Along the scenic route 299 from Hidaka to Yokoze (Chichibu), there is a very picturesque temple – Chonenji – that scintillates in June with stunning hydrangea. I had this one saved on my Google Maps with a note “hydrangea”. However, I have absolutely no recollection of making that note or the how or why I knew about the hydrangea there! I do remember pulling in to the car park there a few years ago on the way home from Chichibu, to relieve one of the girl’s travel sickness. The hydrangea weren’t in bloom at the time… so the mystery remains. But thankfully my younger self had added a note “hydrangea” or I would not have visited there again today. Imagine, I would have missed this stunning hydrangea path!
I know little to nothing about Chonenji in Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture. Unfortunately there is no official website and surprisingly not even a page on the Hanno City website with information about the temple. I would have liked to have shared more about its history and the pilgrimage route it is on. However, thanks to having little in the way of information to share, I can pop this post out in real time so that others who are in the area can also witness the beautiful hydrangea currently (June 22nd 2021) in full bloom. Hopefully, I will be able to add more about the background at a later date.
What I can tell you is that you wouldn’t need a lot of time at this temple. There is plenty to photograph, but it is quite small. However, as it doesn’t seem to get a lot of visitors, you probably won’t need to wait your turn to photograph the hydrangea. As was the case at Gongendo Park in Satte this hydrangea season. And I imagine next year when Japan will once again (hopefully) be open to international tourists, even more places will have a wait time!
I can also tell you having fortuitously stopped there out of hydrangea season, that it is a picturesque temple all year round. The bell tower is located beside a scenic water feature. Furthermore, the smaller temple at the end of the hydrangea path has a charming red roof. In addition, the main temple is also photogenic. The small garden is also quaint even without anything in bloom.
|Address:||260 Shirako, Hanno, Saitama 357-0205|
|Hours:||Unknown, but as there are people living on the temple grounds, between 9 am and 5 pm is probably best.|
|Online:||It has no official website. Hanno City website.|
The temple’s car park is located right on route 299. However, the car park entrance is on a bend so it maybe a little difficult to get in and out of on the weekend when that route is always busy.
The temple is within walking distance of Musashi-Yokote station on the Seibu Ikebukuro line. According to Google Maps, it takes 13 minutes to walk from the station to the temple. Another point of interest serviced by Musashi-Yokote station is the Gojo Falls.