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Ajisai in Kamakura

June is the rainy season in Japan and while this can make outdoor activities difficult it does mean the Hydrangeas in Kamakura are in full bloom.

By 3 min read

June is also known as “Tsuyu” or rainy season. The heavy downpours during this time can put an unfortunate damper on some highly-anticipated plans. However, the silver lining to this season is the “Ajisai”, or Hydrangeas. Even if you have to wear rain boots and carry an umbrella, these beautiful flowers are worth making a trip for!

These bright, vibrant, bountiful flowers thrive in wet, humid conditions – the more rain, the better! Each thick stem is a meadow of blue, purple, or pink petals densely clustered around one giant core. I had never seen one until I came to Japan, and now it is one of my favorite flowers.

hydrangeas

A must-have plan for June should be to go to Kamakura and view the vividly-colored Ajisai. Kamakura is already a well-traveled day trip from Tokyo; visitors are drawn to the beachside, the island town of Enoshima, multiple historic temples, and “Daibutsu” (Big Buddha).

From Shinjuku, you can make this easy journey by taking the JR Shonan-Shinjuku line south, towards Zushi. In only about 1 hour, you will arrive at Kamakura Station. From there you can hop on local trains or buses to arrive at your desired destinations.

There are two temples that are popular for Ajisai-viewing: Hase-dera and Meigetsu-in.

Hase-dera is a huge complex that includes hundreds of cartoonishly “Kawaii” Jizo statues, an unexpected underground cave, and beautiful lily pond. But the highlight is the Ajisai garden, which covers a vast hillside. During full bloom, the closely-packed bulbs of brilliantly colored petals are truly a sight to be seen.

Meigetsu-in, also known as “Ajisai-dera” (hydrangea temple), offers visitors an impressive main hall, cave, and inner garden. Both tourists and locals flock here in June to immerse themselves in the bright blue hydrangeas that surround this temple.

Of course, don’t leave Kamakura without your obligatory travel treat – the soft cone ice cream… in the flavor of Ajisai. The taste is reminiscent of a toned-down lavender flavor, and the coolness will definitely be welcomed in the summer heat and humidity!

jizo

Access

Meigetsu-in: From Shinjuku, take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku line (towards Zushi), and alight at Kita-Kamakura Station. Approximately 1 hour, 1000 yen.

Hase-dera: Located south of Meigetsu-in. From Shinjuku, take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku line (towards Zushi), and alight at Kamakura Station. Transfer to a local tram (towards Fujisawa) and alight at Hase Station. Approximately 1 hour, 1000 yen.

JR Kamakura-Enoshima Free Pass: If you want to travel around Kamakura, consider the JR Kamakura-Enoshima Pass, which will let you access trains and trams around the Kamakura area for 700 yen (unlimited use for one day). However, you need to pay to get to Fujisawa or Ofuna Station before the pass can be active.

For an intense and amazing trip, start at Fujisawa station, take the local tram to Enoshima, your first destination. After exploring Enoshima, hop back onto the tram towards Kamakura Station and alight at Hase Station, which is your jumping off point for both Hase-dera and Daibutsu (Big Buddha). When finished, take the tram to Kamakura Station and transfer to the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line. Travel north to Kita-Kamakura Station, which will be your stop for Meigetsu-in. To get home, take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line to Shinjuku.

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