Did you know that Ogose has both an Hydrangea Road and an ajisai mountain!? Ajisai is the Japanese for hydrangea. And in 2022, they will have an hydrangea festival for the first time in three years. But before you get too excited, unfortunately there is a bit of a tale of woe to divulge first….
The Ajisai-kaido (hydrangea road or hydrangea way) and Ajisaiyama (Mt Ajisai, ajisai is the Japanese for hydrangea) are in the area of Mugihara in Ogose. It was once a thriving rainy season attraction. Then a plague befell the beloved hydrangea of the area. The town were forced to cut down not only the ill fated hydrangea, but the unscathed hydrangea too as a fail safe from the flower disease spreading further.
Before the plague maimed the mountainside hydrangea there were thousands of the beautiful colored bushes. Furthermore, the area had a hydrangea festival during the period of bloom. The ‘hydrangea way’ had about 5000 hydrangea lining the three kilometer road to the hydrangea mountain. However, nowadays, there are currently only about 1500 hydrangea on the Ajisai-kaido and even fewer still on the mountain, called Ajisayama park. But the town have been slowly replanting the hydrangea for the last ten years. They haven’t even replaced half the amount. Furthermore, many of the flowers are still in their infancy. However, one day the hydrangea will hopefully thrive again.
In many parts of Saitama Prefecture, the hydrangea bloom for the month of June. Typically, the hydrangea in Ogose bloom a little bit later, from about mid June to early July. However, this year most of the flowers have been early. So in that sense, the Ogose hydrangea maybe in bloom from early June this year. We visited at the end of May last year, we were actually there for other attractions in the area, such as the crying dam. But even though we were too early for the “average” bloom period, we did actually see a few hydrangea in bloom on the Ajisai-kaido. And on the mountainside we saw a few that looked promising, like the one pictured above.
Both the bus stop and parking area for the Ajisaiyama Park are between two to three kilometers from the park. There is little along the route. And the park has nothing in it except for a few benches and toilets. There are toilets in the car park too. There is a little stream at the entrance to the park. It was a hot day when we visited and my kids enjoyed paddling their feet in it.
Hydrangea viewing during the pandemic
It might not be one of the most illustrious hydrangea spots currently in Saitama. However, during the pandemic several of the key hydrangea spot are closed to the public on account of the Coronavirus. For example, the famous hydrangea temple Nogoji in Kumagawa hasn’t opened for ajisai season since the pandemic began. However, Kinsenji that was closed in both 2020 and 2021 are opening in 2022. Even with a few more open in 2022, off the beaten path locations are still trending as the pandemic still lingers. I am sharing this location as an alternative to the larger, more crowded (especially in 2022) famous hydrangea locations, such as Gongendo Park in Satte City.
Moreover, the ajisai-kaido (hydrangea way / road) in Ogose is suitable for “drive through” hydrangea viewing. On account of the pandemic, there has been an increase in people looking for places where they can enjoy scenery from the window of their car. Ajisai-kaido is ideal for that. However, it is strictly drive through for most of the route. As it is a narrow country road, please note that you cannot stop or pull in along the route. Also, please note that as its popularity increased during the pandemic, and as they are having an hydrangea festival in 2022, it is likely that this ajisai destination maybe busier than “normal” in 2022.
Hydrangea Festival 2022
The 29th annual hydrangea festival is scheduled for Saturday June 18th, Sunday June 19th, Saturday June 25th and Sunday June 26th 2022. It is on in the area around the places in this post. That is, the Ajisai Kaido and Ajisai Yama area. It is a small, local type hydrangea festival. But they will have shaved ice and tarashi yaki mochi on sale at the festival!
Ogose Hydrangea Information
|Address:||528 Mugihara, Ogose, Iruma District, Saitama 350-0421|
|Online:||Official web page on Ogose Town website|
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