Hoanji is a 400 year old temple in Kumagaya City, Saitama. It is regarded locally as an hydrangea temple. However, it is not “thee” hydrangea temple: the most famous one is Nogoji. Nogoji’s hydrangea are off limits since the pandemic began (2020 to 2022). Thankfully Hoan-ji is open to the public and welcomes hydrangea hunters! It mightn’t have as many hydrangea as the famous hydrangea temples, but the ones they have are beautiful. Furthermore, the garden and wood are very picturesque with some other really beautiful flowers and trees, including a large gingko tree, too.
There are approximately 1300 hydrangea of 80 varieties at Hoan-ji in Kumagaya. According to the official website, they typically bloom from the end of May until mid June. However, this year many of them were not yet in bloom when I visited yesterday, June 11th 2021. There hasn’t been much rain for the last couple of weeks which might have effected them. The ones that are in bloom the temple seem to keep well hydrated, so bar a couple, they have kept their color well despite the dry weather.
There are hydrangea in the forest behind the temple, hydrangea in the courtyard and also hydrangea in the garden. The latter is the priest’s garden and it feels quite invasive walking in front of their house. Especially as they had laundry (covertly!) hanging. However, it is supposedly perfectly acceptable and expected to walk the beautiful stone paths and admire both the hydrangea and the other flowers in bloom. I fell in love with the pomegranate tree. There is a magnificent gingko tree in the small wooded area, I will just have to go back in Autumn and see it in its cloak of yellow….
November 2022: I finally got to go to Hoanji in Autumn. However, I was a little bit too early and the gingko tree was 99% green with just a small part hinting toward yellow! But there was a beautiful red tree and another tree with yellow foliage at the time – November 2022. I suspect prime viewing is probably late November.
Alternative to Nogoji
Just a mini post today to try and get the information out in time for this season. Especially for anyone who might be googling from outside Nogoji wondering why they can’t get in and what to do after going all the way to Kumagaya! (Sound familiar anyone!?) I have you covered – if you are in a car that is. Get back in the car and drive on to Hoanji! Hopefully, anyone who is travelling by public transport checked in advance and wasn’t caught out. Also, very anyone in Kumagaya (or Yoshimi or Higashimatsuyama for that matter as they are close by) this location maybe of interest for hydrangea viewing, if you haven’t already been. There is probably only a week left of the hydrangea season. Although, who knows, when it finally rains next week, maybe it will give the hydrangea a new lease of life!?
|Hoanji | Hoan Temple Kumagaya ・保安寺|
|Address:||180 Minowa, Kumagaya, Saitama 369-0105|
|Season:||Month of June|
|Cost:||An offering of your choice|