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The Long and Colorful Hydrangea Road

The Itadori area is a great escape from the heat of the city in summer with the temperatures always a few degrees cooler in the mountains.

By 2 min read 2

The rainy season or tsuyu (梅雨) in central Japan is typically from mid-June to mid-July, and provides a little bit of relief before the heat of late July and August strikes. All this rain doesn’t mean you need to be stuck inside as there are many things you can enjoy during this time of the year in Japan. A favourite of mine are the beautiful hydrangea or ajisai (紫陽花) in Japanese.

The hydrangea which is native to East Asia is a symbol of June and the rainy season in Japan. They bloom from May to July, depending on the region in Japan with many cities having flower parks where you can enjoy these colourful flowers. A popular destination to view them is Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture close to Tokyo with its many temples and stunning ajisai gardens.

The rain of the rainy season is beneficial to the flowers and the more the better as the flowers grow a deeper colour the more the rain falls on them. I actually prefer them in the rain where the spots of rain on the flowers and morning mist make them even more beautiful.

The Hydrangea Road is a 24 kilometer-long stretch of road that lines the Itadori River in Gifu Prefecture. The road starts at the picturesque Itadori Village in Seki City and winds its way up the mountains. The route contains around 7,000 hydrangea of various colours ranging from blue and purple to white and pink. This whole area is famous for its hydrangeas with about 10,000 flowers that paint a pretty picture when in full bloom. The majority of the hydrangea are a deep purple or blue due to an acidic or low pH in the soil.


A drive along the tight winding mountain road is breathtaking and there are several places along the way you can stop to take a walk and enjoy the flowers. I found it hard to concentrate on the road with so much beauty around me. You have the gorgeous green mountains in the background with one side of the road lined with the crystal blue water of the Itadori River and the other with beautiful hydrangea. It sure is a feast for the eyes and a sight that soon does not leave the mind.

The Itadori area is a great escape from the heat of the city in summer with the temperatures always a few degrees cooler in the mountains. It is also a popular spot for campers and to spend a summer’s day by the river.

If you are looking for a scenic drive in central Japan in the early summer then head to the cooler mountains of Itadori and the Hydrangea Road in Gifu Prefecture.


You will need a car to access this area due to its remote location. The Hydrangea Road starts at Itadori Village in Seki City, Gifu Prefecture. Take the Tokai Hokuriku Expressway and exit at the Mino IC where it is around an hour by car to Itadori.

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  • Hugo Kempeneer says:

    O hi John, I didn’t know you wrote for the Gaijin pot. Nice article, I have been in Gify many a time swimming in the mountains with my kids and friends, I believe it was in Horado, it was. Nice spot and popular with many. Hugo for Kyoto Dream Trips

    • Hello Hugo, Thank you so much! Gifu is a beautiful part of Japan and the Itodori river which passes through Horado is crystal clear and a popular spot for swimming in the summer. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed your trips to Gifu.



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