Garden Tourism, Highlight, Japan
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Jindai Botanical Garden: a half-day trip from Tokyo

It’s quite clear, that someone who once called Tokyo a concrete jungle, has never made any effort to actually discover this metropolis. The capital of Japan has a lot to offer to every flower lover.

To see beautiful flowers of the Jindai Botanical Garden we need to get to Chōfu, city located in the western end of Tokyo Metropolis (Chōfu is said to be a bedroom community for central Tokyo). Although getting to Chōfu isn’t particularly difficult (all we need is 15 minutes and 240 yen from the Shinjuku Station), it’s not a very popular destination among foreign visitors.

Jindai Botanical Garden (神代植物公園, Jindai shokubutsu kōen) was originally designed as a metropolitan plant nursery to supply trees and flowers for planting in the streets of central Tokyo. I decided to visit the park during the peak of wisteria blooming season, which partially overlapped with the end of peony and azalea season. All I could miss are the roses and water lilies, but let’s say one cannot have everything at once, right? 😉

Jindai Botanical Garden

Azaleas blooming in Jindai Botanical Garden

Peonies

Peonies are something I remember well from my home garden. Huge, heavy, crimson flowers usually greet me from the mid of May. While Peonies in general are native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America, the Tree Peony is a species native to China. Japanese word for Tree Peony is botan (牡丹), but “peony” itself came from the name of Paeon, a Greek god of medicine and healing, who was turned into the flower by Zeus. In ancient China, the Tree Peony was often called a king of flowers. Emperors had them grown in the courts and painted on screens and scrolls. In 1903, the Qing Dynasty declared the peony as the national flower. Peony was a national flower of China until 1929. In 1964 the Republic of China officially designated the plum blossom as their national flower. The official flower of People’s Republic of China isn’t decided yet, but most of the people would like to see the Peony as a national flower again.

How did Peony get to Japanese Islands? I would say the traditional way. Japanese scholars and monks traveling to China brought Peony to the imperial gardens and Buddhist temples of Nara and Kyoto. It is said that direct descendants of the 8th Century peonies from China have survived in the Nara temples’ gardens till this day.

The feeling of
being drunk with tea
thanks to peony
                                 – Chisoku

Peonies blooming in Jindai Botanical Garden

Peonies blooming in Jindai Botanical Garden

Jindai Botanical Garden

Peonies blooming in Jindai Botanical Garden

Wisteria

Wisteria (Japanese: 藤, Fuji, like “Mt Fuji” ) is woody, perennial climbing vine, native to Eastern Asia and North America. Flowers of wisteria range from white, through different shades of pink, to purple. Among wisterias that you may find in the Jindai Botanical Garden, there is one special species – Wisteria longissima, whose long, thin flowers may reach more than one meter! Wisteria (藤) used to have a special place in the heart of the noble Fujiwara family – the family name means “wisteria field” (藤原氏). For the same reason the fuji flower was carefully protected at the Kasuga Taisha shrine, dedicated to the family’s guardian gods.

Wisteria blooming in Jindai Botanical Garden

Wisteria blooming in Jindai Botanical Garden

What you cannot see in the pictures is the unique fragrance of flowers. Both wisteria and peonies have amazing, sweet smell that makes you sure that Summer is just around the corner.

If you’re a true flower lover, take one extra bag with you – they still have plant nursery running, if you know what I mean…

Jindai Botanical Garden

Jindai Botanical Garden

Just to be certain that you will not miss your favorite blooming season, here are some of my favorite flowers which you may find in this botanical garden:

Flower Calendar of Jindai Botanical Garden:

January: Christmas rose, Camellia
February & March: Plum, Apricot
April: Cherry, Weeping Cherry, Peach, Azalea, Peonies
April/May: Wisteria
June: Rhododendron, Tulip Tree 
June/July: Roses, Water Lilies
September: Orange Osmanthus, Silk Tree, Pampas Grass
October: Chrysanthemum
December: Momiji (leaves changing colors) 

Jindai Botanical Garden

To impress Japanese during flower photo hunting season, you would need to take a Hubble Space Telescope with you, I guess…

Although some retired Japanese prefer more traditional ways of "taking pictures".

Although some retired Japanese prefer more traditional ways of “taking pictures”.

Practical info:

1. To get to the Jindai Botanical Garden I took a Keiō Line train which stops at Chōfu.
The train ticket form Tokyō Shinjuku Station to Chōfu costs 240 yen, regardless if it’s local, rapid, semi-express or express train.
2. From the Chōfu Station I took a bus no. 34 which runs from the bus stop in front of the “Parco” Department Store (#14) and stops in front of the Botanical Garden (Jindai Shokubutsu-koen-mae).
3. Garden is open between 9:30 and 16:00. Entrance ticket for adults is 500 yen, seniors >65 pay 250 yen, school students 200 yen. No discount for university students 🙁
4. The garden is divided into two parts: the main part and a small garden with a water flowers only, about 5 minutes walk form Jindaijimon Gate.
5. Don’t miss Jindaiji Shirne, which is located in between two parts of the Jindai Garden! 🙂
6. I walked back to the station (2,3 km) via Tenjin Shopping street – a good place when you get hungry after sightseeing. It can be also easily reached from the Chōfu train station (3 minutes walk).

 ✿ For further details about garden tourism in Tokyo area take a look at A Flower Lover’s Guide to Tokyo: 40 Walks for All Seasons by Sumiko Enbutsu 

Izabela Japan

Jindai Botanical Garden, where is it?

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Jindai Botanical Garden 35.669290, 139.547224 ✿ Jindai Botanical Garden ✿

Filed under: Garden Tourism, Highlight, Japan

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Z pochodzenia Sanoczanka, Japanofil, wolontariusz tęskniący za Afryką i etnograf-pasjonat. // Just a small town girl who always dreamed of travels and faraway places... Now Warsaw-based international relations analyst, travel blogger & folklore enthusiast, who cherishes nature, simple life & Irish traditional music. Japanophile. Addicted to haribo jellies & …red lipstick.

16 Comments

  1. It looks as if you went at the right time of year. The gardens are beautiful. I’ve been to a number of parks in Tokyo, but this looks well worth a day trip.

  2. I’ve never been to Japan and I’d like to cry about this fact. It’s been on my travel list for way too long and I really need to visit very soon and these flowers makes it even more urgent for me to travel there. Thank you for including the flower calendar, this is very helpful.

  3. Great find, especially as you noted how visitors to Tokyo don’t venture to this Botanical Garden! Peonies are always my favorite! They are so lush and beautiful..just wish they had a longer bloom time. The gardens look gorgeous and a great way to “get out” of the hustle of the big city.

  4. Ruth says

    Totally awesome place! Great you had the opportunity to visit at the correct season. I have a tendency to miss places at their “peak” season ;0)

  5. galanda23 says

    What a beautiful display of color! If I ever make it to Tokyo I’ll definitely check out Jindai Botanical Garden. I always make sure to visit every botanical garden in the cities I visit. They are a great opportunity for photography. Thanks for coming back to #TheWeeklyPostcard, Ibazela. I missed you.

  6. Japanese gardens are so popular world wide these days. Most cities seen to have some sort of Japanese garden or another. I know in Melbourne, The Melbourne zoo has a Japanese garden u can explore

  7. dotraveler says

    I could easily spend the whole day in a place like this taking photos. The shots are beautiful and you had a great day. I love the little hidden characters and think that would make someplace like this fun for little ones.

  8. I love wisteria. It’s just (JUST!) starting to bloom over here in the UK and I can’t wait until it springs up on our square. It is something that we search out for sure. I mean, can my Instagram be full of any more wisteria photos? Probably not!

  9. This is such a cute place. Going to Tokyo in a month and I am sure I will need a bit of greenery to escape the jungle at some point, this will be the best option

  10. Beautiful gardens. I love that you included some history on the flowers! And honestly, how gorgeous is wisteria? One of my favourite flowers…just seems so magical to me! 🙂

  11. Gorgeous photos! We loved all the gardens in Japan–they are so relaxing away from the craziness of the big cities. Jindai Botanical Garden looks like a beautiful spot. Good idea on timing it with the wisteria blooming–they are so pretty!!

  12. I’ve always wanted to visit a real Japanese Garden – they are just so beautiful and peaceful – it looks like you visited on a perfect day. If I ever get to Tokyo (hopefully in the not too distant future) I’ll be sure to head out to Jindai!

  13. You chose the best time of year to go. I’d imagine the air was redolent with fragrance. I’m such a fan of gardens and this looks like an especially beautiful one. The Japanese sure do know how to appreciate flowers and beauty. That’s one of the most special aspects of Japanese culture; can’t wait to get there to experience it for myself.

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