In early summer 2022, I saw my first Japanese irises of the season. On a Sunday morning, I went to Horikiri Shobuen. And I was happy I went. I had wanted to go to this place for quite a few years. Finally, I ticked it off my flower photography bucket list.
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 they are lovely. Purple is a beautiful color. Of course, other places in Tokyo have them, but this was the biggest garden of them 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 at least. Most were there for the morning. After lunch numbers dropped off fairly quickly.
The grounds of Horikiri Shobuen are very good. They are spacious, which 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 very 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 quite muted. After a while, I didn’t even notice it.
Seikantei is the name of the restaurant and cafe on the grounds. The cafe on the first floor has drinks and some simple Japanese dishes and desserts. The second-floor restaurant specializes in course meals. Japanese-style rooms are also available (at a fee).
Where are the Japanese Irises of Horikiri Shobuen?
- What train station is closest? Horikiri Shobuen (堀切菖蒲園駅).
- How long does it take to walk to the park? It takes about ten minutes.
- Is car parking available? Yes, some on-street parking is available nearby.
- 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.
Here is a Google Map:
9:00-5:00 Sunday to Saturday
Best time to see the Japanese Irises of Horikiri Shobuen?
June! That is when the Japanese irises bloom.
You can use them, but not on bridges and designated areas.
Photo spots near Horikiri Shobuen
The park is not really close to anything I have visited. But, places you could easily go to by train from there are:
Horikiri Shobuen impressed me on my first visit. It’s not a big place, but it is beautiful. And its Japanese irises are superb. The only places that come close are Meiji Shrine and Mizumoto park. Both of them have excellent gardens.
If you are a flower lover, you need to put this place on your bucket list. And best of all, it is free! You can leave questions and comments below.