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Hakone - Hydrangea Train

Hydrangea bush in the foreground with a blurred background of a red train coming towards the viewer.

From the end of May to the rainy season in June, hydrangeas are at their best in Japan. The name "Ajisai", hydrangea in Japanese, is said to come from "Azusa Ai" which means a gathering of indigo. Due to this, there are speculations that when the plant was first discovered and named in Japan, they were all blue hydrangeas. Research found that hydrangea becomes more bluish in acidic soil compared to it becoming more red in alkaline soil.


We can speculate that most of the soil in Japan is quite acidic, whereas in Europe, they have more alkaline soil.  





Hydrangea looks like a cluster of small flowers that is large and round, but the big petal-like parts are actually not part of the flower. The large round petals are actually developed pieces of the stem, and if you look closely, you can see a very small flower of hydrangea in the middle of the cluster.


Events recommended for those who are interested in Japanese hydrangea are going to be coming around this June. It might be worth visiting some of these if you are in Japan during this season!



Hakone Mountain Railway

Along the Hakone Tozan Railway line, which runs for 40 minutes from Hakone-Yumoto to Gōra Station, a special "Night Hydrangea-go" service and nighttime ride-alongs will be held to allow visitors to take the time to appreciate hydrangeas as they are in full bloom.


Service Start Date: June 14 (In service for 30 days)、6:30pm - 10:00pm

The train passes slowly with the lights dimmed and announcements made in Japanese, making it a special ride dedicated to appreciating the hydrangeas. 

 


Hydrangeas at Kamakura, Hase-dera Temple

Hase-dera Temple, a 5-minute walk from Hase Station on Enoshima Railway, is also known as the "Temple of Flowers" due to the variety of flowers that bloom throughout the year. The temple is famous for its hydrangeas, with more than 2500 hydrangea plants of more than 40 varieties. You can see many varieties of hydrangeas, including the Hydrangea Macrophylla, Lace Cap Hydrangea, Hydrangea Serrata, Annabelle Hydrangea and more. Please be sure to check out the rare hydrangeas that have been named and can only be found here at Hase-dera, such as the Kamakura, Hase no Shiosai, and Hase no Ori.

 

Season: End of may to Beginning of July

Hours during April to June: 8:00am - 5:00pm, Mountain path closes at 5:30.

Entry: 400JPY, From mid season to the end, there is an additional Hydrangea Viewing Ticket fee of 500JPY




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