June in Japan means the deluge of the rainy season... as well as the bloom of the "water flower," hydrangeas. The place to go and check out a variety of gorgeous hydrangeas is the Todaiji Temple Annex in the Amidaji Temple vicinity near Hofu (about an hour and 15 minutes from MCAS Iwakuni... Google maps pin compliments of Iwakuni Explorer).
|When you see this tent, you know you are in the right place. Park to the left.|
The entrance fee to the temple on the Wednesday before the annual weekend festival was 200 yen (about $2)... and the sights were well worth the price of admission. And, as the season implies, it did pour rain as we were leaving the temple, but not before we were able to spend an hour strolling and climbing through the area.
|The main temple building... at the top of a few flights of stone steps.|
As you leave the temple, there is a small nursery full of different varieties of hydrangeas for sale. I bought a standard blue hydrangea (500 yen), and one of the more unusual varieties: the Dance Party hydrangea (1,000 yen), below:
There was also the Wedding Bouquet variety available:
While the majority of the bushes were not yet fully bloomed, the grounds were still beautiful, especially if you love green foliage like I do. Word of warning: wear sturdy shoes, as there are a number of stone steps and muddy areas.