The changes of seasons are so symbolic in Japan, there’s always some kind of flower in bloom no matter what season. Japan has some of the best botanical gardens and flower parks.
1. Kyoto Botanical Garden
The centerpiece of Kyoto Botanical Garden is the enormous greenhouse featuring enormous banana plants, carnivorous plants, tropical flowers, and plenty more rare species.
The botanical gardens also include a large flower garden, with a rose garden, as well as a bonsai garden too. It’s beautiful in spring for cherry blossom viewing and in autumn for the maple trees. Admission is ¥400.
The North entrance is a short walk from Kitayama Station on the Karasuma subway line.
2. Kiseki No Hoshi Botanical Museum
Also known as the Miracle Planet Museum of Plants, one of Japan’s best botanical gardens is located on the beautiful Awaji Island in Hyogo. Admission is between ¥700-1500 but it’s well worth it with the large number of rare plants they have. With exciting architecture, the environment is aesthetically pleasing and appeals to all senses, combining plants with art and live music. There’s a wonderful collection of rare tropical plants sure to excite any plant enthusiast.
It’s located on the Awaji Yumebutai complex, with brutalist architecture and the famous Hyakudanen, the ‘hundred stepped gardens’, perhaps the most interesting flower garden in Japan in terms of its structure.The botanical gardens join onto the Awaji Kaikyo National Government Park, where for an admission fee of ¥450, you can see various seasonal flower displays of tulips, dahlias, hydrangeas, and more.
The Awaji Hanasajiki is a nearby flower garden that deserves its spot on the list. With rolling hills of flower fields looking out to the sea, it’s a sight to take in. Admission is free! It’s great for poppies, cosmos, sunflowers, salvia, and more.
Take the express bus to ‘Awaji Yumebutai’ from the JR Maiko station. Alternatively, take the ferry to Awaji and get a day ticket for the bus to explore Awaji’s other sights
3. Jindai Botanical Gardens
In West Tokyo, in Chofu, there’s the Jindai Botanical Gardens, Tokyo’s main botanical gardens. It’s famous for the rose garden as well as its large greenhouse of exotic plants. The greenhouse has a large variety of tropical and sub-tropical plants and the botanical gardens also have an aquatic plant area. Admission is ¥500 but it’s free in some areas.
The best time to visit the rose garden is in May when they’re usually in full bloom. We’d advise going in the morning when the scent of the roses is at its strongest.
Beyond the rose garden, there’s a variety of other flowers. In amongst the flower garden you can expect to find azaleas, orchids, iris, wisteria, cherry blossom, and maple trees, amongst other varieties.
It’s a 10-15-minute bus ride on the 05 or 06 bus from Chōfu station
4. Ashikaga Flower Park
You can find Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi prefecture, it’s worth a day trip from Tokyo. Famous for its luscious wisteria trees and wisteria festival, Ashikaga Flower Park is a must-see. It’s one of the best places for wisteria viewing in Japan, with an abundance of wisteria tunnels, different varieties of wisteria, there’s even a 100-year-old large wisteria tree. The best time to visit Ashikaga Flower Park for the wisteria is at the beginning of May when they’re usually in full bloom.
It’s still a beautiful flower garden beyond its wisteria. With azaleas, rhododendrons, water lilies, a gorgeous rose garden, iris, and tulips, there is plenty to keep you coming back through the seasons. Ashikaga Flower Park has a popular winter illumination from late October to early February.
It’s a 3-minute walk from the JR Ashikaga Flower Park station.
5. Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens
After an exhilarating hike up to Mount Rokko, or a peaceful ropeway ride, you’ll find the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens. Across its grounds, you’ll find a lovely flower garden and herb museum, with strong fragrances.
The rose garden is another highlight, with various English rose varieties. In the botanical gardens, there’s a greenhouse featuring tropical plants. Admission is ¥900-1500. Any plant lovers should also check out the Rokko Alpine Botanical Gardens while you’re in the area.
The ropeway will take you directly to the gardens.
6. Rikugien Garden
One of Tokyo’s most popular landscape gardens, Rikugien garden also features a beautiful pond and hill. The best time to see the Rikugien garden is during autumn for the beautiful red maple trees, usually at their peak between late November and early December.
Rikugien Garden is also a popular viewing spot for weeping cherry trees in spring. It has some beautiful azalea bushes to take in too. There is also a small quaint teahouse named after these bushes where you can have a drink made of these natural plants!
It’s a 7-minute walk from Komagome station.
7. Sakuya Konohana Kan
The Sakuya Bonohana Kan botanical gardens in the outskirts of Osaka feature a huge conservatory with over 2500 different species of plants, including a lot of tropical plants. It’s one of the World’s largest greenhouses, its plants include the rare blue poppies of the Himalayas, palm trees, orchids, jungle plants, and carnivorous plants. Admission is ¥500.
It’s located in Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park, where you can admire more beautiful nature after a visit to the botanical gardens.
It’s a 10-minute walk from Tsurumiryokuchi Station on the subway Nagahori Tsurumiryokuchi Line.
8. Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands
Located in Hakone-Sengokuhara, this botanical garden is best for wetland and alpine plants and is well worth a visit if you are in Kanagawa.
You can take in unique sights of Hakone’s botanical gardens whilst walking on the boardwalks across the marshlands. It’s open in the warmer months and admission is ¥700.
It’s an 8-minute walk from the Sengoku-Annaisho bus stop.
9. Sankeien Garden
Sankeien Garden is a beautiful Japanese landscape garden located in Yokohama. There is beautiful flora spread across Sankeien Garden, including cherry blossoms, ginkgo trees, maple trees, water lilies, lotus flowers, hydrangea, iris flowers, and even wisteria.
Admission to Sankeien Garden is ¥700, but while you’re there you can also admire the many traditional Japanese buildings and teahouses.
You can take the 8 or 148 bus from 35 minutes to get there from the Yokohama station east exit. It’s a 5-minute walk from Sankeien-Iriguchi bus stop.
10. Botanical Garden of Hokkaido University
Hokkaido might not be the place you’d expect to find a botanical garden, but despite the cool climate, there are plenty of tropical plants thriving in the greenhouse.
The highlights of this botanical garden in Sapporo include an arboretum, rose garden, and an alpine rock garden. It’s popular for its beautiful lilies too. Admission is ¥420.
It’s a 10-minute walk from Sapporo station.