Japanese Irises at Horikiri Shobuen in 2022

In early summer 2022, I saw my first Japanese Irises of the season. They were at Horikiri Shobuen. I was happy I went. It was another place I had wanted to go to for quite a few years. Finally, I ticked it off my flower photography bucket list.

What photo gear did I use for these pictures?

Camera Body: X-T3

Lenses: 

  • XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS
  • XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

How was my first Japanese irises photo session?

I’ve been a fan of these flowers for a long time.  The first time I saw them was at Koishikawa Korakuen many years ago.  That garden isn’t so big, but it is lovely.  The purple complemented it so well.  Of course, other places in Tokyo have them, but this was the biggest I’ve seen to date.

It was a warm day for my visit. I checked my phone, and it said 24°c. Yes, summer had arrived. And there was some cloud cover. So, the conditions for flower photography weren’t great, but not bad. It was quite bright.

As you can see in the pictures, many people attended the event. There must have been several hundred people there. Most were there for the morning. After lunch numbers dropped off fairly quickly.

The grounds of Horikiri Shobuen are very good. They are spacious, with some ponds and small canals. On a bright day in June, they look great.

For my first visit, the Japanese irises looked good. They weren’t perfect, but close. I enjoyed photographing them. These darker flowers reflect less light, which gives photographers fewer problems.

Since most people were photographing, they moved very slowly. That allowed me to do handheld bracketing. I could balance the bright clouds against the darker flowers.

The surprising thing about the park is the expressway next to it. That is something different! Luckily, the sound from it was muted. After a while, I didn’t even notice it.

Seikantei

Seikantei is the name of the restaurant and cafe on the grounds. The first floor has drinks and some simple Japanese dishes. Upstairs specializes in course meals. Japanese-style rooms are also available (at a fee).

Where is Horikiri Shobuen?

Horikiri Shobuen is near Horikiri Shobuen station (堀切菖蒲園駅). 

  1. What train lines go there? Only the Keisei Main Line.
  2. How long does it take to walk to the park? It takes about ten minutes.
  3. Is car parking available? Yes, some on-street parking is available nearby.
  4. On Saturdays and Sundays, parking space on the Arakawa riverbed is available from 5:30 am to 6:30 pm for a fee of 500 yen.

See it here on Google Maps.

Admission costs

Free

Opening hours

9:00-5:00 Sunday to Saturday

When is the best time to visit?

June!  That is when the Japanese irises bloom.

Can you use tripods there?

You can use them, but not on bridges and designated areas.

Photo spots near Horikiri Shobuen

The park is not close to anything I have visited. But, places you could go to by train from there are:

Wrapping up

Horikiri Shobuen impressed me on my first visit. It’s not big, but it is beautiful. And its Japanese irises are superb. The only places that come close are Meiji Shrine and Mizumoto park. They have high-quality gardens filled with them too.

If you are a flower lover, you put this place on your bucket list. And best of all, it is free! 

To see places mentioned in this article, look at:

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