Japan's Wisteria Tunnels Are Even More Magical Than Its Cherry Blossoms — Here's Where to See the Best Blooms (Video)
Wisteria, known as fuji in Japanese, may only be the country’s second most famous flowers, but thanks to their ability to bend, wisteria can be turned into large tunnels of blue, pink, purple, and white to make for a kaledescopic stroll.
While peak blooming periods can vary depending on the temperature, lucky visitors may be able to catch Japan's cherry blossoms and wisteria blooms in one trip.
Wisteria typically bloom around late April and early May, with slight variations depending on the type of wisteria in bloom.
For example, pale red wisteria typically reach full bloom around mid to late April, while white wisteria reach full bloom around early May and Kibana wisteria reach full bloom around early to mid May.
The Ashikaga Flower Park is the only location in Japan with a Kibana wisteria tunnel visitors can walk underneath. It's also home to more than 350 different wisteria trees that bloom in colors ranging from light violets and pinks to purples, whites, and bright yellows.
The park also has a 150-year-old wisteria tree and more than 5,000 azalea bushes that can be admired around the same time.
The wisteria festival runs from April 13 through May 19, with admission ranging from 900 to 1,800 yen (about $8 to $16) for adults and between 500 and 900 yen (about $4 to $8) for children depending on the day of the visit.
From April 19 through May 12, visitors can also head to the park in the evening to see the wisteria lit up at night, making for a striking view. They can even sample wisteria-themed soft serve and goodies while at the park.
Another popular tunnel is at the Kawachi Wisteria Garden in Kitakyushu. The park is home to 22 different kinds of wisteria that start to bloom and peak from the end of April through mid-May. Passes are required to visit the private gardens.
Its two tunnels meet to form a large dome, creating a sea of colors to walk beneath.
Visitors should reserve advance tickets to enter the popular park between April 20 and May 6. Prices start at 500 yen (about $4) per person and may include an additional charge based on the flowering conditions on the day of the visit.
The park is also popular in the fall, when maple trees and autumn leaves create magnificent foliage on its grounds.
There are a variety of parks that make for prime viewing locations, including Tennogawa Park and Shirai Omachi Fuji Park, which sits on the slope of a mountain in the Hyōgo prefecture of Japan’s Kansai region.
At Shirai Omachi Fuji Park, some of the wisteria clusters can grow to be almost five feet in length, making for a wonderful scene as they sway with the wind.
Even the country’s temples and shrines debut the colorful displays in the spring.
Tokyo’s Kameido Tenjin Shrine is a popular stop for wisteria viewing, thanks to its lavender-colored wisteria that hang in bunches from trellises overlooking a pond that reflects the colorful scene.
The wisteria here were planted during the Edo period (1603 through 1867) and continue to attract locals and visitors today during the Kameido Tenjin Shrine Wisteria Festival, which runs from April 14 through May 6.
Wisteria are also popular within the Kyoto Prefecture at locations such as the Byodoin Temple. Located in Uji, the temple has multiple wisteria trellises, some of which are said to be 280 years old. Some of its longest clusters have grown more than three feet in length, creating the appearance of a cascading purple waterfall.
There's another popular location for wisteria viewing in Kyoto that may come as a surprise.
For several days each year, the Kamitoba Sewage Treatment Plant offers public viewings of the wisteria. The location is popular thanks to a 120-meter-long tunnel of wisteria visitors can walk through. This year, it will be open from April 26 through 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Japan isn’t the only location to witness wisteria blooms, however. The flowers bloom in various locations, including within the U.S. at Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens and New York City’s Central Park.
If you do happen to be in Japan to catch the wisteria blooms during the time of the Fuji Shibazakura Festival, make sure to take a look.
From mid-April to the end of May, the foot of Mount Fuji is adorned with roughly 800,000 shibazakura (a type of flowering moss) that bloom in various colors.