If you love nature and flowers, you won’t want to miss Kawachi Fuji Gardens which is located in Kitakyushu, which is the northernmost city on Kyushu Island in Japan. In addition to Kokura Castle and the surrounding Katsuyama Park, known for its spring cherry blossoms, the area is famous for the wisteria tunnel located in Kawachi Fuji Gardens. Each spring, countless visitors flock to see this magical site.
Kawachi Fuji Gardens
Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu is five hours from Tokyo, if you are taking the Nozomi, the high speed train out of the Japanese capital.
The Gardens encompass 10,000 square meters and are privately owned. They were established in 1977. The site is located in the wooded hills south of central Kitakyushu.
Kawachi Fuji Gardens are home to 150 trees comprising 22 different varieties of wisteria. They start to bloom and reach their peak from the end of April to the middle of May. This will be when you will want to visit. It will be during the Fuji Matsuri or Wisteria Festival.
The main attraction of the Kawachi Fuji Gardens, are the wisteria tunnels. These structures combine architecture and nature known as arbortecture. One is 263 feet and the other is a total of 722 feet long.
Thanks to the flexibility in the wisteriavines, the resulting flowers can be used to create some mystical designs, including the long and winding tunnels that stand in the gardens.
The wisteria vines can grow up to 65 feet above ground and 33 feet laterally.
Tourists passing through the wisteria tunnels, are greeted with alternating illuminating flower paths, of various shades of blue, pink, purple, red and white.
There are huge wisteria trellises at the end of tunnels and one can see wisteria trees which are more than 100 years old.
The wisteria flower panicles have become famous across Japan, with festivals found throughout the country in the spring.
The famed Great Wisteria Festival in Ashikaga for example, gives visitors a view of 350 wisteria trees, dating back some 150 years.
The wisteria vines and trees, flower around the same time as Japan’s famed cherry blossoms, so late April and early May is the height of the season, for those wishing to see spring flowering gardens. The ideal time is Golden Week from April 21 and May 6.
There is a Wisteria Festival known locally as the Fuji Matsuri, at the end of the Golden Week.
In Japan, these varieties bloom in this order. Usubeni fuji (light pink) Murasaki fuji (purple) Naga fuji (long) Yae kokuryu (double-petaled black dragon), and Shiro fuji (white).
A view point at the top of the hillside offers incredible views of the flowers. One can also see the surrounding valley, which is known for its abundant bamboo groves.
In addition, to the beautiful wisteria displays, Kawachi Fuji Gardens are known for the abundant autumn colors, that line the maple trees in the fall.
Kawachi Fuji Gardens
2 Chome-2-48 Kawachi, Yahatahigashi Ward
Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture
Phone +81 93-652-0334
Check out their website for more information on times and details. It is important to note, that advance reservations are required during the peak season (April 21 to May 06, 2018). These will provide for a specific date and time slot.
If one is using public transportation, the best route for access to the Kawachi Gardens is from JR Yahata Station. It is 15 minutes from Kokura Station and will cost 280 yen or $2.62 USD each way.
During the peak season a shuttle bus runs between Yahata Station and the Kawachi Wisteria Garden.