One of the beloved staples of a Japanese summer is the sight of colorful hydrangeas (ajisai) blooming during the rainy season in June and July. Featuring a wide variety of colors depending on the pH of the soil they’re planted in, large hydrangea bushes make vibrant additions to many gardens, roadsides, and city streets. A species that loves water, hydrangeas are at their best after a light rain, which the rainy season here in Japan is more than ready to supply.
Many shrines and temples that have gardens featuring these flowers hold special openings and events during their peak seasons where visitors can enjoy the flowers alongside special foods, ceremonies, and happenings. Fujinomori Shrine in southern Kyoto hosts an Ajisai Matsuri (Hydrangea Festival) and holds a month-long special opening of its two hydrangea gardens from the beginning of June, with special events such as musical performances, rituals, and sports demonstrations offered during certain days (dates and performance line-ups vary each year).
Some possible performances serving as offerings to the gods include ritual tea offerings, taiko drum performances, a kemari ball game, poetry readings, and short displays of old court-style instrumentals and dances. With so many different cultural events to enjoy alongside such beautiful gardens, it makes for a wonderful trip full of culture and entertainment. Feel free to stay awhile, as the hydrangea themed food is pretty good, too!
Things to See/Do
June 2nd: Hydrangea Gardens Open
June 9th: Unsei Kantei-e Fortune Telling (Tōyō Ekigaki Gakukai), 10:00
June 10th: Singing Bowl Performance (Kyō Ichirin), 14:00
June 15th: Ajisai Festival Ceremony, Tea and Flower Offering, 10:00
June 16th: Iaidō Performance (Kyoto Iaidōkai), 14:30
June 17th: Gagaku & Bugaku Performance (Fujinomori Gagakukai), 10:30
Kemari Offering (Kemari Hozonkai), 13:00
Fujinomori Taiko Performance (Fujinomori Taiko Hozonkai), 14:00
June 23th: Chikuzen Biwa Performance (Chikuzen Biwa Kyoto Miyabikai), 13:00
Sumō Jinku Song Performance (Kehaya Sumō Jinkukai), 15:00
June 24th: Koto Performance (Kashōkai), 13:00
〒612-0863 京都府京都市 伏見区深草鳥居崎町609
- General Admission: Free
- General Admission: 09:00 – 17:00
- Closed: No closing days