You hear so much about “ajisai dera” (hydrangea temples) at this time of year in Japan. But what about hydrangea shrines? Hundreds of shrines throughout Saitama have some hydrangea on their grounds, but for some reason its all about the hydrangea temples! Well there is an actual reason – hydrangea’s long and intricate connection with Buddhism, but that’s beside the point! In Tokyo of course Hakusan Shrine is famous for its hydrangea, but Saitama?
There are a few, but they just don’t have the exposure of neighboring Tokyo’s hydrangea spots. There is one place in particular in Saitama that always comes to mind when I think of hydrangea and shrines. A quaint neighborhood shrine that is neither big nor prominent, but they have a beautiful garden boasting dozens of hydrangea. It is well known among Saitama-jin, but I am not sure it is that well known outside the prefecture borders…
Hydrangea Shrine in Saitama City
The hydrangea shrine is located in the Sashiogi area of Nishi Ward, Saitama City. It is an Hikawa Shrine. The Sashiogi Hikawa Shrine, one of hundreds of Hikawa Shrines in the Kanto plain. Have you ever heard of Sashiogi Hikawa Shrine? It is quite a small shrine and garden in the middle of a built up residential area. But amazingly it has a parking lot. It fits about six cars. Moreover, it has the most beautiful hydrangea as well as a selection of other seasonal flowers including varieties of daylilies. Even without flowers in bloom the shrine is very picturesque with intricate wood carvings and a red roof, as you can see above.
The hydrangea normally bloom around the middle of June. However, this year they are already coming into bloom. They maybe picture perfect as early as next week. Some are earlier than others. But it really will be another week before they are instagenic. However, there is a small neat row of smooth hydrangea by the main torii that will probably be even more photogenic within a few days.
As you can tell from the photos above, this year I visited a little too early for the hydrangea. But the daylilies and the Japanese meadowsweet are blooming beautifully. I recommend waiting until at least the weekend in order to see more of the blue and purple hydrangea. Moreover, you can get a much more dramatic photo of the shrine fringed with color, when more of the hydrangea are in bloom. You don’t need a lot of time at this shrine. Moreover, if you are coming by car, you can’t really park for long either. But if you are in the neighborhood and looking for an hydrangea shot that isn’t already all over Instagram, Sashiogi Hikawa Shrine might be an option for you!
Sashiogi Shrine Information
|Address:||2810 Sashiogi, Nishi Ward, Saitama, 331-0047|
|Cost:||As little or as much as you want to donate to the prayer box. Free parking|
|Hours:||No official hours|
|Online:||Sashiogi Shrine doesn’t appear to have an official website. There is a very basic page on the Saitama Shrine website here.|
It is called the Sashiogi Hikawa Shrine 指扇氷川神社, but Google Maps currently has it as “Akabane” Hikawa Shrine. I’ve sent in a request to have it edited, so hopefully it will be amended in the next few days! If not searching Akabane Hikawa shrine in Nishi ward should bring it up, or use the map below.
The shrine is about a 12 minute walk from Sashiogi Station on the JR Kawagoe Line.