Besides cherry blossoms and shibazakura, Japan has some beautiful wisteria in spring. But you need to know where to find the best spots to enjoy them to the fullest. One of the most beautiful wisteria viewing spots is without a doubt the Kawachi Fuji Garden in Kitakyushu.
Kawachi Fuji Garden’s colorful wisteria tunnel is very popular.
How to get to Kawachi Fuji Garden
Kawachi Fuji Garden is located in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture (map).
If you have your own vehicle you can go directly by car. There’s a spacious parking lot available (for about 200 cars).
If you use public transportation, you first need to take a train to JR Yahata Station.
Take the free shuttle bus that goes directly to “Ajisai no Yu” (あじさいの湯) which is right next to the garden. It’s actually meant for guests who want to use the onsen, but nobody will stop you if you ride this bus. It looks like in the photo above. You can still soak in the “Ajisai no Yu” onsen after enjoying the wisteria garden – if you want to.
You can find the free shuttle bus schedule here. Scroll down and click on the graphic. On the left side you see the times it’s leaving from the station (pink), e.g. 10:15, 11:25. On the right side you see the time when it’s leaving from the garden, heading for the station (pink), e.g. 11:00, 12:00.
Be careful! There used to be the option to take Nishitetsu bus #56 and get off at “Kawachi Elementary School”. From there you’d have to walk for about 15 mins. However, this bus has been discontinued as of 2011. I know a lot of websites still tell you about this option, but it’s not possible anymore.
You could also use a taxi which will take about 20 minutes from the station, but if you’re travelling alone the fee is probably too expensive (~ 2700 – 3100 yen one way).
When is the best time to go?
The best time to visit is from the second half of April to the second half of May – although the blooming might be a bit different from year to year.
However – and I can’t tell you that often enough – try to avoid Golden Week if you can.
Unfortunately if you live in Japan your vacation is most likely the same as for everyone and thus you cannot avoid Golden Week.
That’s why I had to go during Golden Week. It was extremely crowded as you can see in the photo above. People were lining up in front of the entrance. There was also a little traffic jam as many cars tried to find a parking spot. The tiny shuttle bus was also crowded and people had to wait in line for the next one that came over an hour later.
Stone monument on the left photo says: Kitakyushu Kawachi Fuji-en
It’s also very difficult to take any decent photos due to the crowd of people. It’s impossible to wait until you have nobody in your picture. Not happening during Golden Week unless you go early in the morning – maybe.
What You Should Know About Kawachi Fuji Garden
Kawachi Fuji Garden (河内藤園: Kawachi Fuji-en) first opened in April 1977.
Nowadays you can enjoy about 150 wisteria plants. There are 22 different species blooming in various colors (pink, purple, white, …).
The most popular sight at Kawachi Fuji Garden is the colorful “Wisteria Tunnel” which is about 220 m long.
As you can see, Kawachi Fuji Garden is extremely popular.
Wisteria do not only look beautiful, but also smell good. On top of that you can listen to the buzzing of hundreds of bumblebees (don’t worry, they’re harmless). It’s an experience for all of your senses.
Apart from all the great wisteria, you’ll also find some “tsutsuji” (azaleas).
In fall you can enjoy beautiful autumn colors there (Japanese maple leaves).
Missed cherry blossom season? Well, then why not have a “hanami” below the beautiful wisteria trees instead?
One of the huge wisteria trees in Kawachi Fuji Garden is over 100 years old!
Outside of the tunnel, there was enough space for everyone EVEN during Golden Week.
Gradient color schemes can be found everywhere. It’s such a beautiful sight.
And even while walking towards the exit, you can enjoy various types of wisteria.
Just a small piece of advice: You can take another round through the garden. You don’t have to exit right away if you don’t want to.
I still had time until the next bus would leave, so I walked through the beautiful tunnel once again. That’s pretty much the first thing you’ll see when you enter the garden.
I could have stayed even longer. I could have soaked in the “Ajisai no Yu” onsen right next to the garden. But I was afraid that it might get super crowded again and that I couldn’t fit into the shuttle bus with all the people waiting in line already.
I’m sure it would be a perfect trip if you can combine it with a onsen experience. So, if you go on a not so busy day, definitely consider the onsen option!