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!
Beautiful scenery! I don’t know wisteria could be amazing.
Yeah, on golden week people are so crowded that people themselves are likely to become part of scenery. This is tremendously uncomfortable experience we have to suffer!
You know, in Germany not all regions have vacation (school vacation) at the same time. This helps a lot in order to spread the crowds throughout the weeks.
I know that Japan has been thinking about that as well. I’m sure it would help a lot. *g*
Yet the wisteria there were overwhelming! :D
Hi, just want to clarify something if the departure of the shuttle from the garden in the picture in the linked site is the one in the blue row (and the pink row is the schedule to the garden from the station)
It’s like I described it. On the left side it tells you how to get to the garden and the pink top line shows the times when the bus is leaving from the station.
The tiny table on the right shows when buses are leaving the garden / the onsen and the pink one is the bus you need to get when you want to get back to the station.
Hi, i’m going to visit japan in may 2016, watching wisteria is also on my list.which one is better, this park or wisteria park at tochigi? Thank you very much before
I’ve never been to the one in Tochigi.
But what I recommend is choosing the one that is closer to your original route! It’s not worth travelling far away just for a single park / garden.
So, if you haven’t planned to stay in Kyushu for a few days, I’d rather go for the one in Tochigi. There are several possibilities in and around Tokyo to enjoy wisteria, though they might not be as impressive as the Kawachi Fuji Garden.
May I know:
1. Where is the station for the free shuttle bus going to the Kawachi garden?
2. How long do people normally spend time to get around the garden?
I’m not sure what exactly you want to hear from me.
All the answers to your questions are written in the grey info box. It’s Yahata Station and you’ll need about 30 minutes for the garden, much more if you want to take your time taking millions of photos. ^^;
Or are you asking for the bus stop at Yahata Station?
Coming from the station it was the one farthest out on the left, but that might change from time to time. Just ask at the tourist information or the bus information. That’s what I did when I arrived there. ;)
[…] Kyoto area, Byodoin Temple in Uji is a well-known spot, but the most stunning places must be either Kawachi Fuji Garden in Kitakyushu, or Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi (an easy day trip from […]
i am planning to visit Japan in the 1st week of April. Will the park be open?
According to the website the park is closed off season. The main season is from middle of April to beginning of May and then in November.
Even if the garden is not closed, it doesn’t make sense to go there in the beginning of April as there will be nothing to see.
Hello, can I go check out this place on April 3 ? Are they open gate that they to come in inside garden?. I am planing to spend 1 day there for osen too. Thanks
I don’t think the gate will be closed or anything.
But what do you want there anyway?
There’s nothing to see on April 3. The season is from end of April to beginning of May. Coming earlier than that is a waste of time if you want to enjoy the flowers there.
Is it still okay to go there on May 18 after peak season?
The park is probably closed by then and I suppose the wisteria doesn’t look too nice anymore.
You can still visit to check out the onsen there, though. :)