Hydrangea heaven at Katahara Onsen Ajisai no Sato in June.

Updated: June 5, 2023

Katahara Onsen Ajisai no Sato (形原温泉あじさいの里) is a beautiful hillside and hilltop hydrangea garden within a hot spring resort named Katahara Onsen in Gamagori, Aichi Prefecture, Japan.

About 50,000 hydrangea in blue, pink, purple, and white bloom in June when the annual Katahara Onsen Hydrangea Festival (Katahara Onsen Ajisai Matsuri 形原温泉あじさい祭り) is held. The picturesque hydrangea colors against the lush greenery attracts about 100,000 tourists in June.

It can get especially crowded on weekends. Best to visit on a weekday instead of a weekend in June.

The garden is on a hill with the front slope covered with hydrangea. The hilltop has Hodagaike Pond and walking paths lined with hydrangea.

The garden is also illuminated at night, and you might even see fireflies if you’re lucky.

Meanwhile, near the front entrance of the hydrangea garden is Katahara Onsen, a hot spring with a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) and hotel with hot spring baths amid lush greenery at the foot of Mt. Sangane. It’s the oldest of the four hot spring areas in Gamagori. The hot spring bath (alkaline simple hot spring) helps to relieve ailments such as neuralgia and gastrointestinal pain.

Perfect spot for a selfie or family shot.
Perfect spot for a selfie or family shot.

Gamagori is a nice coastal city centering on JR Gamagori Station on the JR Tokaido Line. The closest shinkansen station is Toyohashi Station. From Nagoya Station, it takes about 45 min. on the JR Tokaido Line or Meitetsu-Gamagori Line. Although Gamagori is best known for hot springs, it has a few other notable tourist sights such as Takeshima island near Gamagori Station.

Remember that June is the rainy season, so bring an umbrella in case it rains.

Map of Ajisai no Sato hydrangea garden
Map of Ajisai no Sato hydrangea garden. Main entrance is on the right where the main road meets the slope of hydrangea. There’s a walking path around the hilltop pond.

Katahara Onsen Ajisai no Sato Hydrangea Festival

  • When: June 1–30.
  • Hours: 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. (Enter by 8:30 pm.)
  • Admission: ¥500 for adults and free for junior high schoolers and younger.
  • Getting there: In June 2023 during the Hydrangea Festival, there is a bus that runs from JR Gamagori Station (south exit, bus stop No. 3) to Katahara Onsen (Ajisai no Sato) hydrangea garden. Bus fare is ¥390 one way. On weekdays, the bus runs once or twice an hour from 9:40 am to 2:50 pm. The last bus leaves Katahara Onsen at 3:15 pm. On weekends, it runs twice an hour from 9:25 am to 4:25 pm and the last bus leaves Katahara Onsen at 8:50 pm. The bus ride takes about 20 min.
    Or you can walk it from Mikawa-Kashima Station (Meitetsu Gamagori Line) to the garden taking about 25 min.
    Taxi also available from JR Gamagori Station and JR Sangane Station on the Tokaido Line. Limited parking is available.
  • Official site (in Japanese): http://katahara-spa.jp/ajisai/