The ancient wisteria of Ushijima is a Special Natural Monument of Japan. It is one of the most famous wisteria not only in Saitama, but in all of Japan. It typically blooms the end of April to early May, but in recent years has been blooming one to two weeks early. The wisteria is in Tokaen, a private garden in Kasukabe, near Tokyo. Each year from mid April, the garden opens to the public for about three weeks. Update April 25th 2023: the best time to see the wisteria has now passed according to an update on the official website on April 24th.
The Kasukabe Wisteria Festival* was cancelled between 2020 and 2022. However, the Wisteria of Ushijima – Tokaen, which is just one location of the Kasukabe Wisteria Festival, was open to the public. And it is opening in 2023 too: from Saturday April 15th to Friday May 5th. Please note, it is not unusual for the dates to change last minute due to the condition of the wisteria. For example, last year the garden closed earlier than scheduled, as the wisteria finished blooming early. (*The Kasukabe Wisteria Festival is on in 2023).
The Wisteria of Ushijima
Ushijima Wisteria at Tokaen is about 1200 years old. Tokaen, written 藤花園, literally means the garden of the wisteria flower. Ushijima 牛島, which literally means cow island, is the name of the area the wisteria is in, in Kasukabe. It is said that it is the world’s number one wisteria. Its flowers can drape to up to two meters.
The wisteria in Kasukabe and Ushijima in Saitama Prefecture typically bloom from mid April until early May. And every year the garden opens from around the middle of April until the end of Golden Week. However, in both 2020 and 2021 the wisteria in Kasukabe, at both wisteria street and Ushijima, were early to bloom and early to wither too. Thus in 2022, the opening date was a little earlier than average and closed earlier than scheduled.
Please note: Cosplay of any sort, even posing with an umbrella under the wisteria, is not permitted.
Event: Tokaen the wisteria in Usijima (officially, but Ushijima is the contemporary spelling) 藤花園牛島の藤
Dates: Saturday April 15th to Friday May 5th 2023
Time: Tokaen is open from 8 am to 5 pm during the period of bloom.
Cost: There is a 1000 yen cover charge into this park for adults and 500 yen for children. (The Kasukabe Wisteria Festival on Wisteria Street has no cover charge).
Venue: Tokaen, 786 Ushijima, Kasukabe, Saitama 344-0004. Map at the bottom of the post.
Tokaen’s Facebook page:
The wisteria garden is a ten minute walk from Fujino Ushijima Station on the Tobu Urban Park line.
By car: the nearest interchange is the Iwatsuki Interchange of the Tohoku Expressway. Its about 15 kilometers between the garden and the interchange.
Several different types of flowers grow in Saitama in April and May. Check out this selection of April blooms here.
Editor’s note: this post was temporarily off the website during the pandemic until February 16th 2022, when it was republished. It was republished with the 2023 information on March 17th 2023.