Irises are major flowers in Japanese gardens, some big temples and shrines. Purple of the flowers and glossy green of their leaves are symbolic of natural beauty of Japanese early summer. If you stay in Japan in this season, irises cannot be missed.
|Irises fully blooming in June – Tokyo, Japan|
Here are the 2 best places I recommend in Tokyo. One is definitely the most famous place that has been popular among locals. The other is not so well-known, but I push strongly because of the views.
You have visited Tokyo Direct Diary & Guide by a local (it’s me!) so you will see a hidden gem as well as must-sees!
1: Meiji Jingu Shrine in Harajuku
This large shrine in Harajuku is famous for its gardens. And the most famous thing in Meiji Jingu Shrine is irises. So it is the best season to visit the garden of Meiji Jingu Shrine!
|The famous iris garden in Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan|
Rainy season begins in June, but don’t get disappointed. It stopped raining when I visit there, but irises are extremely beautiful in rain. People connect the image of irises to rain rather the clear sky in Japan. Here is an iris with raindrops…
|Raindrops shining on an iris|
|A sketching man|
|From the arbor|
But you see, must-see places on every guidebook are not all.
It’s definitely my recommendation!
2: Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
You might have heard of Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens – Yes, I reported cherry blossoms in Koishikawa Korakuen in April!
When I arrived at its iris garden, I did not think that I had arrived at a garden in this world, but heaven.
|The iris garden in Koishikawa Korakuen, Tokyo, Japan|
English has a word “breathtaking,” and I suppose many languages, including Japanese, have similar words. I experienced the meaning.
You can see 660 irises. Iris has some kinds and colors, and yellow ones are relatively rare. Purple is major. Which color do you like?
|Standard purple irises|
Not just beautiful. I have 3 reasons to push Koishikawa Korakuen.
1: We can get closer to irises than in Meiji Jingu. It is attractive for everyone and undoubtedly for photographers, isn’t it?
|A temporary iris path in the season|
|A water pump for irises|
I saw amazing nature there myself. I’m preparing a new post for it, so please wait for a while to get amazed.
2: Different from Meiji Jingu, all the colors are planted with being mixed. I love it because it’s like a flower carpet.
The best photo spot is where we can shoot irises with the arbor in one frame.
…Sometimes a bird occupies the spot!
|An iris viewing bird|
|Irises, the ridge and the arbor|
I cannot help feeling that I am in a garden.
My best photo is the first one in this post. You can go up.
3: One more interesting thing in Koishikawa Korakuen is that there is a rice field next to the iris garden!
Japanese people have been living on rice since old times. In May, local elementary school students near Koishikawa Korakuen planted rice in the field in a school activity. Harvest is in September. And if you find SOMETHING in the photo, you are right.
|The rice field in Koishikawa Korakuen|
It’s a duck!
If you are lucky enough, you will meet a duck family.
|A duck family in the rice field|
Actually, some rice farmers keep ducks because they eat harmful insects.
It is an old agricultural technique, but it is getting more and more considerable these days from a viewpoint of ecology; Ducks possibly realize non-chemical agriculture! Have you heard of similar things?
I witnessed two duck families in Koishikawa Korakuen this year.
|Another duck family swimming in the pond|
The branch and leaves in this photo are part of the cherry tree that I reported in April.
Duck babies are born in early May, so when you travel in Tokyo in that season, take a chance. I warn you that baby ducks are cupids! It is one of the beauties in a Japanese garden in spring.
So how was the beauty of Japanese early summer?
|The iris garden and green maple leaves|
Motsuji Temple in Hiraizumi, Northern Japan, is famous for its iris garden. Please let me warn you that when you visit there, you might feel that you flied to Japan for your holiday and that you arrived at heaven.
Talking of Koishikawa Korakuen, it is famous for fall foliage, too.
Hopefully I show you red maple leaves there in autumn!
And have you heard of another icon of Japanese June? See you again in the next post!
To Meiji Jingu Shrine
- Admission Fee for the Garden – 500 yen (Free for the shrine)
- Opening Hours of the Garden – 8:00 – 17:00 (- 18:00 on weekends) in June, 9:00 – 16:30 in May
- How to Get to Meiji Jingu – Get out of Omotesando Exit of Harajuku Station. Meiji Jingu is huge woods across the railroad from Takeshita Street and other attractions in Harajuku, so you can’t miss it.
Everything to Visit Harajuku – http://tokyo-direct-guide.com/mustsees/harajuku.html
To Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
Opening hours, admission fees, how to get to Koishikawa Korakuen & Google Maps are at the bottom of Tokyo’s Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Spot – Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens