After my ajisai adventures in Kamakura, I decided to try my luck in Kanazawa. Kenrokuen, our most famous garden, shockingly has no hydrangeas! I didn’t go until late June, so I was a little late for iris season. However, I was able to capture this picture of a butterfly on one of the few remaining irises.
Dissatisfied with Kenrokuen (seriously, no hydrangeas?), I decided to try my flower-viewing luck at Utatsuyama’s iris garden (hanashôbuen, 花菖蒲園), which is located up the “mountain” (hill, really) of Utatsuyama, behind the Higashi Chaya-gai (東茶屋街).
What’s this? Some blue hydrangeas?
When you enter the garden (for free), there’s a fantastic aquatic section.
You can actually cross the wooden bridge to the other side, which is a path filled with hundreds of gorgeous hydrangeas.
I felt like Chihiro sneaking through the hydrangeas to meet Haku in Spirited Away.
Up the path from the aquatic garden is a terraced field of a variety of irises.
Sure, there are hydrangea bushes lining the roads by city hall and by the castle, but none of those spaces is quite as magical as the lush hanashôbuen, tucked away on its hill above the city.
How to get here:
The irises and hydrangeas are in bloom from mid-June through early July.
By car: there is free parking on site.
Public transit: from Kanazawa Station (金沢駅), take a Kanazawa Loop Bus to stop #6, Hashiba-chô Kôbanmae (橋場町交番前). Go into the Higashi Chaya-gai at Higashi Chaya-gai Mae (東茶屋街前) and head for the Utatsuyama Walking Path. Follow the signs for the Hanashobuen (花菖蒲園) up the hill.
By foot: in my opinion, the easiest option–it takes about 30 minutes to walk from the station, but you can stop to see Omicho Market, the castle, Kenrokuen, and/or the tea districts on the way. You can also bike this route and leave your bike in the bicycle lot by the river near the Asanogawa Ôhashi Kôbanmae (浅野川大橋交番前) lot to the right of the police station.