June might be the start of Japan’s rainy season but it also the perfect time to visit the small town of Ouchi. Why? Because the hydrangea or ajisai are blooming!
You might see these colorful balls of tiny flowers on the side of the road, around your schools, or in your neighbor’s yard, but to fully appreciate these flowers you need to go to the Ouchi Hydrangea Festival. This festival is held throughout the month of June at the Mikaeri Waterfall.
On weekends the festival is booming to individuals and families alike. Kids splash in the river and people meander up and down the road or find a shady gazebo to sit under.
The road is lined with stalls selling cold cucumber on a stick, nuts, handmade goods, and potted hydrangeas. During the festival, there is a free bus that can take you up to the waterfall. But a lot of people enjoy the walk as the roads are lined with blooming hydrangea. There is also a wonderful hiking path through the forest. I recommend going anytime of the year.
There are also a few udon and soba restaurants along the way.
At the top, it the Mikaeri Waterfall. It’s it surrounded by tall pine trees and more wild hydrangea. It’s a great view and good place to relax after a good hike up the mountain.
So if you ever find yourself in Kyushu/Saga in June, I encourage you to check out the Ouchi Hydrangea Festival. You can access the festival by taking the local train to Honmutabe Station on the Karatsu-Saga Line. From the station, it’s a bit of a walk but well worth it and there are signs directing you to the Mikaeri Falls. When the festival is running there is a 200 yen entrance fee which goes to help the community. Any other time it is free to enter because it is a residential area. The downside to going on an off day is that none of the stands will be open.
When the festival is running there is a small 200 yen entrance fee which goes to support the festival and the community. Any other time it is free to enter because it is a residential area and the hiking path is open all year around. The downside to going on an off day is that none of the stands will be open.
This is a spotlight post from the blog Holm is this Way. You can check out the stories behind these pictures and more at: