After sakura season, the next spectacular blossoms to fill your senses are wisteria, know no as fuji in Japanese (not to be confused with the mountain). There are many places in the greater Tokyo area to view them, but Tokaen wisteria garden in Kasukabe City has, according to legend and horticulturists, some special claims to fame. Besides, the violet flowers are breathtakingly beautiful.
The land on which the garden is situated was once a Shingon Buddhist temple. The story is that, 1200 years ago, the Buddhist sage Kobo Daishi planted the vines himself. Whatever the case, the vine says are ancient and recognized by the government of Japanese natural and cultural heritage. The Japanese vines have a curious feature - unlike their Asia mainland relatives which twist counter-clockwise, Japanese wisteria vines twist clockwise. This is because their DNA evolved before the Japanese Archipelago drifted north from the Southern Hemisphere, where plants twist the other way due to the earth’s poles. Their peculiar growth is a testament to their great age.
This year, Tokaen’s wisterias are predicted to finish on May 6th. Check the garden website for peak blossoms.
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You will see many of my stories on Japan Travel are about places and events outside of big city centers and tourist destinations. While I highly recommend the big name sights and experiences, I encourage visitors to see and feel the atmosphere off the beaten path, too.