Along with hydrangeas, irises are one of the colorful floral highlights of Japan's rainy season. This guide covers five great places to enjoy irises across the country.
Suigo Sawara Ayame Park, Chiba
Chiba's Suigo Sawara Ayame Park is home to an annual iris festival with 1.5 million flowers for visitors to enjoy. When the flowers are in full bloom, the park shop sells a range of different local products, souvenirs, and even iris plants if you'd like to try growing your own at home.
For those who enjoy hands-on experiences, it's worth checking out the events and classes held during the festival dates, including workshops on how to separate iris roots in order to propagate more plants.
1837-2 Ogishima, Katori, Chiba 287-0801
Fukiage Iris Park, Tokyo
Each year during June, Fukiage Iris Park on the outskirts of Tokyo sees thousands of irises bloom in numerous different varieties. The flowers are set up in a color gradient format, with deep purples progressing into lighter purples, all the way to white ones.
Throughout the park there are boardwalks where visitors can stroll along to appreciate the flowers up close, and in typical years there are also food booths selling things like yakitori (skewered grilled chicken) and yakisoba (fried noodles). Admission to the park during iris season is priced at a very reasonable 200 yen.
Fukiage, Ome, Tokyo 198-0015
Asamai Park, Akita
From late June through to early July, Akita's Asamai Park is filled to the brim with the color of 600,000 irises in bloom comprising of 80 different species. For those who can't get to the park during the iris season, there is still a wide variety of floral beauty to enjoy at other points of the year, including the likes of plum and cherry blossoms in early spring.
Kamigatsuginuma−22, Asamai, Hirakamachi, Yokote, Akita, 013-0105
Miyajidake Shrine, Fukuoka
Fukuoka's Miyajidake Shrine grounds are decorated with around 100,000 iris flowers from 100 different species during the rainy season. An annual festival celebrates the beauty of these flowers, which typically runs from the last week of May through to the 10th of June. For those who can't make it to the shrine grounds during the day, the flowers are illuminated after sunset until 9 pm.
7-1 Miyaji Motomachi, Fukutsu, Fukuoka 811-3309
Meiji Shrine Inner Garden, Tokyo
Meiji Shrine is one of Tokyo's must-visit destinations year-round, and during June the shrine's inner garden pops with the color of around 1500 iris plants in bloom. While the shrine itself is free to visit, there is an admission fee of 500 yen to enter the inner garden - not bad at all when you consider the history and beauty you can enjoy.
1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 151-8557