HOME Tokyo and Surroundings Chiba Chiba Suburbs Visit Chiba's Hondoji Temple: Stunning Japanese Gardens Filled With 50,000+ Hydrangeas Will Fill You With Joy!
Visit Chiba's Hondoji Temple: Stunning Japanese Gardens Filled With 50,000+ Hydrangeas Will Fill You With Joy!

Visit Chiba's Hondoji Temple: Stunning Japanese Gardens Filled With 50,000+ Hydrangeas Will Fill You With Joy!

Date published: 12 April 2020

Chiba's Hondoji Temple is a famous place for viewing Japanese hydrangeas.

Located about 40 minutes away from Tokyo in the suburb of Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture, exploring this area where more than 50,000 hydrangeas are in full bloom is one of the best things to do in Chiba. Follow along as we take you inside!

Table of Contents
  1. Hondoji Temple: Access and background
  2. Entering Hondoji, Chiba's Hydrangea Temple
  3. Hondoji is a power spot for safe transport, child treasure, and good luck!
  4. The hydrangea pattern of the original Goshuin seal book is popular!
  5. Hondoji Temple: A Chiba sightseeing attraction that's beautiful in each season
  6. Even on a rainy day in Chiba, Hondoji Temple is stunning
  7. Related Articles

Hondoji Temple: Access and background

Hondoji Temple: Access and background

Hondoji Temple is about a 10-minute walk from JR Kita-Kogane Station. You'll enjoy the quiet approach.

Together with Choeisan Honmonji Temple in Ikegami and Chokosan Myohonji Temple in Kamakura, Chokokusan Hondoji is one of the main temples of the Nichiren sect, being where the priests Nichizo and Nichirin were born. It was established in 1277.

About 10 kinds of hydrangea, such as hydrangea, gaku hydrangea, and Kashiwaba hydrangea, are usually in bloom mid to late June.

There are more than 50,000 Japanese hydrangeas on the grounds, surpassing Kamakura. Hondoji, also known as the “hydrangea temple,” is a famous spot for cherry blossoms in the spring, irises in the rainy season, and about 1,500 maples in the fall.

It is about 40 minutes from Ueno Station in Tokyo. Exit the ticket gate at Kita Kogane Station on the JR Joban Line and cross the pedestrian bridge.

It is about 40 minutes from Ueno Station in Tokyo. Exit the ticket gate at Kita-Kogane Station on the JR Joban Line and cross the pedestrian bridge.

Follow the guide and go straight along the straight road. In about 2 to 3 minutes, the stone pillars labeled "Chokosan" and "Hondoji" will appear on the left and right, and you will enter through an arch of green trees.

Entrance to the approach. You will know the entrance by the stone pillars.

Large evergreen trees such as pine and cedar stand on both sides of the approach, making it look like a green tunnel. There are shrubs of hydrangea as well, and the anticipation increases.

When I visited in April, the green was refreshing and I felt like being wrapped in the embrace of spring. If you aim for the temple at a leisurely pace, you will soon see the Niomon painted in red.

After going through the green tunnel of about 500m, you can see the Niomon
Niomon stands soaring. The contrast between the red gate and the green trees is magnificent

As you pass through the Niomon Gate, which is watched by the statue of guardian Nio, you can see a long staircase that leads to the grounds. Countless hydrangea shrubs spread to the left and right of the stairs. The grounds we'll be introducing are beyond here, but when you reach this point during the flowering season, you'll already be captivated by the beautiful blue of Japanese hydrangea.

I will go down the stairs, imagining the hydrangea blooms

Below the stairs, there is the front of the main hall where the entrance of the temple is located.

Entering Hondoji, Chiba's Hydrangea Temple

Entering Hondoji, Chiba's Hydrangea Temple
Pay the admission fee (500 yen for junior high school students or more) at the reception and go to the grounds. The admission fee is free except during the seasons of hydrangea and autumn leaves.

As the name “hydrangea temple" implies, seasonal flowers abound! Take a slow stroll through the grounds to see them all.

The grounds have a gentle slope, with the main hall in front of the entrance and the five-storied pagoda on the left. An expansive ground of approximately 1 hectare is home to Japanese hydrangeas and many other plants.

Follow the route and walk to see the highlights of the flowers.

Five-storied pagoda. One Buddha's bone is contained in it.

Around the five-storied Pagoda, colorful hydrangea and cherry blossoms are planted, making it a very popular photo spot.

As you gaze up from the bottom, seasonal flowers and trees, such as hydrangea, maple, and cherry blossoms, are visible. The five-storied pagoda is connected to the sky, and you can enjoy a stunning sight with the contrast of the plants and pagoda.

You can take a picture of the hydrangea blooming with the five-storied pagoda in the background. Find your own photogenic angle!

Next, head to the main hall. Hydrangea, azalea, maple, etc. are also planted around here, adding color to the reverence.

Around the main hall, the azaleas were very beautiful at this time in April.
There is a path behind the main hall, and many Japanese hydrangeas are planted around it.
Each one has a different color and shape, so I want to spend time on each petal.

Follow the path behind the main hall and you will see Takebayashi on your left and the Treasure Hall on your right. After this, there is a slightly lower place called Iris Pond. This area is also a photo spot where Japanese hydrangeas and irises can be seen.

Treasure Hall. Many important cultural properties of the country, such as the Bonsho (Bonsho) built in 1278 and letters handwritten by Nichiren Jonin, are contained inside

About 5,000 irises are planted in the Iris Pond. In addition to Japanese irises, different trees and hydrangeas are also planted around the pond. It seems to be a particularly popular flower spot in June. As you can walk around the pond, you can go search for good photo points and your favorite flowers.

The best time to see Japanese irises is usually about 2 weeks from early June.
If you follow the sidewalk in the center of the iris pond, you will be surrounded by irises from all directions - making it the best spot to snap a panorama.

If you want to capture both the hydrangea and the iris in the photo, you should visit by mid-June.

If you look up, you will see a flower of a mariko. It is pretty like a hydrangea.

One of the highlights of Japanese hydrangea is the area surrounding the small structure of Myorodo, which is a tad further from Iris Pond. A lot of Japanese hydrangeas are planted on both sides of the path leading to Myorodo, especially on rainy days, which makes visitors feel saturated.

Myorodo and hydrangea. Myorodo is the founder of the main temple, enshrined by the mother of Nichirou.
Peonies were quietly blooming on the day of our stroll.

Next, follow the route to “Zoushido.” The statue of Nichizo, who is the younger brother of Nichiren and the founder of the Nichiren sect in Kyoto, is enshrined at the temple.

The late-blooming double-flowered cherry blossoms also bloomed behind the temple.

In front of the statue temple, on the left-hand side was "Benten Pond," where butterfly flowers - a kind of iris - grow.

Butterfly flowers are planted around the pond. Flowering time is around the middle of April.

Benzaiten is enshrined in the center of Benten Pond, and Senrai Benten, which we will talk about later in this article, is enshrined behind the pond.

Go around Benten Pond and walk toward the entrance to the temple office. Many maple trees are planted in the area, and the autumn is beautiful when the leaves turn red. This is something you definitely want to visit in fall.

There is also a wisteria trellis beside Benten Pond. The best time to see it is around early to mid April.
There is a Christmas rose at the base of the hydrangea near the temple office.

Hondoji is a power spot for safe transport, child treasure, and good luck!

Hondoji is a power spot for safe transport, child treasure, and good luck!
Historic spots dot the grounds.

We introduced mainly the highlights of flowers, but this area it is also held to be a power spot for easy delivery and child-rearing. There are also historical spots to visit. Let's take a look at the places you want to visit, not only during the hydrangea season but also in seasons when other flowers bloom.

Akiyama's grave. Many history enthusiasts visit this location.

Tombs of Akiyama
Here is a spot related to the Tokugawa family that people who know history know and love. This is the grave of Ms. Akiyama, who was a concubine of Ieyasu Tokugawa. The daughter of the Kai Takeda clan, Torayasu Akiyama, and a woman born to Ieyasu's fifth child, Shinkichi Takeda. It is said that this tombstone was erected by Nobuyoshi's nephew, Mitsukuni Mito, in 1684.

Pine trees, which are said to have been contributed by Mitsukuni, are also planted on the approach to which you have just passed on the way here.

Jizo-do was built about 750 years ago to worship the Jizo-sama who had flowed into the swamp. It is very rare that Jizodo is a temple of the Nichiren sect

Jizodo
A prayer spot, also known as "Jizo Jizo." It is said that a wish can be fulfilled by contributing a small jizo statue (600 yen) with a request.

Put money in the furnishings and wash it. I wished for good luck.

Zeniarai Benten
Kamakura is famous for its Zeniarai Benten, but this temple is also secretly popular as a spot for praying for money. It seems that some people come to visit this purpose.

The well where the “Milk of Reizu” springs is on a hill looking into Iris Pond. We also recommend looking at the irises from this place.

“The Revolution of Milk”
It is said a spring gushing out when a statue of Nikki, who was the younger brother of Nikuro, and who was praised as the second Nichiren, was born here and used it as a hot spring.

After drinking the water later, the illness was cured, and the miraculous benefit that milking immediately became better was the end of the prayer line. Today, it is a popular power spot that is said to benefit children, safe birth, and marriage.

The water is not springing now, but it is said that there is still a benefit if you can reach the well.
There are many people who visit the temple to pray for giving children, giving birth, giving birth, and giving birth.

There are many other tombs such as Nichiren, Nichiro, and other statues at the main temple. I think it's interesting to go around.

The hydrangea pattern of the original Goshuin seal book is popular!

The hydrangea pattern of the original Goshuin seal book is popular!
An original Goshuin book. The hydrangea pattern on the left is the most popular (1,000 yen each)

Hondoji has an original Goshuin temple seal book, and the hydrangea pattern seems to be very popular.

Hondoji Temple: A Chiba sightseeing attraction that's beautiful in each season

Hondoji Temple: A Chiba sightseeing attraction that's beautiful in each season
Weeping cherry blossoms in the grounds. A breathtaking beauty with a five-storied pagoda in the background. The best time to visit is around late March to early April

One of the main attractions of Hondoji is that during the rainy season, you will be greeted with cherry blossoms in spring, autumn leaves in autumn and seasonal views. About 100 cherry trees such as weeping cherry trees, Yoshino cherry trees, and double-flowered cherry trees are planted on the grounds of the temple.

It can be very difficult to distinguish the type of maple even in the shape of the leaves, but you can enjoy the subtle color difference during the autumn leaves

There are three types of maple: mountain maple, Ozakazuki, and Akiyama Beni. Each leaf has a slightly different color palette that gives depth to the scenery.

View of courtyard from tea room. The view from the round window is like a painting

In particular, the view of the courtyard from the tea room used during a meeting is superb. If it is not crowded, it is possible to view from inside.

The autumn leaves around the five-storied pagoda are spectacular. The best time to visit is from late November to early December.

Even on a rainy day in Chiba, Hondoji Temple is stunning

Even on a rainy day in Chiba, Hondoji Temple is stunning

Hondoji Temple is usually visited by many people during the hydrangea and iris seasons around June. If you want to go around slowly, it is recommended that you go on a rainy weekday. The wet hydrangea has a beautiful contrast with fresh green and colors the rainy season sky vividly.

Kamakura is a good spot that's also known for its hydrangea temples, but Hondoji Temple is a must-visit spot for those who want to get to the hidden sights of those who are away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

* Photos of hydrangea, irises, cherry blossoms, and autumn leaves are from 2017 or earlier.

  • Chokokusan Hondoji
    日蓮宗総本山 長谷山本土寺
    • Address 63 Hiraga, Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture
    • Phone Number 047-346-2121
    • Admission time: 8:00am - 5:00pm (Reception - 4:30pm)
      (June 8:30am – 5:00pm)
      No regular holiday
      Admission fee: 500 yen for junior high school students and above (free for elementary school students and under)
      * There is a free worship period throughout the year.

Written by Miki Hirama

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*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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