Great Gardens: Nezu Shrine Azalea Garden

I can’t believe I’ve never profiled the Nezu Shrine’s azalea garden on this site before. For those of you ever in Tokyo in springtime, this is a place that needs to be on your radar.

The Nezu Shrine is a beautiful complex that has stood in this quiet neighborhood since 1705. Surprisingly for Tokyo, a city prone to fires and other disasters, most of the buildings still date from that period. The shrine itself was modeled after Nikko Toshogu, north of Tokyo, and the main hall and large Romon entrance gate are particularly beautiful.

Many people come to Nezu Shrine for its torii tunnel, which leads to the Otome Inari Jinja shrine, also on the same property. If you’re envisioning a torii tunnel a la Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari, you’ll be a bit disappointed. That said, it’s an unexpected treat and popular photo spot.

However, Nezu Shrine really shines in April – just after sakura season – when the garden’s 3000 azaleas burst forth in a riot of technicolor pink, magenta, red, salmon and white.

Entrance to the azalea garden is 200 yen. Sure, you can see the garden from the grounds of the shrine itself, but it is worth paying the admission price to walk the smaller paths and get a close up look at the over 100 different varieties of azaleas they have there.

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