iconic photo try going to Fuji Shibazakura Festival where 800,000 creeping phlox plants bloom with Mt. Fuji in the background.
Nemophila season in Japan: April - May
This is another low growing plant which blooms from April to May, the color of which is associated with baby blue – which turns whole fields blue! These can be seen in Showa Memorial Park in Tokyo (Tachikawa Station), or for the awesome sight of over 4 million blooming nemophila flowers check out Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture (2 hours from Ueno Station).
Iris season in Japan: May-July
The iris plant was introduced to Japan centuries ago, and since then this delicate flower has bloomed every summer to create a very charming vista. They can be seen from May to July, but in Tokyo you can catch the Katsushika Shobu Matsuri, or Iris Festival, in Horikiri Shobuen (Horikirishobuen Station).
Lotus season in Japan: Mid-July - Mid-August
Lotus are an exceptionally gorgeous and fragrant flower, with petals of pink, red or white. A symbol of enlightenment, lotus can be found in summer at many ponds near temples and shrines. Some famous places for lotus include Ueno Park in Tokyo (Shinobazu Pond), where they are particularly plentiful; in Kamakura, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine is quite popular for the flower; while in Yokohama, Sankei-en Garden has a lovely lotus patch.
Sunflower season in Japan: July-August
From July to August the world famous sunflower blooms, these tall plants with large yellow flowers are so popular that sunflower festivals are held. But, who can blame people – a field of sunflowers is really pretty! Some recommended locations include Akeno Himawari Batake (Akeno Sunflower Field), Yamanashi Prefecture, Kiyose Sunflower Festival in Tokyo (Kiyose Station), and at Sakura Furusato Hiroba in Chiba Prefecture.
Rose season in Japan: Early-Mid May
The rose plant found itself in Japan fairly recently, it was introduced by Europeans, as such many rose bushes today are descended from European rose plants, and bloom through summer into autumn. They are fairly easy to find wherever you go, but check out the 500 different varieties of rose plants in Hibiya Park, Tokyo (Hibiya Station) or the French Garden in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
Hydrangea season in Japan: Mid June - Mid July
This plant is associated with the rainy season in Japan, so if you see it then it might be raining, or about to rain. The best time to see them is from mid-June to mid-July, there are a number of varieties of this plant, native to Japan, but one in particular is noteworthy as its leaves are brewed to make a sweet tea (Hydrangea serrata). Hydrangea festivals are normally held during June and July, while Hakusan Jinja Shrine or Asukayama Park in Tokyo are good places to see a lovely display of hydrangeas. Alternatively, head down to Hase Temple in Kamakura to catch a beautiful display of over 30 types of hydrangea.
Lavender season in Japan: Early July - Early August
Lavender fields are simply gorgeous in Japan, and are famous for rivaling France in beautiful and scale. They bloom from early July to early August, and are particularly famous in Hokkaido where you can see vast lavender fields, such as at Nakafurano. For people in Tokyo, Hokkaido is a bit far, but not too far away you can find lavender fields in Tambara Lavender Park, Gunma Prefecture and Lake Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture.
Cosmos season in Japan: Late August - Early October
Just as we can think of plum and cherry blossoms heralding the start of spring, so do the multicolored cosmos flowers indicate the start of autumn. They appear across Japan as they are relatively easy to grow and come in different colors; one field may appear like gold while another pink. You are also spoilt for choice in seeing these, cosmos flowers can be seen near Mt. Fuji at Hana no Miyako Koen (Lake Yamanaka), Sakura Furusato Hiroba in Chiba Prefecture and Showa Memorial Park in Tokyo (Tachikawa Station). They may be seen at Kurihama Flower World (Kurihama Station) south of Tokyo.
Kurihama Flower Parkくりはま花の国
- Address 1 Shinmei-cho, Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa, 239-0832, Japan
- Phone Number 046-833-8282
Spider lily season in Japan: Late September - Early October
As the name might indicate, this flower does look a bit like a big spider – but don’t worry it won’t bite. It is an unusual, but pretty flower, and it is a welcome sight to see in autumn. Just an hour away from Tokyo you can see over a million of them at the spider lily festival held in Kinchakuda Park, Saitama Prefecture (Koma Station).
Chrysanthemum season in Japan: September - Mid November
The Chrysanthemum flower is beautiful, so beautiful in fact that people love to get Japanese flower tattoos of this flower. This special flower is also the Imperial Family Emblem, and is also frequently used for government or shrine seals; it is in fact on the front of the Japanese passport too! It normally starts blooming in September; one good location to see them is Shinjuku Gyoen Kikkadan-ten.
This isn’t a flower, but during the autumn visitors to Japan are given a real treat as the leaves turn different shades of red and yellow, it creates a really beautiful sight. They can be seen in cities and the countryside, basically anywhere there are trees!
Peony season in Japan: Late November - Mid February
Winter is not really the time of year when we would even dream of seeing blooming flowers, but even in the depths of winter you can be surprised by the sight of large colorful flowers. Winter peonies bloom from November to January, and in areas where snow is expected they are often protected with straw covers. Check out Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo (Shimbashi Station) or Toshogu Shrine in Ueno Park (Ueno Station) to catch the surprising sight of beautiful flowers in winter!
9-88, Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
Ueno Station （Hokkaido Shinkansen Line / Tohoku Shinkansen Line / Akita Shinkansen Line / Yamagata Shinkansen Line / Joetsu Shinkansen Line / Hokuriku Shinkansen Line / JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Tohoku Main Line / JR Utsunomiya Line / JR Takasaki Line / JR Joban Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line）
5 minutes on foot
- Phone Number 03-3822-3455
- Address 9-88, Uenokouen, Taitou-ku, Tokyo, 110-0007
Daffodil season in Japan: December - January
From December to January you might also catch a glimpse of flowering daffodil plants! In Jogashima Park, about an hour south of Tokyo, there are half a million of these plants blooming in the middle of winter.
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