Takahata Fudoson Kongo-Ji is one of the oldest temples in Tokyo and is famous for its huge pagoda. It was once associated with Shinsengumi, a special police force, during the Edo period. Now it is known for its annual summer hydrangea festival. And that is why I visited it in 2018 to see those 7500 beautiful flowers.
Some flowers were around the temple buildings, but most were on a hill. They were on three trails: the Path of Four Seasons, the Path of the Hydrangea, and the Pilgrim’s Path. The last one was interesting as it was a mini-replica of the Buddhist pilgrim route in Shikoku. It is complete with pilgrimage sites, represented by jizo statues. You can walk it in a reasonable amount of time.
I had a blast. With many twists and turns, it was fun exploring the trails to find the flowers. Few people were there, which made photography easy. And it was good to see the hydrangeas in a natural setting, not in a garden. Luckily, the weather was good, so the views of western Tokyo from the hill.
The temple might be a little far from the center of Tokyo. By express train, it is more than thirty minutes from Shinjuku. It is one of the best places in the city to see these lovely flowers. But, it is very different from inner-city gardens like the one at Hakusan shrine in Bunkyo ward. Have you been there? If you haven’t, here are some pictures from the 2017 festival. It is in a central Tokyo district and has a compact hydrangea garden with about 3000 plants.
If you are into flower photography, Takahata Fudoson is an excellent place. It isn’t only about flowers. As it is a Buddhist temple, there are several worship halls and a pagoda. They are gorgeous. And there is a statue that will interest students of Japanese history. It is of Toshizō Hijikata, one of the leaders of Shinsengumi. That was one of the groups that resisted the Meiji Restoration.
You can see Takahata Fudoson’s Japanese website here. One day, hopefully soon, I’ll put up a complete article just about the temple.
For more flower articles, look at:
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