Nezu Shrine, in Tokyo’s tranquil Bunkyo ward, has a history of over 1,900 years. The shrine’s prayer hall is even designated as a national important cultural property. It is also the venue of one of Tokyo’s biggest azalea festivals.
Every April to May, the Bunkyo Azalea Festival is held here at Nezu Shrine. Over 3,000 azalea flowers decorate the shrine grounds.
During the festival, you can walk through the shrine’s azalea garden and enjoy other festivities throughout the shrine grounds.
About Nezu Shrine
Nezu Shrine is said to be built by the legendary Japanese prince, Yamato Takeru, about 1,900 years ago. The shrine boasts a spacious premise of about 23,000㎡.
It is designated as one of the Tokyo Ten Shrines, which are the ten shrines that Emperor Meiji chose to represent Tokyo.
Its prayer hall and romon gate were built in the Edo period (1603 – 1867), and they still remain on the shrine grounds today. In 1931, Nezu Shrine was designated as a national important cultural property.
Bunkyo Azalea Festival
The Bunkyo Azalea Festival is held on the Nezu Shrine grounds every April to May. It is one of Bunkyo ward’s five flower festivals.
The azalea garden measures about 6,600㎡. Over 3,000 azaleas garnish the shrine’s garden grounds.
Azaleas of many colors
There are all sorts of azaleas at the festival, such as the fuji-tsutsuji with its tiny flowers and the hanaguruma tsutsuji, known for its windmill-like petals. The different types of azaleas all blossom in different parts of the spring season.
Bright pink azaleas
The azaleas are planted on a slight slope. You can see the azaleas from the walkway on the side of the slope.
Nezu Shrine’s azalea garden
The azalea garden is beautiful from the top of the slope. The scent of the azaleas, too, adds an extra flair to your experience.
When to go
The Bunkyo Azalea Festival takes place from early April to early May. However, as mentioned above, the different types of azaleas bloom at different times.
Whenever you go during the duration of the festival, you will be greeted with a selection of lovely azaleas.
Bunkyo Azalea Festival 2020
The Bunkyo Azalea Festival in 2020 took place between April 4 and May 6. The azalea garden is open between 9:00a.m. and 5:30p.m. The entry fee is ¥200.
Other sights during the festival
During the festival, there are other events and special sights such as food stands and antique markets. The Nezu Gongen Taiko drumming show is held on weekends, and is a strong, impactful performance held by women.
Bunkyo ward’s five flower festivals
Throughout the year, Bunkyo ward hosts five flower festivals, and the Azalea Festival is one of them. Here are the four other flower festivals:
Bunkyo Cherry Blossom Festival (Spring)
The Bunkyo Cherry Blossom Festival has been held since the 1970s. Over 120 cherry blossom trees blossom on Harimazaka Road, where the festival is held. On some days of the festival, the road is turned into a pedestrian-only zone.
Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival (Jun.)
Hydrangeas are representative of the tsuyu, or rainy season, in Japan. The Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival is held at Hakusan Shrine and Hakusan Park in the Bunkyo Ward.
Over 3,000 hydrangeas decorate the area. During the festival period, the ancient tombs at Hakusan Shrine are open to the public.
Bunkyo Chrysanthemum Festival (Nov.)
From November 1 to 23, the Bunkyo Chrysanthemum Festival is held at Yushima Tenmangu Shrine.
In the shrine grounds, over 2,000 chrysanthemum flowers are exhibited. Some unique creations, such as a chrysanthemum flower doll, can be seen as well.
Bunkyo Plum Festival (Winter)
The Bunkyo Plum Festival is held between early February and early March at Yushima Tenmangu Shrine. The shrine has been famous as a plum viewing spot since the Edo period, and has over 300 plum trees in the shrine grounds.
Nearest stations: Todaimae Station (Tokyo Metro Namboku Line), Nezu Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line) and Hakusan Station (Toei Mita Line)
From Shinjuku Station
【Shinjuku Sta.】Toei Shinjuku Line / for Motoyawata
→【Ichigaya Sta.】Tokyo Metro Namboku Line / for Urawa-misono
→【Todaimae Sta.】Exit 1 → about a 5-minute walk
From Tokyo Station
【Tokyo Sta.】Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line / for Ikebukuro
→【Otemachi Sta.】Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line / for Abiko
→【Nezu Sta.】Exit 2 → about a 5-minute walk
From Narita Airport
【Narita Airport Sta.】Keisei Skyliner Limited Express / for Keisei Ueno
→【Nippori Sta.】JR Yamanote Line / for Shinjuku
→【Nishi-nippori Sta.】Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line / for Yoyogi-uehara
→【Nezu Sta.】Exit 3 → about a 5-minute walk
From Haneda Airport
【Haneda Airport Sta.】Keikyu Airport Line KAITOKU / for Narita Airport
→【Mita Sta.】Toei Mita Line / for Nishi-takashimadaira
→【Hakusan Sta.】Exit A2 → about a 10-minute walk
Tour the shrine grounds, too!
When visiting Nezu Shrine for the Bunkyo Azalea Festival, make sure to check out the shrine as well. The shrine is one of Tokyo’s significant historical spots, and is filled with beautiful sights.
It’s worth a visit throughout the year, regardless of the azalea festival!
1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.