While the Japanese spring is dominated by talk of sakura (cherry blossoms), and rightfully so, that particular flower is not the be-all and end-all of Japanese flora! Quite the contrary; Japan is blessed with beautiful flowers of endless varieties throughout different times of the year, and June is the time for hydrangea (ajisai in Japanese) to take the spotlight.
In Gifu Prefecture, the town of Itadori in Seki City is particularly famous for hydrangea (pictured), and its “Hydrangea Road,” lined on both sides by 7,000 flowers of pink, blue, and white varieties for 24 kilometers, is a great place to take in the beauty of hydrangea. An additional 3,000 or so hydrangea in the area, such as in the “21st Century Forest Park”, bring the count to an even 10,000 flowers in the Itadori Area, making it truly a hydrangea kingdom!
Add to this the “Hydrangea Village Festival 2012,” an event (June 23rd and 24th) where you can savor the local tastes of Itadori and enjoy a myriad of hands-on activities and events, including ones geared towards children. You can even come away with a free hydrangea seedling so that you can grow your own! This and other nature-oriented events during the weeks of the festival make the area a great place to come to in order to get a taste of nature before the incredibly humid and hot summer sets in!
The Itadori Hydrangea Festival will last from June 16th to July 8th this year, so be sure to stop by and take in the scenery while the flowers are still in bloom!