Nogoji Hydrangea Temple Kumagaya

Nogoji is Saitama’s most famous hydrangea (ajisai in Japanese) temple. The temple grounds are actually quite mall, but even without the hydrangea in bloom they are quite picturesque. But the temple grounds really come to life in June. The shrine was completely off limits each June between 2020 and 2022, the gate locked and warning signs all over the place! Thankfully, the grounds are back open since 2023. Moreover, in 2024 there will be a free shuttle bus, on just two days, for the first time in five years.

Nogoji Temple

Gate to Nogoji

Nogoji Temple is located in Kumagaya City in Northern Saitama. The temple was originally built in 743 AD. They rebuilt it in the 9th century and the current temple was built about 200 years ago. Inside the ceiling has panels half the size of a tatami with paintings of animals, birds and flowers. In addition, the fusama are also elaborately painted. Furthermore, the tatami are the older type, much longer than the tatami we have today. However, they have hanging decorations which are from recent times! The temple is free to visit, except during the period of the hydrangea bloom when it costs 300 yen. You pay at the gate, as per the photo above.

Nogoji Hydrangea Temple

Nogoji hydrangea temple Saitama
The bell tower, center, and temple gate in the background on the right

The temple is one of Saitama’s most famous places for hydrangea flowers. During the hydrangea season, thousands flock to see the stunning view of a bell tower framed by colorful hydrangea. It is one of several temples in Saitama referred to as an Hydrangea Temple or ‘Ajisai Dera’. There is also an old building on the grounds like a kura (storehouse) as well as a similar kura type building that is a shrine. The gate of the temple is quite picturesque too. All create a beautiful contrast to the hydrangea.

There are approximately 800 hydrangea at Nogo Temple. (Update June 2024: I do apologize; this originally said 8000). They are lush hydrangea though, really full in some places, particularly at the base of the bell tower. The period of bloom is generally the month of June, the rainy season in Japan. In 2023, I visited on June 22nd (in the lashings of rain!) and they were some in their prime, but some were finished and some were currently flowerless.

Kumagaya City have confirmed that they will have the free shuttle bus to the temple, from JR Kagohara station, on Saturday June 15th and Sunday June 16th 2024. It will also stop at other famous spots in Kumagaya, such as Menuma Shodenzan temple. The bus from / to the station takes 20 minutes. It stops Nogoji on its loop TWICE. If you want to go on to another location, look at the “Arrives / Departs” time below. If you want to go directly to the station after Nogoji, look at the “From Nogoji” times in the table below:

From Kagohara StationArrives / Departs NogojiFrom Nogoji
8.30 am8.50 am9.20 am
9 am9.20 am9.50 am
9.35 am9.55 am10.35 am
10 am10.20 am11 am
10.30 am10.50 am11.30 am
11.10 am11.30 am12.10 pm
11.40 am12 noon12.40 pm
12.25 pm12.45 pm1.25 pm
12.55 pm1.15 pm1.55 pm
13.35 pm1.55 pm2.35 pm
3 pm
2.15 pm2.35 pm3.15 pm

Check the “hydrangea” tag for even more places to view hydrangea.

Nogoji Information

Event: Hydrangea at Nogoji (Nogo Temple) 能護寺のあじさい

Date: generally the month of June, specific dates will be released nearer the time.

Time: 9 am to 5 pm

Cost: during the period that the hydrangea are in bloom, it costs 300 yen for anyone over the age of 12 years old to enter the temple grounds.

Venue: Nogo-ji, 1141 Nagaiota, Kumagaya, Saitama 360-0237. View on Google Maps.

Access

There are two parking lots for the temple. The one that is nearest the temple gate is for people with lower mobility. Unfortunately, this temple is quite difficult to get to by public transport. There is a bus that goes relatively near – about a 15 to 20 minute walk – from Kumagaya Station, but between the bus ride and the walk it would take about 45 minutes from Kumagaya Station. The bus stop is Menuma Nishi Itchome 妻沼西一丁目. However, in 2024, according to Jalan, there will be a free shuttle bus on Saturday June 15th and Sunday June 16th only. You can see the timetable above.

Web page on the Kumagaya City official website

Other hydrangea gardens at temples or shrines in Saitama Prefecture

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