Over Golden Week, I had the chance to go to two flower festivals that were occurring simultaneously right outside of Tokyo. Both had a unique assortment of flowers and a bustling atmosphere of food vendors, stage performances, and visitors to the nearby shrines. Though festivals occur almost weekly in Tokyo, I highly recommend stopping by these two as the flowers are in bloom for only a limited time. I was lucky that I was able to catch them before the season was over!
Bunkyo Azalea Festival
The Bunkyo Azalea Festival occurs at Nezu Shrine right near by the famous Ueno Park right outside of Tokyo. Many festivals are held here yearly, but in my opinion, this is the most beautiful time to go! Vivid azaleas occupy the lush scenery of the shrine making it a popular wedding spot and also a wonderful place to get lost among the beautiful shades of pink, indigo, red, and white. Being surrounded by so many bright colors along with the ancient torii made me feel like I was truly in Japan and I easily walked through these gardens six times while admiring their natural beauty. The azaleas are in full bloom during April so definitely go if you get the chance!
Kameido Wisteria Festival
The Kameido Wisteria Festival also occurs in April at the Kameido Tenjin Shrine in eastern Tokyo. Beautiful violet wisteria trellises hang above a peaceful pond with fish and turtles swimming in it. Walking through this area is similar to walking through a zen garden and seeing the reflection of the flowers on the water is extremely beautiful. You will notice that these flowers are pictured in a lot of artwork in Japan so this is your chance to see them up-close in full bloom! If you are lucky, you will also see ikebana (生け花), meaning flower arrangement displays, around the festival scenes as well.
Regardless of whether you’re a huge flower fan or not, these festivals will bring you closer to Japan’s culture and fill your life with hope and aspirations!