Japan is famous for its spring carpet of cherry blossom and autumnal red leaves. Less well known are the hydrangeas – ajisai in Japanese – that brighten up the dreary June rainy season.
Mimuroto-ji Temple (三室戸寺) in Uji is a quiet place outside of June and July – a place to absorb the peace and enjoy a historic site away from the crowds. Having said that, you’d miss the flowers! The main garden has 10,000 hydrangeas in various pink, purple, blue and white hues and a path that snakes right through them.
Up the steps beyond the garden, you’ll find three stone statues: Ukajin, a half-man, half-snake deity whom you rub for luck; an ox into whose mouth you place you hands to hope that your plans will work out, and a rabbit. You put your hands inside the two holes in front of the rabbit and try to stand up an egg-shaped object. The slow-moving line of people behind the statue attests to the difficulty of this task!
The main temple looks very attractive at the moment as the lotus flowers around the main temple are just starting to open. After admiring these flowers, follow the path to the right and you’ll find a lovely three-storied pagoda hidden among the trees.
Hours : 08:30 to 16:00
Admission : 500yen
Attention : in season – you are advised to get there as early as possible, especially on a sunny weekend. Otherwise, by mid-morning, you will be competing with plenty of other flower-viewers and the paths are narrow…
Access: the easiest way is to take the Keihan Uji line from Chushojima to Mimurodo station.
The temple is a 15-minute walk. Exit the station left, cross the tracks and keep walking straight.
Bus : Alternatively, there is the hourly 43 bus to the temple from JR Uji station or Keihan Uji station (20 minutes, 210 yen).
APR-MAY : Check the event schedule
Vsitors can enjoy 20,000 azaleas and 1,000 rhododendrons blooming in the beautiful gardens.
JUN to the early JULY : Check the event schedule
The main garden has 10,000 hydrangeas in various pink, purple, blue and white hues and a path that snakes right through them.