Although Japan’s favorite pink wave of sakura are long gone, we can finally welcome the purple wisteria (fuji) beauties that have begun drooping down to create magnificent sites. Here’s where to see them at their best — and make sure you hurry because they’re in full bloom as we speak, just in time for the long-anticipated Golden Week.
1. Kameido Tenjin Shrine © Photo by hkflc
Every year around this time, Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Koto Ward attracts thousands of visitors when its famous cascades of hanging purple wisteria come to full bloom offering one of the most picturesque sceneries in central Tokyo. The shrine is currently hosting its annual Kameido Tenjin Wisteria Festival (until May 6), which also features a number of vibrant cultural activities and the regular matsuri food stalls. Snap a photo of the wisteria with the Tokyo Sky Tree in the back!
Where: Kameido Tenjin Shrine, 3-6-1 Kameido, Koto-ku, Tokyo
While in the neighborhood: Check out Kameido’s local tourist information center with a faux-Edo structure. Here you can get your hands on some turtle shaped cookies, macarons and plum-flavored mochi cakes and deluxe dried plums.
2. Hie Shrine
This famous Tokyo shrine is located right between the busy business district of Akasaka and the government buildings of Nagatacho. While it’s mostly known for its Sanno Matsuri Festival in June, at this time of the year it also hosts some splendid sights of fully blooming wisteria.
Where: Hie Shrine, 2-10-5 Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
While in the neighborhood: Catch a classical music performance at the Suntory Hall or visit the Akasaka Ninja Restaurant.
3. Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden © Photo by Masaki Tokutomi
In the Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, there is an old wooden wisteria trellis that is more than 200 years old, right by the entrance. Between late April and early May, large vines of the fuji flowers start hanging from the trellis, forming splendid sights and a very pleasant fragrance. The view of the purple wisteria overlooking the garden with a large pond is truly superb.
Where: Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, 1-4 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo
While in the neighborhood: Climb the Seaside Top Observatory or take a seaside Soshi bike tour.
4. Imperial Palace East Gardens © Photo by Pinterest
You might be one of the thousands of people visiting the Imperial Palace this Golden Week to celebrate the new Imperial era, Reiwa. In the East Gardens of the Palace, there is a bench setup under the wisteria shelf, where you can take a rest and contemplate life whilst looking over at the Ninomaru Pond.
Where: East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, 1-1 Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
While in the neighborhood: Visit the Tangible Earth