Let’s get started with my first article on here! I decided to begin with the Azalea Festival at Nezu Shrine, because I just recently visited it for the first time and was amazed by the beauty – and that is why I would love to share this place and some photos with you.
Nezu Shrine in Tokyo
Nezu Shrine (根津神社) is located in Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward and is most easily accessible by Nezu station or Todaimae station. It is one of Japan’s oldest shrines! It’s history goes back on a legend of Yamato Takeru (also known as Prince Osu) who lived in the 1st century A.D. The shrine was founded in Sendagi, just north of the current location, and was relocated to Nezu district in 1705.
Nezu Shrine is styled after Toshogu Shrine in Nikko (Tochigi Prefecture), which is called Ishi-no-ma-zukuri style, and several of the structures are extant from when the the shrine was relocated. Because of this, many structures are designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan.
On the grounds of the shrine you can find many torii (shrine gates). The path with the vermilion shrine gates on the hillside is especially popular and makes it a nice spot for tourists. But also the viewing platform at the end of the path is a nice motif for photos.
Azalea Festival at Nezu Shrine
Right after the popular cherry blossoms the azalea start blooming with their vibrant colors. In Japanese this flower is called Tsutsuji (つつじ). Their colors reach from white to light pink down to a deep pink and red and are sometimes even mixed. Usually the blooming time is between the middle of April until the middle of May, depending on the weather of each year. In 2021 they were quiet early in Tokyo (such as the cherry blossoms) and already reached their peak at Nezu Shrine around the middle of April.
The Bunkyu Azalea Festival at Nezu Shrine, in Japanese called Bunkyo Tsutsuji Matsuri (文京つつじ祭り), is held during the flowering season. You can find out the dates on the official website when the time is coming close.
Azalea Festival 2022: 2nd April until 1st May
During the festival time you can walk around the azalea garden (つつじ苑) which is located on a slight hill on the shrine grounds. The admission fee is quite small (300 yen) and you have to keep an eye on the opening hours. In 2022 it is open from 9:30 to 18:00 with last entrance at 17:30.
Strolling around between the colorful flowers you have many beautiful views and several different shapes and sizes of the flowers to explore, because there are around 100 species of azalea planted there. Next to seeing the amount of about 3.000 azalea bushes at one place, you also can see the red torii gates in the background.
I really enjoyed my time there and am glad I finally made it to this shrine during the azalea peak season. Definitely a spot not to miss if you are in Tokyo during the right timing. But also without the azalea blooming, it is a nice place for a visit.
113-0031 Tokyo-to, Bunkyo-ku, Nezu 1-28-9
|Closest stations:||Nezu Station, Todaimae Station|
|Opening hours:||You can visit the shrine grounds all over the day, but the office is usually opened between 9:00 to 17:00 (changing by seasons).|
|Addmission:||No addmission fee for the shrine grounds. A small addmission fee of 300 yen is required for the azalea festival.|
|Official website:||Japanese website | Instagram|